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Just in Time for Halloween
Just in Time for Halloween
Grrr, I hate when I accidentally erase something when I've typed a paragraph or three.
Okay... faithful readers, remember my friend Mike? I referenced him not too long ago, he and Jack worked together, disliked each other, and neither of them liked that I talked to the other? Yeah, him. Anyway... you might have wondered how I wound up attracting the attention of someone who had known me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. (And whose mother, to this day, still sees me that way.)
Here's how it went down. When I was about 15 or 16, my dad pulled into the gas station where Jack, Mike, Mike's brother Ronnie, Ted, and a few other guys I knew worked. Well, at that time I only knew Jack, Mike, and Ronnie, from school, but I digress. Anyway, dad pulled in with me in the passenger seat and Mike came out to greet him. "Hey, there, Mr. Elysia'sMaidenName, who ya got in the car?" "Oh, hi Mike, that's Elysia..." "LITTLE ELYSIA?!?!?!" (keep in mind, the last time he had seen me I must have been all of 8 or so...) So he strolled on over to the passenger side of the car and said hello, chatted with me for a few minutes while dad got his gas, and then bid us both goodbye.
Fast forward a little over a year, to when I am driving my own car, and still taking it to that gas station. (Side note - some cars are picky about a certain grade of fuel. My car was picky about a brand - Chevron - and even picky as to exactly which station I should take it to. If I went to the one closer to my house, she shuddered and sputtered like anything.) Mike is very sweet and solicitous every time I come in... but every time I come in, he treats me like a nice kid, and asks about my dad, my mom, my sister who he graduated with... and after a while that's a little annoying. Grow up always defining yourself in terms of your relation to other people, and eventually you just want someone to know YOU.
So. I turn 17 in September. A little over a month later is, of course, Halloween. Back in the good old days, schools didn't see celebrating Halloween as just another way for the devil to take hold of your soul and never let go, so my (Catholic) school still let us dress up. Not sure that they had in mind what I wore, but then again, I had borrowed it from my mother so I saw nothing wrong with it. I dressed as a devil. To be specific... red spandex tights and leotard, skin tight... gauzy red skirt with a handkerchief hemline... pitchfork and horns... and of course, 3-inch heels.
Think I mentioned before that I was the "runner" between Jack and his girlfriend, taking letters from her to him and vice versa on lunch hours. My friends and I would go to the Taco Hell next to the gas station to eat while Jack would write his response. So I step out of the car to hand Jack the letter to which he will be responding... and watch as Mike's jaw hits the asphalt. He rushes over to say hello, and for some reason, during the entire conversation his hand is either on my arms or my shoulder, and he has a broad grin on his face. It was the first time I saw his eyes sparkle like that, though I would see that again many, many times before the year was out.
And from that day on, every time I went to the station, he didn't ask about my father, my mother, my sister, or anyone else, until he knew everything that was going on with me.