My senior year of high school passed quickly. I graduated with honors, which was not a big accomplishment since I never dated…or did much of anything else except study.
Mel and Stuart got married in July…she was two months pregnant. Stuart started an apprenticeship program to be an electrician and they moved into a small trailer home…and were deliriously happy.
I got some bad advice from a beloved teacher, blew a scholarship to the University of Minnesota and went instead to a local, private college which I realized…too late…that I could not afford.
I had to quit after one semester. Two jobs didn’t cut it.
But really…it was the sore throat and crap cold one very bleak December day that did me in. Too sick. Too tired. Too fucking sick and tired.
So, I dropped out of college and caused a huge fight between my parents because…because that’s what they did.
And life went on because it always does.
I bought a cheap little car with $200.00 I borrowed from my grandma who died soon after, so I never had to pay her back.
I got a cheap little job as a stock clerk for a shoe store chain at the local mall…and waited for something to happen to me…I didn’t exactly know what.
Everyone at ShoesPlus was super nice and I made a couple of new friends and I casually dated and it was all so normal.
Even my parents pretended to be friends.
But in the bottom of my stomach, just off in the corner…that lost, lonely feeling persisted. I wondered if it would ever go away.
Then one day at work, Betsy Vick, a friend from Portland High School, came into ShoesPlus. We talked for a few minutes but of course I was working so she asked if I would like to go to lunch and ‘share more memories’.
I was really surprised since we hadn’t been that good friends…but I said “Sure, why not.” We agreed to meet in the food court at 12:30.
When I got to there, I looked all over but Betsy was nowhere to be found. I looked down at my watch to check the time…and when I looked up, I saw Bobby Flanagan walking toward me.
I could hardy take a breath.