Friday, January 13, 2012

The One That Got Away

The other day, in a place where I spend entirely too much time *twitter* someone tweeted this out:
Remember that girlfriend that made you do crazy things? Yeah. I miss her.

I tweeted back:
Thanks for making me laugh. Yes. I do. Both. Remember and miss.

The sane and the stable are wonderful; they have their place in the world, and I appreciate the calm and peace they bring. But, oh, a good push you to the brink cray cray girlfriend is someone I wish once in everyone's lifetime.

I was lucky enough to be with one of the craziest girlfriends possible throughout high school, into my days of college, and her days spent as a newly working girl. I met Susie on my first day of high school, during study hall, at an all girl private school. She was a sophomore, I was a freshman. She sat in an empty spot next to me and held her left hand out. "It's my engagement ring," she said to the table. I heard a voice call her liar and tell her that was probably her mother's ring. "Jealous," she said to the air. I remember thinking how first of all, I'd be too scared to take my mother's diamond ring to school; and second, she looked like a girl who could have an engagement ring.

The school was divided into two types: the good girls who were sent there because their parents wanted to keep them good and that meant away from finding out about boys, drugs, and all the in between; and the bad girls who were sent there for almost the same reason: to keep them away from what they had found out about boys, drugs, and all the in between. I was a good girl.

I used to wonder why she plucked me out of the crowd, I was always the girl in the background. That an older girl would take an interest in a frosh was intoxicating to me.

She took my world to a whole other level. I would watch her, listen to her, go anywhere she wanted me to. And laugh. Laugh until my triple layer mascaraed eyelashes would get stuck together from the tears pouring out of my eyes. The more I'd bend over convulsing with laughter, holding my aching side and begging her to stop, the more outrageous she'd become. She performed it all: flawless impersonations of our teachers, ruthless imitations of the current jerk boyfriend, and dead on perfect skank mimics of the tramp that got the bartender we both wanted.

She wasn't the only person in my social circle back then, there were some level headed people peeking in from time to time. Occasionally, one of these dwellers in groundedness would take me aside and ask, What in the world are you doing with her? She's just too much.

Ah, no, she's not too much. I think she's fabulous.

Friday nights would come and she'd drive over to get me, a B-52's cassette playing in the boom box that sat between us in her father's rusty pale yellow Cadillac, and we'd head for the freeway. Black Pat Benatar blazers on, boxy and to our thighs, lips painted matte red, our bangs held six inches straight up in the air with Paul Mitchell hair shellac; our first stop would be the dance clubs.  Two girls on fire with youth, no responsibilities, and a case of Friday night paychecks.

We were glamorous. She made me glamorous.

She was pretty, tall, thin, big eyed and pale. She had hair so dark it might as well have been black and a side profile that I wished was mine. She had more freckles than I'd ever seen on anyone in my life and could slam screwdrivers like a 300 pound meat packer. When she laughed, she sounded like she was five years old.

I can begin to tell you a story about how, at the end of the night, she'd always forget her car's parking brake was on until we'd be driving and the smell of smoke would hit us, she'd open her mouth and out flew the profanity, Sh*t. Damn farkin POS parking brake is GD farkin on again. She swore like a sailor, and my mother, who, by no surprise, was already not a fan of our friendship -- always knew when I had been with her too much, my salty speech giving me away. She thought nothing of spending our last twenty on shrimp cocktail at 2 a.m.

We would slip into our weekend as soon as she punched out on the time clock, and I rushed out of my biology lab. Friday night, when she'd pick me up outside of my campus housing; I could hear her coming down the over parked one way street in front of my shared apartment, boom box blowing the Caddy's doors off with The Scorpion's The Zoo. I'd be standing out in front waiting for her; when she'd see me, she'd start to slow down, but never really stop. She'd lean over and creak the heavy door open and I'd slide in, slamming the fifty pound door behind me with both hands. I'd be with her from then until the sun rose Monday morning. One pre-dawn Monday after dropping me off at 5 a.m., she drove straight to work, parked the Cadillac in the lot there, lay down across the front seat and slept for one hour before starting her job at 7 a.m. I dragged my tired butt across campus to physics class at 7:30, all the while thanking god I had five days in between to rest up before the next time.

