Neglected - photo
Taken November 26, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

Some very, very important people have been neglected, that is.

Real Life, Off-Line, Dirt-Side People. People that I’ve known since I was four years old (and that’s a lot of years, and a lot of memories, ladies and gentlemen).

A week ago, I got the yearly invitation that I dread getting. The invitation from The Girls. These are the girls that kept me from getting beaten up from grade school all the way up to high school. How I managed to become part of the “in” class of people is still beyond me, but even with all my lack of social grace, these girls were my girls from Kindergarten on, and stuck with me even when I didn’t deserve them.

We’ve drifted apart over and over and over – always because I backed away – being the gutless, anti-social little ass that I am, and they have always been there anyway, whenever I needed them, if ever I called.

The Indian Princess sat with me once on a bench on Main Street in Teeny-Tiny Town, the place I was born and raised, and where she still lives. She sat with me through a long cold night when I was drunk and stupid, even though we had drifted apart, and I was afraid to go home. She talked to me for hours, and listened to me ramble on idiotically about everything and nothing, and when she thought I was sober enough to get in the house quietly, she walked me to my driveway, and watched me until the door closed, and gossipy little Teeny-Tiny Town never heard about it.

The Lawyer listened to me cry on the phone when I left my first husband in 1987. Told me I could come live up here with her ’til I got back on my feet – bought my bus ticket and met me at the station – moved a depressed and frightened ghost of a woman into her home and got me my first job in a strange new city. This, after nearly five years of no communication whatsoever.

The Fly-Girl moved herself lock, stock and barrel from four towns down the line, in the space of two days when I told her I couldn’t do this on my own anymore – cleaned my house – cooked my meals – did my laundry – kept me sane for six months until I met Ky’s dad and she thought I’d be okay, finally, before she picked up a life of her own again.

Every year, they all get together, with a few new faces tossed in, at Christmas, and I always get the call. “Come over and visit. Let’s catch up. It’s Christmas. We miss you.” Every year, I find an excuse not to go – because there are too many people there. There are too many years gone by. Too much water under the bridge. Pick your cliche; I’m sure I’ve used it. I have just not ever quite felt comfortable among them. They have always seemed a little too good for me.

I have always felt a little like an interloper. They were the Beautiful People, even at nine years old; more so in high school, and they are still the Beautiful People now. They scare me a little. I have never felt I could be like them, and I’ve never quite understood why they let me in that inner circle. I have known them, and loved them, and admired them for 37 years now, and never quite understood why they let me be among them.

This year, my Year of Fearlessness, I decided it was time to not only go to the annual get-together, but to go and enjoy myself. I accepted the invitation.

And then I chickened out.


I called The Fly-Girl on Friday afternoon and begged off. She took it well, as she does every year, and that was that.

Today (yesterday?), The Lawyer called. “I want you to come.” I gave her every long drawn-out excuse I could come up with, and she over-rode each and every one of them. She’s a lawyer, after all, and a very good one.

I caved.

The Fly-Girl picked me up (and let me drive! to The Lawyer’s house), and The Lawyer hugged me tight and gave me a beer. The Indian Princess hugged me tighter and told me I’d gained weight for a change (!!!!) and looked better than ever. The Two Little Sisters (Princesses in their own right) were there as well, looking fabulous and making me feel at home, and another old friend from school (The Angel) was also there to say hello. I decided this wasn’t so bad, after all.

Then the doorbell started ringing. Strangers started coming in. The party ended up about twelve strong (“twelve” is a terribly large crowd for me, especially when I only know four of them), and I started to wish I’d never answered the phone earlier. I snuck off to a bathroom and looked at a terrified me in the mirror and got angry.

This is not the person I want to be anymore. I want to be grateful that I still have people I love and trust after 37 years. It’s time to stop pushing them away. It’s not like they would actually go away, after all. If I’m going to get the call every year, I want to go and be happy to be among friends.

So, I smartened myself up and washed my face and left the bathroom determined to enjoy the company of people who have known me nearly as long as I have known myself.

And I did. I had a wonderful time. Had a few more beer. Drew a hairy penis on the ass of The Indian Princess – being a cartoonist, after all – so she could freak out a Little Sister who had just gotten a tattoo (The Indian Princess is not into tattoos). Did some trouble-shooting on The Angel’s digital camera. Discovered that I do have a place among them. Turns out, they are a little in awe of me, too.

I discovered that, all along, I have been The Answers Girl. I’m the “intelligent” one. I’m the “brain”. If you don’t know how to fix it, or you need an answer to a question… ask Les. Because – get this – “Les is The Writer. She’ll know.”

