Brenda and Daisy spoke at length about what they would be doing that afternoon as they picked at breakfast and drank their coffee. The diner was full that morning but they were able to secure two spots in a booth right by a window and a small jukebox.
“Strange Daisy…I am sorry I lost all touch with you. I feel we picked up exactly where we left off. As if in mid-conversation.”
“I was hurt when you stopped returning my calls but I was busy with life, the kids – time kept on marching on and on.”
“Its my loss, I have never met anyone who could fill the void. I stopped having friends or even caring. I concentrated on being a mother and working, Before I knew it the kids are out of the house and I am there drinking my coffee in leisure as opposed to running from one place to another.”
“Whats wrong, Daisy?” Brenda took her hand.
“I get so lonely, Bren. I miss Ted but he seems to have forgotten all about me – even more than he did while we were married. I caught him Bren, I caught him with the housekeeper right in our own bed. She wasnt even pretty. He said she came on to him but who cares? If he did it in our bed how can I believe he never did it when he was on his ‘business trips?'”
“Fuck him, Dais, move on and move ahead. You are still beautiful-”
“Stop it I am a cow.”
“You are not – you really are still beautiful and you are young. A young grandmother for Gods sake. You need to get out more often – come stay with me in Connecticut i can introduce you to all the rich dudes over there.” She laughed. “Dudes, could you believe I just said that?”
“I bring out the teenager in you.”
They both laughed and then Daisy looked up and smiled. It was David and his wife, along with Eddie and a younger girl, who Eddie introduced as Jennifer.
The time flew on by as the memories came flowing towards them like a river of dreams, scenes and slow dances. Music was played from the jukebox – old songs chosen by Eddie and David. They spoke about the night before – the teachers, their fellow students.
“I kept looking around and saying to myself, ‘Robert got old’ or ‘Paul lost his hair and got fat.’ Then I caught a glimpse of myself and realized, I got fat and my hairline is receding. Was I as old as they were? and well, of course the answer is yes.”
“I felt the same way…I am still trying to figure out where the time went…” Brenda said looking away and then looking at her watch. It was time.
Daisy looked at her as she stood up and Brenda looked back and smiled, a sad smile of recognition that some scenes can never be replayed again – once the lines are recited and the curtain falls there is no going back. There are some plays, plots and stories – no matter how much one rehearses the gestures, lines and the steps that should be taken – nothing can adequately prepare one. We still find ourselves standing on the stage, spotlight on and an audience waiting in anticipation for the next line, the next scene…a cold sweat beneath the lights and the curtain begins to close but there is always another line to be recited, another word to be spoken…no amount of anticipation or rehearsal can prepare one for the adlibbed lines thrust upon them or the wrong performer reciting the lines.
Brenda walked across the floor and put a quarter in the jukebox. Picked B17, smiled and turned away.
She stood alone in the bathroom with the window locked shut – no escaping this time but this time she was not going to even try.
She washed her hands, adjusted her hair, walked out into the diner and sat down next to Daisy.
They all smiled as the song ended – the song was the same song and possibly the same vinyl record from all those years ago.
But the ending this time would not be an ending or an escape it would be a sort of homecoming or a continuation to what once was.
“Dad do you mind if I leave, I am meeting Charlie for dinner and I want to go home and get cleaned up.”
“Of course darling – we are on for Wednesday, right?”
“Yes I’ll remind the gang, love you.” She gave him a kiss.
“It was so nice meeting you all and putting a face to the mythical names I have heard about all these years. You are all even more beautiful than I ever imagined.” With that she left.
“That was your daughter? She is beautiful! Why didnt you introduce me to her?”
“She doesn’t like you too much.” He laughed. They all joined in.
“I guess I can understand…”
They finished breakfast which had turned into lunch and made plans to meet up that night at the reunion. Brenda had already made up her mind.
“I am going home in the morning Daisy. But please now that we both tasted what its like to be friends again please lets not lose touch.”
Daisy gave her a hug and they both jumped into the car.
“Turn up the music loud!” There was a commercial. Brenda changed the channel, another commercial. “What a buzz kill.”
“Here listen to this CD.” Daisy pushed it in the slot and a familiar piano began to play.
They both laughed and then Brenda looked out the window as they passed the old familiar spots. The spot where a Carvel ice cream parlor once stood, a now vacant lot where there was once an arcade and they would order Egg Creams and play Asteroids and Space Invaders for hours. Actually the boys would play and the girls would sit and talk. Oh those talks, those friendships, those innocent times when life was in front of us and within our grasp.
“A bottle of red…”
They drove past the school where the banner welcoming them back for their reunion was hanging on one end. The clouds were forming above and a wind was blowing.
“A bottle of white…”
There was a crack of thunder and then a blustery wind and they were in front of Daisy’s old house. It did not look like it once did – it was totally redone.
“They gutted it a couple of years ago – I watched it slowly taken apart. I swear I could hear the voices from my past calling out.”
“Brenda and Eddie were the popular steadies and the king and the queen of the prom…”
“Now I try and remember what it was like back then and there doesnt seem to be any proof that we had a childhood and that it was as special as my mind makes it out to be.”
“It was though. At least that’s what I choose to believe – to remember. Memories are just replications of themselves – they become figments of each other shaped in the form we choose.”
“Yeah, that’s kind of deep for me.” Daisy laughed.
“You know what I mean though?”
“Yes of course – that’s why each person will remember the same event in their own way.”
“I am glad I left Eddie back then; I made a decision and you know it was on my mind from before that. But I knew the only way to truly breakaway was to just…breakaway.”
“And climb through the bathroom window.”
“And climb through the bathroom window.” They both laughed.
“I guess sometimes that’s the only way out.”
Brenda and Eddie had had it
Already by the summer of ’75
From the high to the low to
The end of the show
For the rest of their lives
They couldn’t go back to
The best they could do was
Pick up the pieces
We always knew they would both
Find a way to get by
That’s all I heard about
Brenda and Eddie
Can’t tell you more than I
Told you already
And here we are wavin’ Brenda
And Eddie goodbye.
The night went well – there were dances and there were toasts. Mostly toasts to things past, people past. When the last song was played Eddie walked Brenda home and they said goodbye at the door. She closed the door behind her and he walked away.
The memories were past and the moments were now enshrined once again in the hall’s within our hearts and minds – we are given moments. We are given these moments and try to not forget to make the most of each second. We capture pictures, remember aromas and sing the songs – remember each word, each kiss and each hand held. When the time comes to think back or when the night falls too soon and the darkness overwhelms us – we remember as we choose to remember.
A bottle of red, a bottle of white
Whatever kind of mood you’re in tonight
I’ll meet you anytime you want
In our Italian Restaurant.