I had the pleasure of hosting my best friend from high school this weekend. Unfortunately, he was here for a family funeral but it was lucky for me, because I had not seen him since I graduated in 1980 (you can do the math) from Leon High School in Tallahassee. The oldest high school in Florida was our safe haven, especially drama class where we met.
Roy and I joined forces to both get a sense of belonging and understanding. While he doused his troubles in alcohol and weed, I
bathed my troubled heart in dreams of Broadway. Still not having much in common, we met in the middle and became friends
although we were an unlikely pair, as I deplored drugs.
Still, Roy’s maroon Barracuda saved me by driving me to places and profound experiences that were foreign, but
provided a welcoming unfolding of who I was to be. We shared 6-packs of Miller Draft (it turns my stomach now) at Lake Ella
right behind the police station . We were either going to be safe or crazy, I think a bit of both. He taught me to like beer and I
showed him unconditional understanding, even at our ripe age of sixteen. Roy remained a wild child and ran away from past
trauma with malt and barley and THC, and I was a blossoming flower finding out there was more to life then living with
angry words, tears and poverty. While Roy had never shared with me or anyone what is was he was running from, in the
safety of my living room this weekend, he did. At that moment, the long space of time between high school had now
Since our high schools days, Roy, the most unlikely guy to become a father, had become one. He adopted and raised a
child of three days old all by himself. He gave a chance to a child who had no chance, coming from an absent father and
whacked out mother. His son is now 15 years old and a successful student/musician in high school.
In our last moments together over a breakfast of bagels, after being clean and sober for many years, he said, “Renee,
raising this child, being a parent, has changed me and shaped me into the man I am today, into a guy who believes in himself
and his decisions.” He said he decided that was the definition of maturity.
All these years have passed between us and it all came down to this moment. Through all the trials and
tribulations that we have both seen, the people we have loved and the ones that loved us, we are like the Skin Horse, our fur
worn in places, a little worse for wear, but that is how we know we are real. So as we look back to the days of wild rides in a
Barracuda along the side of our best friend, we smile with fondness in remembrance of the bumps and bruises that got us
here, finally pointing us in the direction of our true north.
As ever~be well