Ghosts of days gone by

Red had a Rob Zombie CD, and a Dragula poster on her wall… Her dad had a loud, beat up, fast, late 70s Firebird he would drive us around town in. She would bring her CD book and her Newports everwhere we went. We would listen to those CDs over and over, there was always music playing.  I swear it’s never left my side. 

Going back to that once new world with all it’s heatache, unanswered questions, and genuinely badass awesome memories gets easier each time I go. I went to high school there, loved there, experienced a lot of first times there.  A lot of my family is still there so I’ll never be able to hide from my past, but I don’t feel a connection there anymore. 

As I sat on my sister’s porch Sunday morning with my coffee I said to myself, I’ve been here before. Not here in the sense of state of mind, boohooing over a boy again-even though I kind of was. 

It was more of my sister’s property sits on a stretch of road that’s about 7 miles long, it connects to major highways on each side that lead out to the main highway where you have a pick of a few beaches or into the City.

Everyone on this particular road has a couple acres of land, some more some less. When you sit outside you can hear 4 wheelers, fireworks, gun shots, horses, turkeys, country music, screeching tires. You can do what ever the hell you want, don’t have to worry about traffic passing your house or neighbors peaking in your windows. It’s what one may consider living in the country. 

Danny had a best friend that owned property on this same stretch of road. There are two ways in now, but I only remember the first way. Danny told me once I turned off the highway go up for about 7 minutes and look for the blue relflectors on the right pointing to the left, and that’s where I needed to turn. To go down 5 minutes or so and look for the long line of hedges on the left.

Its extremely dark out here in the swamp, the big leafy oak trees cover the road and block out the moon light. The air is moist; almost sticky and filled with the sound of tree frogs and crickets. The heat lightning helps illuminate my way every so often. It takes my eyes a while to adjust but vaguely I see the hedges and the small entrance to the dirt road in. There is a huge Magnolia tree in the middle of the yard with a zip line attached, set up across the yard going into the woods. Dan’s friend was always a go getter and liked his toys, we all went to school together, were once apart of a bigger, closer group of friends that shared a lot, but on this particular day it was just us three and we weren’t 16 anymore we were in our early 20s. 

The house was old, it looked like dudes lived there, Dannys friend was always a perpetual bachelor. Rude, selfish, a real asshole, but he been around for the last 10 years, we all knew each other’s parents, started middle school together, saved each other’s lives a few times. 

There is a pile of Budwiser cans over there, an ashtray overflowing with Newport and Camel butts over here. I hear a radio playing, it’s beachy, a little too country and not enough rock and roll for my taste. 

We took shelter in his screen porch while a good ole southern midnight thunderstorm started barraling on through. Every time the lightning hits I see the zip line in the back yard, and the entrance to the woods. There is a shed to the right, I parked over there. Why can’t I remember what car I was driving, I’ve had so fucking many that I tend to associate them with different time periods of my life. 

What are they talking about, why am I here. This isn’t the only time I’ll visit this place and Danny will end up living there after I make my escape from this city.  

He shows me around, I probably had to use the bathroom, I always have to pee. I remember thinking that’s s really bright shade of blue to have in your living room. There is a table with more beer cans, an ash tray, and blunt wrappers. 

These two potheads put me through hell over those 10 or so years with drugs; between all the times individually and collectively they’ve been busted, the family and friends that ended up in and out of jail, countless number of friends who became addicts, and a few close homeboys that lost their lives, the drug game was a big part of my life at an early age. 

So as I sit on that very same road, near feet possibly from where I once sat before I can’t remember that life. It’s like when you hit the fast forward option too many times and it speeds up so super fast, to where you can make out people and places but everything else is a blur. Danny and those friends we once shared are a blur to me now, the one I thought broke me forever, fucked me up so bad I would never love again, is a ghost I no longer check under the bed for. 

People come and go, buildings go up and come down, roads get expanded and new ones are built. When I was leaving Sunday the GPS took me on a journey back in time. Down a road I haven’t been down in at least 7 years, one where I have my last memory of Red. Her apartment across from the Rival high school, back when I was 17.

I can’t fastword and make Red a blur. She has been a ghost for a very long time, and she may have something to do with why I think I have anxiety. And this is where past and current collide. Danny was my first real love, I lost my viginity to him at 15, he gave me a promise ring on my 16th birthday, first car chase at 17, first apartment together at 21, and watched him get slapped by my momma in my first house at 26. It’s that 21-26 I’m having a hard time remembering.

