Connections

My sisters and I never saw eye to eye; rather we heard heart to heart through our telephone receivers.  We lived a good distance away for most of our lives.  And so our connections, close as they were, were nearly always via long distance calls.

The ear pieces on the phone grew increasingly warm and comforting with each laugh, each tease and each word we spoke.  We spent hours on the phone, twisting the curly, stretched cord around our body parts, spilling out our hearts and our triumphs and our woes.  But there is no record, no evidence, and sadly fewer clear recollections.

So I made up some memories.

*     *     *

I began to question the wisdom of this trip as soon as the line went dead.

The call Thursday night was unexpected.  Sam and Dave – customers from the burger joint I’d worked in back home — had tracked me down in Boston.  I’d left home six months earlier, and was surprised that the guys had found me.  They had said they were in Boston often and promised to look me up – but so had a lot of people.

Six months away from home hadn’t been nearly as fun as I expected my “coming of age” to be.   I hesitated to admit that I was lonely and would love some company.  But I hadn’t even thought about Sam and Dave – forgotten them, in fact.  Well, I barely knew them to begin with.  Sam was tall, blond, nice smile.  A well done hamburger with fries; Dave was shorter with shaggy brown hair that he often pulled back.  He liked his cheeseburger rare with onion rings.  Both drank Coke.  One of them drove my favorite car, a 1974 Datsun 240Z.  Blue.

“Great, we’ll pick you up Saturday at 10,” one of them said.  Was it Dave?  He and Sam were on separate extensions and kept finishing each other’s sentences like an old married couple.

“Yeah, Steve gave us the address along with your number.   See you Saturday!” said the other – Sam, I guessed.  And then they hung up.

They didn’t leave a number so I couldn’t call them back.  For that matter, they didn’t leave their last names.  First names, a car (cool as it was) and burger preferences.  That was all I knew.  Yet I had just agreed to spend the weekend with them at the Cape.

At only 19, I hadn’t done too many stupid things with guys yet.  So I called my older sister, Judy, 24, who had.

“This is ridiculous,” I told Judy, pacing back and forth across my tiny apartment like a bobcat in the zoo. “I can’t possibly go.  I don’t know who they are.  And I can’t possibly call them back – they didn’t leave their number.  They didn’t leave their last names.  They didn’t even tell me where I just agreed to go.   God, this has all the makings of a Hitchcock picture.”

“Are you Tippi Hedren or Janet Leigh?”  Jude roared at her own joke.  “You’ve known these two cute guys for three years and never went out with them?  Either of them?  Or both of them – together?” she teased.  “God you’re boring.  You’d be Doris Day in a Hitchcock movie.”

“I’m just going to have to talk to them when they get here on Saturday.”

“Ok,” said Jude, swallowing her laugh. “You’ll talk to them on Saturday.  Good plan,” she burst out again, “especially because you can’t talk with them before that because you didn’t get their number,” she said, gasping for breath.

I began to relax.  Somehow, when I told my troubles to Judy, they stopped being problems and became situation comedy.

“You’re a huge help.  I’ll call you back next time I need abuse.”

“Anytime,” Judy said, hanging up.

I spent Friday at work bouncing between laughing and worrying.  I didn’t pack.  Of course I wouldn’t go with them – I didn’t even know their last names!

At 10 am Saturday the doorbell rang.  “Shit.”

“We’re here,” Dave or Sam said through the intercom system.  Another reason not to go – I couldn’t keep them straight.  I buzzed them in, and took a deep breath.  I still didn’t know what to do.

Did it take an hour for them to climb the two flights or were they upstairs in a flash?  Suddenly I felt queasy.  “Oh God,” I thought as I shut the bathroom door, “what would Judy do?”  I sat on the toilet for the longest time, trying not to panic.  At last, I smiled, shrugged and said “oh, what the hell.”  I walked back into the main room and said “I’m not quite done packing, but I’ll be just a minute.”

I threw a bathing suit, a change of clothes, and a couple of other things in a backpack.  “There’s just one thing,” I said, smiling at my dates,  “I’d love to drive the Z.”

*     *     *

Me, Judy, and Beth, a while ago

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49 Comments

Filed under Driving, Family, Humor, Stupidity

49 responses to “Connections

  1. Hi,
    Great story, I was not expecting the ending, I love it. :)

  2. Great story. I would have been too chicken to go.

  3. Cool story. You make me wish I had sisters (or a best friend growing up who wasn’t a complete nut job). Glad you decided to take the leap!

