Today I got a phone call from the boy. . .man. . .male specimen?. . .who represents more memories than I can possibly recount. We were in the same grade growing up. No, we weren’t just in the same grade. We were the same grade. The two of us held down the fort alone in grades 1-8. And we have the epic battle scars to prove it.
Take the great tug-of-war fiasco, for example, which occurred during our parents’ annual conference. Andy (the subject of this blog), Peter (who plays the innocent bystander in this particular story) and I were waiting for the doors to open to dinner. We were bored, and had not yet developed the ability to carry on cross-gender conversations that weren’t filled with accusations of being cootie-carriers. Andy, resourceful youth that he is, decided to spice things up.
“Here,” he said, throwing me the end of his towel (he had just come from the pool).
The “you’re an idiot, stop right now” part of my brain was underdeveloped at that point, so I gamely grabbed the end and pulled.
I may not be much to look at now, but at the age of 10, I was a lean, mean, tug-of-warring machine. It’s true. And Andy knew it, too. As I pulled with all my weight (easily less than half of Andy’s), his eyes widened a bit. His nostrils flared. He knew I had him beat.
So he gave up. Freakin’ pipsqueak let go. And I went sprawling backwards. Had this been the Ritz or Savoy, I probably would have just bounced off the wall, perhaps hitting my head and getting a concussion. And I would have eminently preferred that option.
I feel backward, and heard a crunch. There was a second of “what the. . .?” I wasn’t flat on my back, as I had expected. I was. . .suspended somehow. I looked down and felt a chill shoot down my spine when I realized that I was sitting in the wall. Scrambling out, I wheeled, to find that I had just punched a butt-shaped hole in the drywall behind me. You could see the space between the dry wall and the brick.
Andy’s eyes were huge. “Oh shoot! Let’s get out of here!” With that, he turned and fled the scene, and I, in all my not-at-all-subtle, drywall covered glory, raced after him, while Peter brought up the rear, yelling, “You guys have to tell someone!”
I don’t remember running up the stairs to our room, but I do remember meeting my dad in the hall.
“Daddy, I have to talk to you,” I said, shaking internally. “I broke a wall.”
I presume my dad had imagined many possibilities for my life upon my birth. He dreamed of me being a surgeon or a professor. He may have imagined walking me down the aisle, or graduating college. As I remember the look on his face, I can tell you with certainty that he had never imagined his daughter being a confirmed wall-breaker.
The story goes on, but Andy plays no role in it, so we shall only say that the next year when we went to that hotel, they had placed a floor-to-ceiling mirror, approximately the width of my ten year old hips, over that wall. Case closed.
It was shortly after that particular incident, though, that Andy was relegated firmly to the “platonic friends” category of my mind. Dating guys who have caused you to leave a butt print in a wall just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do, somehow.
So these days, we call each other and trade insults and secrets into the opposite sex, and all is well. Except. . .I guess I didn’t realize just how platonic we are until our conversation today.
He called, as I said earlier, and we were about 15 minutes into our conversation when he said, “Hold on, things might break up for a minute.” I heard some static, and some banging of doors, but the connection held. We resumed our conversation for a few minutes, but the connection was registering persistent static, so I asked, “Oh, are you headed to the subway?”
“Are you in the classroom?” I asked.
I had a sudden, sinking feeling. “Oh Andy. Oh. No. You. Are. NOT!! Andy, YOU ARE NOT–”
Oh yes. Oh yes he was.