And so, our 16 year old selves grabbed us by the hand and begged us to embark on our annual trip down Memory Lane. Usually under the safety of a car, this year we used the provided golf cart as our vehicle of choice. I drove.
The ritual involves pointing out certain houses we have stayed in over the years, recalling funny stories, memories that have become characters of their own that punctuate the vacation each year.
Eight Bells, our first house. . .we pretended we were horses romping over the dunes. Yeah, we did that.
Euphoria, the house where we proudly proclaimed meeting 26 boys (count em, 26). It must have been like flies to honey back then and I didn’t even realize it. It was the year we met The Boys, and therefore, an important stop. Gosh, we were cute, our 16 year old selves comment from the back seat.
The Elvis House, name for the year Elvis died. We were there that very week. It was a stone's throw from The Boy’s house and we had big plans until Stephanie’s Pittsburgh boyfriend hitchhiked down and threw a monkey wrench into our week.
Passing the houses, I teasingly told Steph we were going to stop by The Boy’s house and she laughed. “You’re kidding, right?” Hells yeah, I was kidding. We were wearing lounge wear, the equivalent of pajamas, but I was going to go down another street to see his other beach houses. So, I bypassed his street and headed down the next, stopping in front of one of the homes that had a sign bearing the name of The Boy’s company. A moment of pride and then, onward to the next house.
The golf cart lurched forward when I realized there was a new white pick-up truck sitting in front of the next house and I had to swerve to avoid it. Stephanie grabbed my arm, gasping, “Oh My God! Holy Crap! That’s Him!” she turned her head toward me as we passed the man in the truck. I glanced at the license plate, a vanity plate, and knew she was right. I kept driving.
“What do you want me to do?” I asked.
My 16 year self was saying, “Well Duh, turn around and go say hi,” but she was also battling with 53 year old Stephanie who took one look at herself in the suddenly very large sideview mirror of the golf cart and caught a glimpse of herself in her jammies, hair pulled back after a day at the beach and no make-up and she hollered, “Just drive!” And I did. I drove the full length of the road at full golf cart speed until it ended at a cul de sac.
I stopped and looked at Steph who was hyperventilating, “Now what?” I inquired.
Without hesitation she says, “We run!” but stopped short of escaping through the sand. She rethought,resigned, “I guess we head back the way we came.”
Never one to go willy nilly without a plan, I said, “We should stop and say hi.”
“Have you looked at us lately?” She pointed to the telltale mirrors and I saw my reflection. She as right. We weren’t 16, we no longer have long flowing hair or cute little belly buttons. In fact, we were so well disguised in our 50+ fat suits there was no way I was going to stop and say hi. Not like this.
“Alright. But what if he has recognized us and he stops us? I have to stop, Steph.”
She bit her lip. “He isn’t expecting to see us so he probably won’t, but IF he does, we stop. . .I guess. Just drive as fast as you can.”
I hit the accelerator as we headed back down the road reaching a sluggish top speed of 16 miles an hour. Tearing down the road at 16 mph, we steeled ourselves for the possibility that at that speed, we may indeed be forced to make eye contact. Heck, at that speed, we could make eye contact and conduct a full conversation with the guy in the time it took to drive by. Our stomachs were knotting, we were nervous, but thankfully, the white truck pulled away in front of us and drove off. We both sighed an audible breathe saved from an awkward moment and I punched it to get back to our place.
Giddy, it was hard to delineate between our 16 year old selves giggles and our 50+ selves giggles. That Boy still made us smile somehow.
Pulling back into our driveway, Steph looks at me and huffs, “I’m a little offended he didn’t recognize us, I mean we were right in front of him!”
Maybe next year, Jimmy.