I’ve learned that my friends, my buddies from those exciting years between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one, didn’t like me. I had no idea. They never let on in any way that I could see. I must have been unintentionally irritating to them.
My father was more successful than the other fathers, but I never really noticed it. It was selfish of me, I guess, to be so insensitive to their feelings. I remember at one point, I gave Danny an extra car I had. It was a small, primitive, rare German car, but it gave him mobility while he was at college. The three of them went to college together, but I chose to not go. I hated school.
We all lived in the same neighbourhood and went to the same high school. We hung around with and dated the same group of girls. I felt equal to all the guys. Now I realize that while I lived in a large, brick, center-hall corner house, the other guys’ families lived in humble apartments a few blocks from my corner. I didn’t think it mattered. And I don’t think jealousy is a valid reason to turn your back on a boyhood friend.
Now I realize that my fancy car, my speedboat, our summer home all set me apart from my friends, at least in their view. I loaned some guys my car. I had some guys to the cottage for weekends. It’s not my fault my father was into all that stuff. I wasn’t, and have long since distanced myself from it.
I ran into Danny on the street in front of Bernie’s law office. Bernie was the only one that I could see actually liked me. Danny was obviously uncomfortable at the encounter, so I didn’t linger too long with small talk. Then I took to facebook and found only Marty and Jill. Marty asked how I found him and I told him. He said he’d thought of me too, from time to time over the years. He then cut me off so I can’t communicate with him. I thought we’d been friends. Jill had been my first big love in the fifties. She said she vaguely remembered my name from back then.
I’ve heard that Bernie’s in dire straits these days. I’d like to see if I can help, but I can’t find him. I can only guess that he did something bad, was disbarred and is hiding from creditors. My daughter believes he’s become a cocaine addict. It could be true, because I know he dealt with many entertainment characters.
Now I have to sort through my old memories and see them as one who was merely tolerated, lacking true friends. I don’t know if I was the fool or if they were.