For every story I begin to tell about her, there are tens more waiting to be told.

My husband is not a loud laugher. I know when he's having a good time because I see his shoulders shake up and down and his mouth opens up in a quick surprise O, while his eyebrows arch up.

Every story that has ever made my husband's shoulders shake up and down, begins with Did I tell you about the time me and Susie ...

By the end of our twenties, she had married and had children, I had been accepted to graduate school. We went on to live our lives.

Yes, there are sane and normal human beings in the world. And then there are the ones that Katy Perry sings about. The ones that got away.

*I want to thank the charming Melissa Kirtley from the very versatile A Wide Line. She has bestowed upon me the highly flattering Versatile Blogger Award. I thank you, dear lady, and you've warmed my soul on this blustery January day. xo *Pssst...peeps: you need to check her out. Seriously, always an interesting post.


  1. You don't see her anymore? Or stalk her on Facebook?

    I've had my share of the crazy, wild, made-me-laugh-so-hard girlfriends. Ah, I do miss them.

    Oh, I may also have been the crazy one for a few people. That makes me happy.

  2. I did have a friend like that. Love the video!

  3. I am still in touch with mine. We don't live in the same city but boy do we laugh when we see each other. I love a good fun friend. Nothing like laughing until you pee. x

  4. Oh! I had 3 of them!! Triple trouble!! I still see them all the time, although they are a bit more tame now.
    Just a bit, mind.
    And they'd hate it if they knew I said that. Shhhh

  5. ok, i want to hear more stories of suzie....

  6. Instant smiles when I think of Suzie.

    Brian: do you really want some good stories. We were out of control.

    I can email them to you.

    Two girls on fire with youth, no responsibility, and a case of Friday night paychecks.


  7. She sounds like the most wonderfully fun kind of friend : ) You wrote about her perfectly!

  8. Wow, even I'm missing Suzie right now...and I don't even know her!

    They just don't make friends like that anymore, do they?

  9. Those are the best kind of friends because they leave you with the best memories. I hope you get in touch with her again, for old times sake. And I love the phrase "on fire with youth" it just says it all!

  10. I love this post, it's made me so happy and sad at the same time xx

    1. YAY!

      Like you made me happy with your comment.

      Thank you...

  11. Liz, this is a good idea for a link up, isn't it? Write of your best friend from the past? Someone you've fallen out of touch with.

    Thanks for stopping by everyone...Suzie is who I think of when Katy Perry comes on.

    I miss my friend a lot. Or, maybe just those times.

  12. I was the crazy one who pushed people to the edge and beyond. One of the best parts about aging is that I occasionally will hear from one or another of them and they'll tell me some prank I pulled and dragged them into. Of course I have ZERO recollection of any of it. Some of them were so awful that I would ask, "Did we get in trouble for that?" Or "Did your parents ground you?"

    Unless you disguised her name, I think all Suzy's are a little bit nuts.

    1. Sweet Suzy:

      I kind of do love all Suzy's.

  13. I'm laughing really hard!

    My college bestie who became my city roommate and God Mother to my first born was that first person for me. The minor difference is somehow we took turns. One of us would have the wild hair and then it caught on. If both did, look out. We spent many weekend nights (3am) at The Wiener Circle where everyone ordered cheese fries they threw to you from the counter because it was so crowded with drunk yuppies. After I had kids and moved to the 'burbs, I met another wild one and we call it our shenanigans (her name is Susie, too). Would love to travel somewhere with both of them to see what would happen!

    Love, love this post...Great memories!

  14. She sounds just lovely. And I feel like you could be that friend to me! ;-)

  15. Love this. Makes me think back on all those loud, saucy girlfriends I had back in the good ol' days of high school and college... The ones that got away. Great post, Alexandra. Wonderful as always.

  16. I've had a couple of friends like that and I think I've been that friend on occasion. You, know, transitionary phases in my life where I threw caution to the wind and said to hell with propriety. My god that was fun. I'm just glad I survived it, though. Laugh.

