When I was 14, a girl arrived at our high school from Northern WA. Her name was Tracy, and as I slowly got to know her, she quickly became a great friend of mine.
She was funny. Incredibly funny. Very confident and happy all the time. She also seemed more worldly than me. She seemed to have experienced more than what I had, even though we were the same age.
Before too long, we were the best of friends, and I was spending a lot of time with her. Her Mum had separated from Tracy's Dad, so it was just the two of them (her brother remained up north, from memory). They were both fun. Her Mum was like my second mother, and I loved nothing better than hanging out with them on weekends.
I wrote a post recently about my first deodorant (view that here) and it was Tracy's mum who enlightened me to the fact that I was using a personal hygiene product on my underarms. (Oops.) And it was Tracy's mum who found me dancing like Cyndi Lauper in Tracy's bedroom one night, and had a subtle rib at me about it. Which I loved.
Tracy was interesting. I remember how fascinated I was when she told me that she and her friends used to contact the dead during regular seances. She told me stories that would make my heart race. About doors flying open and objects flying around the room. I'm not sure it was all true, but at the time, I completely believed it.
And it was Tracy who, one night when her Mum went out and left the two of us at home alone, gave me my first taste of wine. I had hardly anything. Not even half a glass. But I convinced myself I was "tipsy", and felt very naughty, and yet somewhat liberated. I was always such a well behaved girl, up until that point.
And then that same year, a school disco was planned, and Tracy and I decided to meet friends at the local park and drink Summerwine beforehand. (I know. Classy. And as a side note: it was the 80s - and from memory, a bottle of Summerwine cost about $5. If that.)
The evening didn't start well. Tracy forgot her disco ticket. But we convinced ourselves that we'd just talk our way in. Yeah. Good idea after a few wines.
After we had finished drinking (I recall that I got through a fairly small amount from my bottle, but I was more than tipsy that night - a cheap drunk) we made our way to the disco. As we reached the pine forest surrounding the school, Tracy decided she needed to pee, and being her friend, I decided I would too. We pulled down our pants and went right there in the pine forest. Until we heard voices and noticed a bright flashlight. The police. "Run!" Tracy yelled. And so there I was, running through the pine forest, attempting to pull up my pants as I did so, being pursued by a much faster, much more sober and much more agile person than myself (because from memory, his pants were on). I fell to the ground, only to be lifted up by the police officer. Game over.
Our parents were called. I remember asking my Mum if Tracy was still sleeping at our house that night, as originally planned? Needless to say, she was not.
My parents were very disappointed in me. I knew I had let them down, and had done something incredibly bad. And I felt bad about it.
I think my Mum suspected that Tracy had influenced my behaviour, and to be honest, she probably wasn't all that off the mark on that one. But she continued to let me hang out with Tracy, and sleep over at her house, because I think she also saw the other side of my bestfriend.
My bestfriend's confidence was rubbing off on me. Until I'd met Tracy, I was a fairly shy girl. I had plenty of friends, but I wasn't particularly confident about myself, and Tracy brought out a lot of good in me in that regard. With Tracy, I laughed more. I enjoyed life more. And I felt a lot more comfortable in myself. I think I had always been so conscious about how I should behave, that I forgot to have fun. And I'm not talking about drinking at local parks type fun. I'm talking finding more ways to just enjoy life and have a good laugh at myself and situations. I was loosening up.
Eventually, Tracy moved away from Perth again (well before the end of high school), and although we promised to stay in touch (and I was devastated), eventually our letters became few and far between, and our lives moved in separate directions.
Years later, when I was working for my first employer, Tracy moved back to Perth, and lived close to my work. I would spend the odd lunch break at her place, catching up. But our friendship never really picked up where it left off. We were on different paths still. But we've always remained friends.
About a year ago, we had a nice, long chat on the phone when Tracy and her Mum visited my parents (our parents still exchange Christmas cards and the like every year). We laughed about some of things we got up to together all those years ago in high school, including the night we got busted for drinking before the school disco.
And even though I don't speak with her often, or catch up with her (especially now that I live on the other side of the country!), she will always have a special place in my heart. She was my first real bestfriend in high school, and she is part of the reason I am the person I am today.
So, if by any chance you're reading this Trace, thank you. You were a great bestfriend. Even if you did get me busted by the cops. *Chuckle*
What about you? Any old bestfriends you can recall that you're perhaps not in touch with anymore that influenced your life?
Until next time...