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “God of the Sun” – America
(‘Cuz that was “Our Song” Waaaaaay Back When.)

10 Replies to “Neglected…”

  1. When I started reading your definitions of everybody, I thought to myself, “That’s funny, Self! Les doesn’t realize that she’s The Writer and The Smart One.” From now on, though, you’ll always be the hairy penis artist to me!

    I’m so glad you had a good time, and let some people back into your life. They wouldn’t keep calling if they didn’t want to be there. They need you!

    Les Says: Yes, they do, don’t they? SOMEBODY has to draw the pornography on all the butts! LOL!

    I am very glad (and still a little surprised) that I did go. I will be driving again with The Fly-Girl soon, too, which should be a blast.

  2. Wow, Les, again a lot of similarities here, although, unfortunately I do not have a 3-D circle of friends who seek me out. They are there should I venture out, and like you, that doesn’t happen very often.

    I know *exactly* what you mean about your comfort circle of four or five folks and then a new person (or seven) shows up and throws that balance off. Way off. I have stood in the bathroom, like you, trying to work up my courage.

    What a nice ending to a story I have seen play out, in my own life, over and over. Thanks for sharing that.

    Les Says: Well, you’re welcome. I’m always surprised when someone makes a comparison like that and thanks me for sharing in my comments. I guess it does help to know we’re not alone in some of our self-conceived “failings”. I have always considered my inability to be ‘nice’ and join in at social functions as a major “failing”, so how this worked out pleases me very much. And I’m glad we have these similarities – I can’t wait for our ‘coffee-date’, Cardiogirl… Ky and I are already planning our first driving foray into the States, and that’s to you, ‘cuz you’re the closest.

  3. Good for you for picking yourself up and getting out of the bathroom! And for going to see your friends!
    I cannot tell you how many times I have “begged off” and then been sorry. Unchallenged but sorry.
    Count your blessings darling, you have some great friends.

    Les Says: I do. Now, I want to pack them into my trailer and take them with me when I go. šŸ™‚

  4. Excellent that you were suckered into going. I was going to suggest you throw some of those awesome photos together and wow them with those but that’s clearly just one small part of you. Next year, it’ll be even better.

    Les Says: I think if they were more ‘internet’ inclined, they would have seen them on my photoblog – I’ll be sure to let them know about it, now, though. šŸ™‚ As it was, they seemed quite impressed with the Hairy Penis, so I think I managed to enthrall them, anyhow. LOL!

  5. Damn you…I started out about to cry as I read, getting angrier by the line at you. “Damn her,” I kept saying in my mind, “Don’t she know they love her for who and what she is? They don’t want someone else like them!”

    Then you came through in the end and I was so proud of you…damn, if anyone could hold their own in a room full of people it would my friend LES.

    You had better stick with these ladies…they are your rock…and it sounds like you are theirs.

    Les Says: …and I knew that if anyone was going to tell me off for being an idiot, it would be you, Mushy. And I was, and I deserve that.

    I’m glad you’re proud of me, though. I’m proud of me, too. And of course I’ll stick with them… they wouldn’t allow otherwise. šŸ˜‰

  6. Glad to hear you learned that people who love you, love you.
    They don’t need someone they can’t trust and they obviously trust you. Congratulations.
    Uh, one question though? Being a male, I have never, ever, seen a “hairy” penis. Could you please send me a photo of one? >(^..~)

    Les Says: Hey, I said I DREW one – not that I’d SEEN one. If I can convince The Indian Princess to let me send you a pic of her ass, I will do so. Ummm…. don’t hold your breath, though.

    (And NO stalking, if she lets me send it! She’ll break my nose.)

  7. I’m glad you let yourself get on with things and let them be friends with you. You have an amazing set of friends by the way. I’m not so good with people either, it’s a lot easier to run away once you start to get close to somebody. But it’s a lot happier to be surrounded by people who like you for you.

    Les Says: They are pretty amazing. God, I can’t believe we’re this OLD.

  8. Les, you are indeed a writer. Great story, thanks for writing it.

    Les Says: And thank you for reading it, Adam! šŸ˜€

    Welcome to Where the Walls are Soft.

  9. I, too, add my contralto to the chorus of glad you went voices. Loved the faux tattoo! And loved the fact that despite years and miles and times you chickened out, The Girls continue and thrive and know when where and how to get there and be there! And haha, after all that, you wound up being Ms. Go-To-Guy!!!

    Les Says: I KNOW!! Not to mention, The Fly-Girl has offered up her vehicle for my Driving Test – didn’t even hesitate. The test is Friday, BTW. My life is getting ‘awesomer’ by the second, as my kid would say.

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