  17. Replies
    1. How ironic that my signature today looks like profanity....

  18. Oh, I love this. The one that got away. I have a couple of those. And I can just picture the hair. I could never get my hair quite as high as some of my girlfriends, but, oh man, that was some ridiculous hair!
    Really loved this post.

  19. Well, all you wonderful commenters, thank you: I'll reward you for your lovely thoughts this way:

    She had to stop seeing me. Her husband did not like me one bit. Not from the first second he met me.

    I remember our last phone call: he picked up the extension and said, "tell her."

    My heart pounded. He stayed on the line, breathing down her neck, while she said, "I can't see you anymore."

    I just hung up the phone without a sound.

  20. "Pat Benatar blazers on, boxy and to our thighs, lips painted matte red, our bangs standing six inches straight up in the air with Paul Mitchell hair shellac; our first stop would be the dance clubs. Two girls on fire with youth, no responsibilities, and a case of Friday night paychecks."

    ^That is EASILY my favorite thing I've read this week, and I kind of feel like I was there (except I used purple Aussie Scrunch Spray).

  21. Oh my goodness! I can't believe her husband broke up your friendship. That's awful. It sounds like you were wonderful friends.

    1. Yes,...bad girls like bad boys.

      And he was preeeeeeeeeeeeeeeety bad.

      I could tell you things you'd never believe.

  22. You paint the most amazing pictures. Right down to the lipstick. I can see it all.

    I have to wonder how such a wild, wonderful girl ended up with such a controlling husband.

    1. Jen, he was an ahole.

      He didn't like me, and she had no family other than him.

      that's what drew the both of us together: broken families.

      She clung to him.

      And did as he said.

  23. I still have this friend in my life...she is level headed and so impressive in her career and then completely her rocker too...she makes me want to run away with a suitcase full of booze and make more memories...I am emailing her your post and telling her I love her for all the silly, funny, amazing places she's taken me.

    Thanks for hitting publish today...this made me so happy!

  24. Oh, how I miss those days; especially when the radio plays that tune and you are brought right smack back to those days with a SH$T eating grin on your face.


  25. Love this. My craziest friend was deceptively quiet. Even when she'd talked our way onto a tour bus with the band.
    (and that's all I'll say about that.)

  26. Yeah, we stopped talking after that. Then, time just marched on..

    The one that got away.

  27. Awwww that's sweet. And I never actually watched that katy perry vid before, but its so sad... :(

  28. What a fun friend to have! When I was young I was very much a loner. All I wanted was my books - so I never had that crazy friend. Then when I hit my mid-30s my two sisters became my best friends! We are each other's crazy friend! I just spent the day with them (there was WAY too much shopping involved - UGH) but I treasure Every. Single. Second!

    Thanks for sharing this one - it's perfect!

  29. Empress, I have a friend like that now. She brings out my wildest, most fun side, and in turn I like to think I keep her grounded. I'm her safe place, her sounding board and her confidante. In turn, she's my joy and laughter, with a touch of insanity! This post made me all warm and fuzzy just thinking about this precious friendship. I think I'll text her now! Xo

  30. Empress, I have a friend like that now. She brings out my wildest, most fun side, and in turn I like to think I keep her grounded. I'm her safe place, her sounding board and her confidante. In turn, she's my joy and laughter, with a touch of insanity! This post made me all warm and fuzzy just thinking about this precious friendship. I think I'll text her now! Xo

  31. Empress!!!!! I know I'm not around so much anymore, but that doesn't mean you are always in my thoughts and in my heart and then when I do come back, I have the privilege of reading your fabulous, fabulous story. Your vivid tale of recollection evoked so many memories of those days.

    I love friends like that. I had some crazy ones like that and fortunately, I still have a few. Also, it is rumored that I might just be one of those people myself.

    I love you, Lady, with all my heart. This was such a treat to read.

  32. Oh yes.
    Actually there were a group of us that we had been actually dubbed the "group" in highschool. We were inseparable.
    They truly helped me find myself in those awkward highschool years.
    Of course life happens and we all moved away.
    It makes me so sad when I think of us.
    We still keep in contact but it's not the same.
    Sigh...going to have to pull out the old photos today and reminisce ;)

  33. I love this post and I love stories like this. I was lucky enough to have a friend like this in my life and I cherish those memories and times we had. I don't know how I ever had the energy but the laughter always made it worth it.