I turned 27 single. In a new city, if that’s what you could even call it. Danny and his friend helped me make the few hour move up the road into the house next door to my parents and 2 of my 3 sisters. They’ve been up here for a few years. My little sister goes to college close by and they got a lot of 100 year old house for what they sold that new one, in that big city for. 

I’ve come up to visit off and on over the past few years and one of my younger sisters turned out to be a wild one like me and attracted the neighborhood degenerates before I could. I mentioned before there were a few of us. Let’s just say with ages spread out from 19-27 we were a wild bunch that liked to have fun. 

This is where I would meet Mike. He swears we met before, and I remember him from an earlier Christmas visit. He was quiet, and much younger, I didnt give him much attention. He has a good friend Dick, Dick lived next door to my parents for a few years in the beginning. Dick was good friends with my sister and even Danny when he made an appearance up here with me. I thought Dick was my friend, in the beginning. But he was always at Mike’s side. He was always there to save him, even if he was the one trying to kill him.

I wanted to save Mike from everyone and everything. When I looked into his beautiful blue eyes all I saw was pain and despair. Those eyes pulled me in like every other person I tired to save. He spoke to me without even having to use words. I can feel him, when hes close it’s like a magnetic pull that gets harder and harder to say no to. But he left two weeks ago, abruptly. Now all I feel is emptiness and black… And old familar feeling.

Reds about 15- turning 16 soon, and even though I was two years younger I didn’t look it. Red wore make up, show me I want to wear make up. Red wore shorts just short enough her butt cheecks would poke out of if she bent over just right. She ozzed come fuck me and I couldn’t compete. I couldn’t do my make up as good as her, I was 13 and had no ass but my tits were coming in and they were going to be gigantic. I felt akward, I am super tall and she is cute and short with a bubble butt. She had a pager, and guys liked to use her number! 

I rember feeling second best a lot with Red. Second best is a very hard thing for me, I want to be your everything. Danny made me feel second best, and now Mike. 



Why do I have anxiety? I want to say it’s always been my closest friend even though I never really understood where we were first introduced. 

It must have started back in grade school with butterflies in my stomach. When I was around 12 we moved from a place I never thought we would leave. A place full of family and familiaraity; to what seemed like a whole new world. It was the last year of elementary school, I had amazing friends and a sense of what it was like to be a happy kid. I can’t blame my parents for wanting to move to a new city, and maybe it was the age but trying to fit in where people made you feel like you didn’t at such a coming into your self age riled up those butterflies. 

I don’t remember much from that first year in our new world. I wasn’t alone, I have a few young sister’s and we have a lot of memories from that new house, in that new world, with all those southern people, full of yes ma’am, no sir, sweat tea, beaches, sunshine, gated communities, Friday night football, and judgement. 

It’s like when you aren’t from the south, especially when your a Yankee the southern can smell it. That indimidated me for a very long time. I talked different than everyone else, I looked different than everyone else, and I had different morale beliefs instilled in me by my parents. Church is a really big thing in the south, they’re are more church steeples than Win Dixies and Piggly Wiggly’s combined. My parents didn’t bring us to church, maybe on Christmas Eve once or twice back home but down in the south all my church visited were of my own free will and usually because I had spent night with a friend and part of the deal was I had to go to church Sunday morning. I have faith and believe in God but off of my own life experiences. 

This may be where the rebellion started to show through. I tried to fit in, I wanted to be one of those girls everyone wanted to sit with at lunch, you know the girls with the pretty hair, that get all the attention for being so beautiful. My perpetual resting bitch face and hatred for being transported to this humid ass hell hole must have ruined that for me. I never was Miss Popular, I didn’t sit at the cool table, and it hurt. The friends I did end up making we sort of in the same situation as me. They were from different states usually, they looked different, acted different, and looking back they may have been from broken homes, but I didn’t care who was I to judge.

 My parents may have been a little relaxed with the trust they extended to me during my upbringing. I was the oldest, the emo one, the first to experience life. Looking back I had this one friend from about 13 years old untill about 23 that honestly I don’t know how we didn’t end up on the back of a milk carton. She was two years older than me, when your 13 and your best friend gets to experience big milestones first like 16, 18, and 21 you get treated like your older and I liked it.

It was also around this time that my body started changing. Now this friend lets call her Red, she was a bad bitch to a 13 year old. She smoked Newports, wore a ton of make up, and always had boy drama. She was everything I was looking for. Now I lived on what you would call the good side of the tracks, even though there was no railroad tracks deffineing the determination from the two, Red lived on the wrong side of tracks which is where I’m going to stop for now. Join me next time as we explore the dark side…