  4. Great story and a great, fun sister!
    Lisa

  5. What a lovely story. I love happy endings!

  6. The perfect ending to a very good story—and I loved the blue Z too!

  7. You and your sisters are freaking funny, love your stories, thanks for the share, Elyse :)

  8. Hello, I am nominating you for the 7X7 Award. Congratulations! Here is the link in my post: http://poeticparfait.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/the-measurements-are-in-and-are-doubled/
    christyb

  9. grrr … WordPress just ate my comment. Let me try again …

    I have no idea how I found your blog, but I really enjoyed this story. You know you got it right when we can’t tell if we’re reading a truthful account from memory, or fictional truth, even though you tell us right up front that you’re making it up. We believed it all anyway! That’s good writing. I think I was Judy’s wild and crazy friend in this scenario, not because I’m adventurous, (I wish), but because I was enamored with the idea of pushing all the boundaries until they about snapped in two. I apparently only had two speeds, either much too cautious, or “what the hell was she thinking”. This was really fun to read, and I’ll be checking back to poke around in your archives when I have a bit more time. Thanks for sharing this one.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. This piece was very hard and very wonderful — because my memories are so, well, non-existent. I think you found me through Year-Struck — one of my newer bloggin’ buddies. I looked quickly at your blog and think it needs more time than I can give it tonight. And, forgive me Scarlett, but “tomorrow is another day.” And I’m looking forward to reading more!

  10. Sisters are the best and worst of friends but I cannot imagine life without my sister.

  11. JSD

    This was fun to read. I kept forgetting that you said up front it was fiction. Very good!

  12. Love the story. Sisters, two cute guys, burgers and a blue Z.

  13. I would have gone. Of course, in my twenties I did a couple of similar things and have wonderful memories of the adventures. The world is a different place now than it was in the late 70s and early 80s, so I might be less likely to do that now, though I often trust my gut in these situations and it hasn’t failed me yet.

    A lovely post – love the exchanges between you and you sister.

    • Thanks. The exchanges are really what the story is about. It was written for a creative writing class, and the teacher kept wanting to know about the guys, so I cut back quite a bit on the interchange. But hopefully it still works.

      I think your gut instincts are good. That’s not so for everyone. If someone creeps you out, well, there’s a reason!

  14. Love the 240Z – I always wanted to drive one, too. Never have. Great story.

  15. You are still alive! It did have a happy ending. My first girlfriend had a Z and I found out later that she was insane. I didn’t know this at the time.
    Nice story!

  16. I enjoyed this story so much, I didn’t want it to end! Well done. I so wish I had at least one sister growing up.

    • Thanks, Darla. I’ve been working on a novel around the sisters theme.
      I was lucky enough to have two sisters, but unlucky enough to have lost both of them much too soon. Fortunately, though, I have nieces.

  17. You did a great job on the story. I’m sorry you lost your sisters so early. My oldest one is gone, but thankfully I still have the next oldest.

  18. Enjoyed the story…even though it didn’t actually happen to you…but I’m sure it did to many others. :)
    I also have a sister who lives far away…we are closer now than when we were young and shared the same room. Go figure!

    • Thanks Vivian! I think it is often easier to get a long with sisters when they are at arm’s length. There’s nothing to fight over and if there IS, you can just hang up!

  19. Funny story. I don’t care if it ‘s semi-fictional or Abe Lincoln truth, it’s got a great twist. Everybody needs someone who can make a sit-com situation out of their life.

  20. You tell a great story. From reading the comments,I know it’s at least partially fiction, but it’s still a wonderful sister-story. I loved it! Only sisters can be with each other that way.

    • Thanks Lorna. And I think you’re right — only sisters can be that brutal and still get you to come back for more. Well, my niece does too, so I’m lucky there.

  21. Never had a sister, but I did grow up with a friend that was almost as close..I know it doesn’t compare, but it’s as close to siblings as I could get…And those were the kinds of conversations we would have… :) Thanks for reminding me! :)

  22. I did not have a sister but my younger brother was pretty good. Loved that you took a chance and “drove the Z”.

  23. I love it!
    And I love the idea of creating a memory from the pieces of a true event! You’ve inspired me…again!

    • Glad you liked it. It comforts me to come back and visit with Judy sometimes. Even though this is a fictionalized version of what really happened.

      But this and a couple of other pieces has really helped with the sense of loss. I hope it works for you!

  24. Pingback: The Well | Black Box Warnings

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