I have a friend who sometimes borrows my memory. I really do have a rather remarkable memory. I can even remember things that never happened. I picture my deathbed much like the movie “Big Fish” with my kids trying to find out what parts of my life were true. That’s why I love that movie. It glamorizes liars. I try to tell the truth, but the truth grows. I justify my creativity by claiming that honesty is overrated. Just because a person is being honest doesn’t mean he knows what he is talking about. If we really want honesty in relationships, it’s not what we teach our partners. How did we expect the boys we dated to become good husbands?
My friend asked me the other day if I would remember something for her. I wondered what she wanted to know. She looked a bit puzzled and said she thinks she has a memory of spending the night at my house and going to a party and there seemed to be a tree house somehow involved. Then she looked me in the eye and trustingly asked, “Did something like this actually happen?”
Yes, and I remember it in detail. You were wearing my red bell bottoms with the big white polka dots. I wore a pale blue pair with a big Tshirt. We both wore sandals and long straight brown hair. We were going to Mike Mayo’s party. I was going to be with Clyde and you were with Jackie, I believe. Yes, he was very adorable. Or maybe it was Mike. He was cute too. We were probably about fourteen years old or younger.
When we arrived we went into the garage and Innagadadavida was playing on the stereo. The boys asked us if we wanted to go for a walk. We did. We walked down by the river and sat on a sea wall and looked at the moon and stars reflected on the water. My white sandals were so bright against the dark river they almost glowed. It was a beautiful night. It’s so cool having a boyfriend. Do I really want a boyfriend? How do I know if he really likes me? Do I really like him?
Then the boys asked the question. Each of them asked the same question. Each of them asked it intimately; quietly; privately. It was the first time I had ever heard the question and I must admit a pivotal experience for me. “Do you want to go and see the alligator?” I instinctively knew this was some kind of code that would lead to heavy petting. I also knew this was a great way to find out how serious I wanted to be about this guy. So we all four walked back up the dirt road and past the garage and near a pond with a big tree next to it. Without discussion we all climbed the tree up to the tree house. There was enough room for three couples.
We didn’t expect honesty. We liked our guys to be cute and creative and a little bit sly and deceptive. But then later we decided to really rake them over the coals for being all of those things. It’s funny really. I wonder how many of us would have gone if our boyfriends said “lets go up in the tree house and make out”? I suppose Mimi and I probably would have. It was just so much more fun to pretend and make it all more naughty. We were good girls doing bad things with cute boys. I guess that’s about as normal as rain.