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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Shadow Dancing...



Yesterday I posted a story about Debbie Coleman, my very first girlfriend ever: Debbie. Well girlfriend in that 6th grade kind of way of boyfriends and girlfriends. There wasn't much to it except we hung out which we did before "going" with each other...Which basically meant we kissed, closed lips as I recall for an excruciatingly long time it seemed. Rather awkward as I remember it but I felt so...SPECIAL when we held hands and walked through the neighborhood together. Life then was so...wide open, so POSSIBLE somehow....

You have no idea about life really. Certainly no real notion what being in the grown up world was like but we thought we did. We acted so cool and in our own way I suppose we were: Cool and ...geeky! I'd never really been physically close to a girl and hadn't given it much thought. It was like a switch went on and all of a sudden it became the #1 priority: Girls...and for me there was only one, Deb.

She lived like 7 houses up the street on the other side of the road. Honestly I think I liked her as much for the fact that her parents had an actual Suit Of Armour in their front hallway as I did for her. Not really but that suit of armour was pretty damn cool! I suppose I wanted to be her Knight as it were...

The big romance as I recall didn't last that long and then as I mentioned yesterday her family moved to California. That was the last I had heard of her until the Fall of my Senior year, 1980-81. We first re-connected at a party and though it never became a "thing" we were close. We'd get together and talk about lots of stuff...she was highly intelligent and I always liked that about girls..still do really.

We both really liked Led Zeppelin and spent hours listening to their music, the last time I would do that for a decade (They played Physical Graffiti over and over at her visitation. It was 10 yrs before I could listen to Led Zep again.)....I think that "first love" connection was what made it special that we hung out together. The coolest thing though was she still hung out with me after I got out of drug treatment. Most of the partying kids thought I was a Narc, I wasn't. I was just a junkie trying to get clean, the first attempt of many it would turn out. She didn't understand my quitting but she accepted it...and that meant a lot to me.

I couldn't believe she was gone, just like that. I remember being in denial. Nobody could believe it. And I had this dirty little secret. I couldn't look our friends in the eye. Because I should have been with them that day. I was sober, I would have been driving and nobody would have died....so I thought. It was a terrible, lonely, awful fucking secret that tormented me for years,

I remember years later telling her mom that I had lied and not gone with them, I was crying...and Mrs. Coleman just hugged me so hard and said "Oh Thom, Have you carried that with you all these years? It wasn't your fault. Khalid wouldn't have let you drive and all of you would have died...It was God's will, what happened, happened." I had never thought of that, she was probably right.  I had come to terms with that in therapy but it was such a relief to hear her say that to me...

The end of this month will mark 30 years since that accident on Hard Road, ironic huh? HARD road, it was a HARD road trying to come to grips with an accident of that magnitude. And remember, those kids who had so many young friends were demonized in the press because they killed that retired gentleman. It was tough on everyone, the school wouldn't recognize them at all, even at graduation.

Debbie's mom told me later that his widow had called her and told her that it too was God's will and that he was Home now. And that is the way I kind of look at the whole memory now, in a way it's like a dream. But it really wasn't bad or good, it just was...that's life. God I wish I could have seen that then...I shudder when I remember how lonely I felt.

It's funny, I almost always laugh when I think of her now. She was a riot, funny, so full of energy, of life, always jumping up on tables and dancing. I still picture her that way, dancing on the clouds...a silhouette shadow in a permanent sunset. Dance Debbie, DANCE...

1 comment:

  1. always in mind and spirit - keep it going brother

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