Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN - PART IV

The Story Of Lynne Continued --

Over the years I've thought of Lynne. How could I not think of her? Many times I just wanted to let her know I was okay and that life had turned out okay for me, but then I realized it wasn't so much that I had a need to let her know that I was okay, but that I needed to know she was okay. Over the years, I had heard stories about her, but I know how stories go. Most stories get filtered through so many people that who knows where the truth begins and the lies end? I know I had been the brunt of many such stories and each time any juicy tidbits had gotten back to me, I had always embellished them and sent them back out into the grapevine for another go around or two. I never really cared what people said about me and thought it was funny that they wasted so much time gossiping.

About five years ago, I was able to actually locate Lynne. My first love indicated to me that he knew where she was. You probably are thinking...Karen's first love? Yes, as weird as it may seem I stay in contact with my first love from time to time and that's another story for another day! The awkward part of the whole process of locating Lynne was that he didn't really want to tell me where she was. I suppose it stemmed from all the pain associated with my involvement with her years ago. Maybe he felt protective or maybe it was in some way revenge towards me for hurting him years ago when I ran away. I'd prefer think he felt protective and didn't want to see me get hurt again than to imagine him as being vindictive. After playing cat and mouse with him about Lynne for a few months and getting absolutely nowhere, I finally just asked him to tell me where she was. I was surprised when he refused to give me any information. I guess his reluctance and refusal only made me more determined to find her.

What I finally did was to do a “people search” on the internet for her parents. I remembered where they lived, so finding their address was relatively easy. After that, I wrote a letter asking them to let Lynne know I was trying to locate her. I left it up to her to contact me. I waited what seemed like an eternity and had gotten to the point of accepting that a response was never going to come. Then one day the phone did ring and we talked for hours catching up and making plans. I had already scheduled a summer visit to Maine, so we planned to have a "reunion" when I got there. She also told me about several other old friends I hadn't seen in many years that she wanted to include in the reunion. I don't know who was more excited, but my homecoming certainly was going to be anything, but boring.

One of my close friends from that turbulent era of my life was a guy who lived on the next street over from me. He was several years older than I was, but we hung out together and were inseparable most of the time. Lynne wanted to surprise him, so his sister and Lynne told him an old friend wanted to see him. As many times as he quizzed them about the identity of the old friend, no one would tell him who the old friend was. It remained a well-kept secret!

When I arrived in Maine, I stayed at my oldest brother's house. I gave Lynne directions to his house and I waited patiently for her arrival. When she drove up into his driveway, I rushed out the front door. We both just stood there looking at each other for a moment and then gave each other a long, heartfelt hug. In my arms, was a woman who I once emulated and now as I looked at her, I saw traces of what most likely had been a hard life. I suddenly realized that although we were both were many years older, the person I was looking at was the same person who I had so wanted to be like many years ago. The realization that it wasn't she who had changed made me feel instantly empowered and as if all that I had learned and all the pain I had felt had been worth it. It was a moment I had needed desperately and now I could savor it silently and wear it as an internal badge of honor.

As we drove off towards Carol's house she filled me in on the plans for Jimmy. He would be arriving soon and had no idea who wanted to see him. All he knew was that it was someone who he hadn't seen in a long time and it was a female. Carol was so excited to see me that she kept hugging me and telling me how good I looked. Did I? Or did I just look different being older and not strung out? Did my silent confidence show? Did she sense my sudden burst of equality?

When Jimmy arrived, I was ushered into the bathroom as a hiding spot. He was to talk to me through the closed door and figure out who I was. The “20 questions” became hilarious when I gave him a clue by telling him we never had sex. Of course, he didn't recognize my voice because he hadn't heard it in many years. My Maine accent had faded into one of a strange blend of my former "you guys" combined with a southern drawled "ya'll" to form a funky new sound of "ya'll guys". We bantered back and forth humorously for several minutes. With each question or clue, he stepped further back into the past. I finally revealed he used to play my piano and perhaps 20 Walter Street meant something to him. There was silence and when he finally did speak, he almost whispered "Karen"..."Is that you, Karen?" I burst into laughter as I opened the door. OMG...he hadn't changed. His eyes still sparkled and he hugged me...and then hugged me again.


We all sat around laughing and talking and things fell into an old familiar feeling. I was with people who knew me when... I was finally home! Slowly, the room seemed to fill with people and before I knew it a joint was being passed around. I waved it on silently declining it without drawing attention to myself. As we all told a brief " what I've done in the past century since the last time I saw you" monologue, each person gave me a brief synopsis of the highlights of their life and what they did for work now. I was the last person to tell my life story in 5 minutes or less. It seemed strange because out of the group I was the only one who had gone to college...yes, me the high school drop out! I had 3 great children and I was the only person who had left Maine and who had stayed gone. The more I spoke the more I could see how different my life would have been if I had stayed...that is, if I had stayed and lived. Finally, one of them asked me what I do for a living and without any hesitation I said, "I'm a DEA agent". There was an awkward silence for a moment until I started laughing at the expression on their faces. It was definitely a Kodak moment and a great GOTCHA...

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for not only being able to make friends but having the abilty to have friendships that span my lifetime.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

4 comments:

  1. it's strange...i've never had any desire to revisit the past...especially friends from my teenage years. not sure why. maybe i don't want to remember any associated pain...or possibly i'm simply too shallow.

    great gibberish, karen. (you need to quit calling it that, you know. it's anything but...)

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  2. great story! Your gratitude statement... is a good one too. I'm not sure how many of us can say we have lifetime friendships. I sure can't. Keep going!!

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  3. Laoch, thank you for reading them! I like the word "evocative"!

    Jnuts, a lot of the people I am friends with I have been friends with over 30 years and some my entire life.

    Okay if I don't call it "gibberish" what should I call it?

    Babe, I'll finish the "side story" be writing about my adventure with George before moving on to someone else. I think my friend, Michael will be after that. Each year around this time I always think of him. He passed away 5 years ago.

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