I have this way of picking the oddest person in the room and deciding I need to be friends with them. I’d like to think it’s because I see the tiny streak of special in some people even when others miss it.
Ok that’s bullshit.
It’s more likely that I like weirdos. Which makes sense because I’m a proud weirdo, myself.
One of the weirdest friends I’ve had was named Turquesa. On our Mississippi Navy base, her Antiquan accent and big dookie braids made her stand out. Her mother made weird food and had an even heavier accent.
Sometimes I’d go over to Turquesa’s house after school and hang out. I wouldn’t stay long because they didn’t have a TV and I physically couldn’t be away from Thunder Cats for that long. Once Turquesa and I were outside playing and she got this weird look on her face. I asked her what was wrong. She told me she had pooped on herself. Apparently sometimes she had bathroom accidents outside of the bathroom. Still, she was my friend. So I lied to her and said it was ok because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
But I made sure to ask her if she needed to go to the bathroom like 40 times a day from that point on.
Whenever Turquesa came over to my house, I wanted to show her a good time. I let her play with my Barbies, I showed her my Nintendo, and I offered her some refreshments. When I opened the refrigerator, I saw that there were two types of Koolaid: red and orange.
The fact that there were two types of Koolaid wasn’t actually that special. This was years before my mother had a meltdown over the number of red Kool Aid stains on her carpet and banned us to the lemonade flavor only.
So as the good hostess–eat your heart out, Martha Stewart!–I turned to Turquesa and let her choose which Kool Aid she wanted. She chose red. So I took the orange. I poured her a cup. By the time, I poured myself a cup, Turquesa had already drained her glass. “You want another one?” She nodded yes. I poured her another one and it disappeared as fast as the first. (Did I mention that Turquesa was a little on the large side? No? Well, in that moment, I realized how she got that way.) So I poured her a third cup. And a fourth. And by that time, the red Koolaid was gone.
I asked her if she wanted to play some more. She said yes but she was little wobbly on her feet. And then she had to go to the bathroom to throw up. And then she said she wanted to go home. So I showed her to the door and told her I’d see her at the school bus stop in the morning.
Almost as if on cue, my stepdad arrived home. We chit chatted for a minute. He asked the normal questions about what I’d been doing all day and I told the normal lies because I didn’t want a whooping. Then he said he was gonna make my mother a frozen drink because she was coming home from work and would probably be in a bad mood. Apparently he’d put together some mix in the refrigerator and had already added the alcohol.
“Where the hell is the daiquiri mix?” he said to himself. Certainly, he wasn’t talking to me because why would his fourth grader be drinking a strawberry daiquiri?
(It should be noted that this was back when my parents were young. They drank, smoked, etc. We rarely went to church and when we did, we went late, left early, and talked through the whole damn thing. Now, my parents are older and trying very hard to get into heaven. So they’re all Jesus this and let’s sing in the choir that. But I knew them when they were making daiquiris at noon like they were on a perpetual vacation on something AND I’LL NEVER LET THEM FORGET IT!)
“Was it red?” I asked my stepdad.
“Was it in a big pitcher on the top shelf in the refrigerator?”
“Oh I haven’t seen anything like that. Maybe you just thought you made it and really didn’t.” He just gave me a strange look but started making the mix again. He must have had a lot on his mind because it was super obvious that I was lying through my little teeth.
Turquesa wasn’t in school for the next few days. She didn’t feel good. And then when she did get back to school it was only for a week because her dad got orders to another base. I don’t know where she is today, but she probably goes to a few AA meetings a week.
Many years later, I read Anne of Green Gables and laughed so hard when Anne got Diana drunk. Because I knew it’s really not that hard to do, even when you’re just trying to be a good hostess.