Friday, March 21, 2014


Write about your best friend when you were sixteen years old

By the time I was sixteen, I had moved from California to New Jersey to Montana, was living in a two bedroom house (if you count the attic) in the town of Hamilton with my Mom, three brothers, and a little sister. Having moved so often, I had become afraid to make new friends, not sure when I would have to move again. I was also quite insecure and had very poor social skills.

I had two friends. Peggy and Berta. I don’t think they liked each other as much as I liked either of them, but they tolerated each other if we were together. Mostly, I hung out with one or the other, but not often both at the same time.

Peggy had her horse and I remember riding with her from her house to my house; I don’t remember how we went, if there were trails that crossed the country or if we actually rode down the highway. I suppose there were country trails that we took. I just remember having her horse in the backyard and it stepped on my foot. I was always afraid of horses and this just sealed the deal for me and horses from that point forward. I think Peggy and I had a falling out over some boy; I made such bad choices when it came to boys that I’m sure my behavior disgusted her and eventually she moved on to safer friends.

Berta wanted to be a cosmetologist and liked to fashion my hair. I loved it when she did that, because I had no idea how do to such things for myself. When she wasn’t fixing my hair we liked to play cards, our favorite was a game called speed (or spit). Berta liked to drink while we played cards. She had a flask that she kept stashed and by the end of the afternoon when it was time for her to go home she would be quite high. I didn’t like to drink, I preferred to smoke pot, which she didn’t, and so we would get high together in our own separate ways. Eventually her parents put her in to rehab and I never saw her again.

Mostly my best friends were my brothers. We hung out together like a tight fisted gang. They had friends and their friends became my friends. Charlie and Alan and Wade are the ones I remember the most. Mom was at work during the day and our house was close to the high school and so it became a natural hangout after school, an unsupervised place to drink and smoke and generally goof off.