  34. I KNEW you were talking about Susie!!!!!!!!!!!


  35. I loved this post, was happily cruising through your lovely readers' comments, fell out laughing when I read about What Gee Thinks hanging out at the Weiner Circle (really? the jokes won't stop in my head), but then came crashing to earth when I read about how your relationship with your crazy bestie ended. Man. Must have hurt for a long time. Whew. Hope she got out from under the jerk.

  36. Ah yes... "the one that got away." I've had three best friends throughout my life, one in my childhood, one in my teenage years, and one (Miss Lips, I mention her a lot in my blog) who's still around (thank goodness!) and pretty much been around for the last 10 years and counting ;) With the exception of my first bestie, I've been the culprit who makes my bestie do crazy things. Hahaha. Funny how I'm always the introvert and my besties are all extroverts, and yet when it came to doing crrrrazy things, I'm always to blame.

    Maybe, one day, if we ever met, Alexandra, I'd convince you to do some crazy things with me. How's that? ;)

    Thank God for bestfriends! Old and new...

  37. I have never had a friend this amazing, but I can see why she is a treasure. It sounds like your most exhilarating and fond memories tie of that time tie back to her.

  38. Oh this made me think of my crazy friend Heather...she was a riot and every time we did anything together we ended up holding our stomachs in pain due to excessive laughter. We got into so much trouble....

    I haven't thought of Heather in a while, thanks for prompting the fond few minutes I just had!

  39. Everyone needs to have a friend like that at some point! Or try to BE that friend. :)

  40. I had different a different best friend when I was in high school and she was wild! There are still times where I would love to blog about some of our crazy exploits (like the time we picked up some fishermen, stumbling out of a bar on New Year's Eve and ended up playing cards with them on their smelly fishing boat) but we still laugh over how we haven't even told our parents these stories so blogging them may be a bit of a shock! Maybe I'm not as old as I think, if I'm still concerned about my parents thoughts, especially when I live on the other side of the world from them!
    I loved reading about your Susie and how free she made you feel. It's amazing how important those people can be in your life, no matter how much your mom might tell you how 'bad' they are ;)

  41. I love this. I, too, have a Susie. I think I have been a Susie for others too. I have a friend that used to say in college, Kristy, you are so DECADENT! (She was more the timid one in that relationship.) Makes me miss my girl, Julie.

  42. I love this. I, too, have a Susie. I think I have been a Susie for others too. I have a friend that used to say in college, Kristy, you are so DECADENT! (She was more the timid one in that relationship.) Makes me miss my girl, Julie.

  43. I miss those days. And being the Susie.

    It's a wonder, really, that I'm sitting here typing this.

  44. Thank you all, I'm so happy I could trigger memories of who we used to be.

    For some of us, that wild girl wanna be is still in there.

    Behind the driver seat in the silver minivan.


  45. This reminds me a lot of my cousin. She was a lot older than me, so I didn't hang out with her, but I know the hair and the scary boyfriends and the trouble she used to get into.

    A couple of years ago, we were at her in-laws' house for Thanksgiving. She started to tell a story about her crazy high school days (she's married with 3 girls and has the craftiest house ever), and I started laughing. She said, "Don't laugh. It's true." And I said, "I'm laughing because I remember."

  46. You know, I never had the absolutely crazy friend who made me do the crazy things. I often lament this fact, but then I think back to my high school days.

    I played bass for the high school musicals at several of the surrounding schools. My favorite was always St. Elizabeth's Academy for Girls . . . they had a huge budget (which meant that they paid me) and the only guys in the cast were the leads that they couldn't cover with girls doing the parts.

    So, I'd show up, toward the end of the run, and just start playing bass . . . while I was only in high school, I was really tall, and I was always confused for someone older, but not "unattainably old." I was, um, mysterious. And a musician.

    So, um, maybe I was the crazy person?

    Anyway, I had some fun times because of this girl's school...



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