Abbi was quite a special thing.
She was young, and kind of chubby, with strawberry blonde hair she wore up like a crown adorned with silk neon hibiscus flowers. She had freckles and wore glitter and her chest, and was never ashamed of her body. Not once.
And she looked different from all the other girls. As chalk from cheese.
She was that girl that everyone had an unbelievable crush on.
Back then before I foolishly allowed mass marketing, advertising, commercials, beauty pageants, and pornography to alter my definition of beauty, I saw her for the person she was: bold, aggressive, and beautiful.
If a boy could have a girl as a best friend, then she was mine. I nicknamed her Hope, and she nicknamed me Faith and everywhere, Hope and Faith were perfectly content, for they had each other.
But Hope was killing me.
Slowly poisoning me to death.
Not from her foul mouth and perverted sense of humor,
but her obsession of me.
She and I were introduced as teens when her parents were still married. Her parents would throw these huge annual summer neighborhood barbecues, and all of the children would play with water-guns and run through sprinklers and the parents fed their fat bodies with enough meat and liquor to cater a platoon of marines, while Abbi and I were always off somewhere, sometimes in her father’s tool shed smoking pot and fooling around.
We grew up together in many different ways.
At sixteen she went to live with her father after he and her mother split up. Her father was miserable over the divorce; working as a limo driver who slept all day and worked deep into the evenings, over-medicated after a botched spinal surgery. He lived in a tiny apartment, in the worst part of town, above a pawn shop owned by the glass-eyed Vietnam war vet amputee who owned a wolf-dog and always had a shotgun in his lap.
One particular summer we stole menthol cigarettes from the Texaco up the road from me, slept on the trampoline in my back yard, in the thick heat of July, Bacardi black out drunk, waking up with mosquito bites all over, and playing connect the dots with neon gel pens, pretending our legs were undiscovered constellations.
She taught me the word “Ricochet” in English. “Ricochet” It felt velvety on my tongue. I used it over and over again until the word lost all meaning for me. And eventually I didn’t need a reason to say words at all.
“Ricochet”, “Palindrome” , “Choleric”;
We were drunk and high all the time and we were instinctively running from something remarkably bigger than ourselves. Something unmeasured in the meters and miles of our pedestrian days. So much of our time was spent doing things we imagined would anesthetize our sad little lives, even if only briefly.
We built rooms from the floor up, and made disastrous messes of yarn and felt and sequins, we had bedroom mosh sessions where we shoved each other around to speed metal. Those would more often than not turn into outrageous tickle fits on the floor, where she’d have to kick me right in the liver and knock the wind out of me to get me to stop.
We lit incense. Wrote angsty teenage poetry. We would cut our hair on a whim in the bathroom sink with a box cutter. She’d shave her eyebrows to draw in stars, and I always put so much eyeliner on I looked like a sun-starved raccoon. We’d drink her father’s blackberry brandy, which smelled like ether and fermented orange peels, until we would both pass out. We made bongs and pipes out of anything we could conceive of, and smoked so much that I swear I will blame her if I ever get lung cancer.
So there we would sit,
it would be bloody early in the morning and we both had not slept.
Stayed up all night watching Gore flicks and sappy French films without the subtitles so we could replace them with our own dialogue. The coffee her father made was strong enough to give you a thrombo but rather than having any, more often I would have a couple pep pills that Abbi had traded cigarettes for with some assholes at school.
We came to learn later we had ingested amphetamines. After a while I began to have strange reactions to the pills and couldn’t take them any longer.
Abbi however, loved them.
I adored Abbi with all of my heart, but I hated the way she treated people. Namely her father, who was always trying. Abbi would beg me to break into her father’s room when he was gone, so she could sneak in for his pain pills. She knew I was tremendously crafty at picking locks which I suppose is a skill I shouldn’t be half as boastful about. I refused, and I refused, and she always broke me by promising that she’d blow me as soon as I unlocked the door. And I always did. And she always kept her promise. I did everything for that girl.
One Halloween, she was suspended from school for wearing her skimpy costume. So, she left school and came straight over to my house. She told me she was dressed up as a zombie schoolgirl, I told her she looked like a gothic hooker and she punched me in the chest. She had brought bags of candy, and made quite clear that I could have as much of the candy as I wanted, all but the blue raspberry dum dum suckers and the ???Mystery Flavor??? dum dums if I could tell through the wrapper that they were blue.
Blue always meant blue raspberry.
Blue was rarely blueberry.
As sometimes green can be both lime, and green apple,
but sometimes green can even be watermelon, when watermelon is usually pink,
but pink can mean strawberry too, even cherry.
At that moment I knew that defined exactly her and my relationship; that I could have as much of the candy as I wanted, all but the “blank” …and the… “blank.”
She would let me take and take from her, but I could never have exactly what I wanted.
The blue raspberry suckers were and always have been my very favorite.