“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose” The Wonder Years
We all remember our first taste of freedom-that time in your life when the tight grip of the metaphorical fist loosens up and you break free. The time in your life when you feel no fear in saying goodbye, because what awaits you is too exciting to feel homesick. I remember that time vividly, and wish I could relive it on a daily basis. It was a time of momentous change in my life. I was single for the first time in years. and my life was decidedly going to be all about me for once. I was young, carefree and I no longer had to hear my father say 100 times a day, “Rinse your dish when you are done.” If I didn’t want to rinse my dish, guess what? I didn’t have to (I did, however, come to find that a sink full of dirty dishes pretty much smells like death, so I ended up just rinsing the damn dish). It was an indescribable feeling to be on my own for once. I don’t think I could properly explain in words the way it felt, but you all know. You know.
My first roommates were my two best friends. The first night in our apartment was spent drinking vodka straight out of the bottle while we watched Santa Clause 2. Oh yes, we knew how to party. The next night was spent drinking half a bottle of watermelon Pucker, because the other half I spilled on the carpet. Best friend number dos made her famous waffles and poached eggs for dinner. We ate A LOT of waffles and poached eggs. I am 100% certain it was not because waffle ingredients and eggs were cheap; it was because those were the only two things in the world she could make (pretty impressive if you ask me. I still have to read the macaroni and cheese box for instructions). To this day, I do not know how we survived on our diet. The only liquid in our apartment was the alcoholic variety and the only food found in the fridge was an odd jar of pickles and some butter. Nutritious, yeah? The third night in our first place I found out that a whole roll of toilet paper generally does not flush well. I also found out that if Daddy and his plunger aren’t there, you have to do it yourself. Also, an over-flowing toilet travels fast…The fourth night in our apartment we broke our dryer. Let me tell you, a panty chandelier is quite the conversation piece.
Oh and…we thought we were so damn cool. We found a convenience store that would sell us booze and then we would go home with our prize and play drunk Skipbo. We would drag main in my ‘86 Mazda 626, with purple tinted windows, blaring Adam Sandler’s “Piece of Shit Car”. We thought we were hilarious. We would blast music and dance half naked on the coffee table (Poor coffee table, RIP). We would get in huge fights, throw clothes, keyboards and play mariachi music to piss each other off, and then the next day we would laugh at our stupidity. We would forget to pay the bills and rack up the credit cards. We were young and stupid, but we were wild and liberated. Yes, I still feel the brunt of my young stupidity, but, damn, was it the time of my life.
As I said before, I was single and ready to mingle. I met new love interests and had fun going on myriad dates. I began to feel like a new, sexier version of me. I developed a swagger that said, “Yeah, you can’t touch this!” I got inked and pierced and said, “How do you like this?” to people who told me I couldn’t be me. I rebelled. I danced. I lived.
I recall, vividly, a walk around the marina on an early spring day, a few months after day 1 of freedom. The air was cool and crisp, but the sun was warm. I was recalling all the good times spent with my new self, my friends-my roommates, and I felt this overwhelming feeling of complete, total, utter, unadulterated happiness. So, this is what it feels like to be independent and fancy-free!
I can thank my wild ways during this time for being a college graduate at the ripe old age of 27, but with no regrets. It was worth it. I still love the girls I shared that time with. They belong to a time in my life that has a special place in my heart, right up on the shelf full of “never forgets”. I still can’t help laughing whenever I hear “Everybody in the Club Gettin’Tipsy” by Chingy, and think of how we would shake our bums to that song in our socks and panties, with twinkling eyes, full of big dreams.