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Sleepovers, skateboards and a missing friend

Summer snacks.


Beach trips.

We've lost touch with one of our friends–the one whose family used to host us for summer sleepovers. It’s too bad really because those moments are so much our core memories.

Hanging in the cul-de-sac with the boys until dark and then movies and Caffeine Free Diet Coke. Plenty of Doritos and brownies.

Thank­fully we all were so active otherwise the calories would have been troubling.

We would call boys and try to get them to engage and when they did by coming over to toilet paper the house we weren't allowed to go outside.

Jen was an only child and her parents were saints–they let us come as often as we liked–traveling as a pack. Her Dad would pick us up if needed or we could be dropped off. They had all the snacks and pillows we desired and we'd play games from Nerf basketball to Spoons to Truth or Dare. I’m sure there was a ouija board and all the things that Tik Tok is now was us on that street that is no longer there.

It's a freeway now and everytime I’m home I drive on it and think about our days there. Two cul-de-sacs meeting in the middle–one a bit longer than the other. It felt like at least every third house was someone in our age group but we rarely hung out anywhere on the street other than the Wagners. Their daughter was beautiful and a little older than us so when we were 7th graders and she was in high school we were in awe. Years later when I played volleyball with her I was always surprised she knew my name. The son was a year younger than us but he skated with friends our age. We were growing up at the dawn of skateboarding in San Diego so it was always a little fascinating to watch.

Jen liked Andrew who lived in my neighborhood but would also spend many days hanging on those streets. I knew Andrew since 1st grade so when Jen eventually broke his heart I felt responsible. It was the first of many complications between Jen and I and I wonder if our falling out was the reason for all of us losing touch with her. I imagine it was but she was always a little more aloof than the rest of us embracing the black and white mod look before the rest of us knew it was cool. She and I bought a jean jacket together once, Calvin Klein, because alone we couldn't afford it and we wouldn't have worn it on the same day anyway. She had a clapper for her TV, too. So she was not only cool as hell but she was tech savvy too, before we knew such a thing was necessary.

I believe she still lives here in Arizona but I really don’t know if she left after I did 25+ years ago. I know my version of the stories, I still wonder about hers. I wonder if time and space could bring us back together. Would it matter that me moving to Seattle worked out? I didn't mean to abandon her but my life was waiting and I had to go. Would it matter that even now I treasure our Sunday morning drives to get the newspaper and coffee. Does she know I think about her when I drive north and retell the story of the night we almost died on the road to Flag. Or how telling these stories that her home felt like home to me, would that matter? Would the memories be stronger than the heartbreak, the betrayal, the leaving? For the girl I made a pact with that 40 was old would we laugh now that we are 52. For the girl who never wanted kids, would she start to catch up by telling me about her journey to motherhood. I wonder how her parents are and do they know how much we appreciated spending time at their house. I’m still friends with so many from growing up, having just had dinner with one of our friends last week in London to the Facebook banter about high school softball. I wonder if she thinks about us like we do or if her summer stories are a bit different.

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