A couple of years ago I found a few friends that I thought were gone from my life, but found them again when I started using Facebook. Finding them again really brought up some old memories and here's what came out of them. The Quad was this area between the buildings of my high school. We all had to pass through this open area to get from class to class. There was a picnic table, 1 tree, and a bench. No grass, no comforts, just this hollow place where sometimes we gathered.
* Update – Since writing this a few years ago I was able to catch up with a couple of those people from the Quad. We lost Lance last year to a tragic accident. I tried to stay in contact with the others but it just wasn't meant to be. I suppose we all have to grow up. *
In the Quad
It’s been a while that I thought of them, something would remind me of them and I would smile. I’d hear a song, see a flash of neon green, a strip of black lace, or even a scent.. and I’d go there, to that place in my mind. Misfits all of them really, this motley group of children gathered around a picnic table in the dead center of the buildings. Every morning, each would come racing to get to table and wash away the night with laughter and Mt. Dew. When one was missing, it was disturbing and often one of us would go uncover why. No technology assistance… just pure effort, walking, running, or borrowing a car to find out why one of us wasn’t where we should be.
It was safe there, this band of sinners. The small watched over by protective broad shoulders, the weak backed up by sharp mouthed little warriors who feared nothing except rejection. We were family, bonded together stronger than blood. For most of us, it was better.
We moved through the years ignoring the inevitable and not thinking far past the hot summers and cool river. We didn’t talk much about the future, it would mean we would have to separate, and that wasn’t something we wanted to consider. Even when one of our youngest would graduate and leave us a year or more before the others, we bitterly denied it and begged her to stay.. fail so she wouldn’t be lost.
As with all, there were feisty fights of willful young women and young bucks ready to claim a prize. But rarely did we claim each other, and gave hell to those who tried. No, we dated outside our circle.. and rolled our eyes in annoyance at the outsider’s attempts to join us. Our males making low threats of harm to the dashing young man who’d charm one of the girls away, but ultimately it was up to her. And the others.. we’d wait, and pick her up when she fell. They did for me.. time and again. Always warning me to stay away from him, everyone knew he was no good. But always knowing I’d go back.
And when I dared to go beyond the walls of safety, away from my school to trust the one who shouldn’t have been trusted. I told none of them, I kept it secret because I was just doing what I was told. Perhaps it was just shame that kept me to silence. An evil crept in and threatened my core and I swore secrets that should have never been made.
My pack knew when he’d broken me.. and said little so I wouldn’t be further insulted. They knew.. and I knew it hurt them as much as it did me.
Things changed that summer.. Like a bomb went off in our center, and it was never the same. We all scattered in that terrible storm.. some as far as around the world. We were lost, lost to each other and lost to ourselves.
But I hear the music sometimes.. I remember their names. And I wonder.. where have they gone and will I ever see them again?