After 1 1/2 years of having the blog up, I still didn’t see it coming. One of my friends and also one of the boys I identified in my bullying stories found me through the blog. I’m sure there was some shock when he went looking for me on the web and found out that I was writing about our childhood in Lexington, instead of just having a page on Facebook or another Social Networking website. And I can only imagine how he felt when he found his name in one of the stories.
But wait…I do know, because then we started talking via email and then I called him last night. Also, he started adding his comments about our time growing up in Lexington, MA into the blog too. In all actuality, I did figure that he would be the one to find me, because we were friends from the day I moved to Lexington to the day I left. He might have been my only long term friend during those years.
I also remember him well, because he was pretty crazy. He had an energy that was unstoppable, so we were always getting into adventures (and quite a few misadventures) along the way. I remember watching the movie “Stand By Me” in 1986 and feeling like I was watching my life from 1974-1980. There on the screen was a story with some similarities to my years in Lexington, particularly the Junkyard dog scene. We dealt with a similar situation at a junkyard that was behind my house.
I always fancied myself the character that Wil Wheaton played. my friend, he was more of a cross between River Phoenix and Corey Feldman. He was cool, yet crazy too. While we never went on a search for a dead body, we did run away from trouble several times.
So, yesterday my friend found me through this blog. He wrote some comments and I could see he was reading his way through my recollection of what happened to me in Lexington. I also knew that he would get to the story that involved him, the one called “The Long Halloween”. All of a sudden I was doubting myself. It was never my intent to hurt anyone through this blog, only to heal (myself mostly). Here was a friend of mine for 6 years and all that was on this blog was one story about him. He wanted to reconnect with me and now he was going to read that I saw him as one of the bullies. After all, I don’t use this blog to talk about all the great times in my life (and there have been plenty). In 6 years I only had one story that involved my friend. But my fear was that he would read that and feel that’s how I saw him.
So I contacted him via email to tell him I remembered all the good times too, but didn’t mention them in my blog, because my blog is about bullying. After I finished writing the email, I saw the he replied to the blog I had written about him. Then my friend did something that I neither expected or saw coming. My friend wrote:
For what it’s worth, and what I recall of that night, it was just kids being kids… I think we were all just being goofy with the mischief of the night, being Halloween and all….
…and I will say I am sorry if your feelings were hurt.
Of course my friend was right in the above. We were just kids. Just typical 11-12 year olds. But, 29 years later, my friend chose to say “I am sorry”. 29 years later. . . I’m not even sure how to process that. I did feel a weight off my shoulders. I don’t want to say I was waiting to hear those words, but I can’t say they don’t help either. It’s long ago and long over. I don’t harbor ill feelings toward my friend. It’s just something that happened and something that is part of my life’s story and maybe played a part in forming who I am. And who I am is a person that is good enough for me. What my friend said took courage.
So, I felt it important to call him, which I did last night. After 28 years, my friend and I reconnected as adults, but as adults whose memories are of us as children. We shared in the stories…the good stories, of our times together as children. We laughed. He caught me up on the neighborhood stories (My friend stayed up in Lexington and still lives not too far away). He remembered details about me that only a person sees from an outward perspective. He told me things that I had forgotten. He reminded me of how sensitive I always was and how, whenever someone pushed me over, I would cry out “Ow, my back is broken”! We laughed. Maybe we got some tears in the eyes as well. But, at the end of the conversation, I felt that the friendship that took a sabbatical when I moved 28 years ago had somehow started again…28 years later. And 28 years later, I could still sense that my friend was still my friend, the boy I knew (just grown up). Isn’t that how it always is.
What does that say? Isn’t that the sign of true friendship? Distance and time don’t matter in a friendship, do they? So, now what happens? Is there another chapter to the Lexington story for me? My kids want to visit where I grew up. Maybe it’s time to go back and walk the streets again. Mv friend tells me they are vastly different, but I bet if I walked them today, I would see them through the eyes of the past. And maybe…just maybe…there were some very good times in Lexington I’ll recall as well. Times when friends like my friends were there for me, not as bullies, but as my friends. And we grew up through the good and the bad together in Lexington, MA.