I decided to take a lil’ break from all the music related posts and just let my brain go. This is what happens when you get inspiration from Facebook and the Ghostface track “Child’s Play”. For all immediate Shadowboxers dope, check out the Tumblr page. In the meantime, enjoy this little story.
I always liked this girl, and by “like” I mean “unromantically tolerated”. She lived 2 blocks from me. Sometimes when I walked home from school, I’d walk by her front door and wonder if she beat me on the path, or if she was still behind at the corner store with her friends, buying candy and gabbing away about whatever it is we gabbed on about as 12 year olds in South Philly.
Because of where we lived in the diocese, our Catholic school had only 44 kids total in my graduating class, and only 17 were boys. By default, she was friends with every girl I liked. And yet the idea of ever liking her never crossed my mind. I doubt she ever had a crush on me. She and I were always just cool.
As we got older, we saw each other much less. I always remembered her calm and polite demeanor, an interesting trait considering she was an Italian girl in the throes of South Philadelphia, a faux-traditionalist sect where subtly is outlawed. She didn’t smile much, but she didn’t frown much either.
I bring her up because I just saw her photo on Facebook and realized it’s been fifteen years since we graduated grade school together. She went to the customary all-girls catholic high school in South Philly. I went to the highly respected, and somewhat controversial (being that it wasn’t in South Philly) all-boys catholic high school in the heart of Center City. We would bump into each other occasionally during high school on random blocks, maybe grabbing water ice or mailing envelopes, but it was just a “Hey, how’s it going? I just bumped into such-and-such”. Then we would bid adieu and totally forgot about each other’s existence.
She’s grown up now, but looks exactly the same. Thinner even. It’s weird when that happens. According to her Facebook likes and interests, she’s into all the pop culture and Philly-centric things I hate, like that hooker Snooki or Rudi’s Formal Wear, the mecca of South Philly prom dresses and tuxedoes. I question if she REALLY is committed to the cause of “Those Crunchy Chocolate Things Between the Layers of an Ice Cream Cake!”
I realized after all these years that she and I never knew anything about each other at all. We existed in this vacuum for quite some time together but made no lasting impact on each other in any way. Went to school everyday for 8 years straight. Were in spitting distance of each other’s front doors as well. Shared the same social circle, sports and romance included. No matter how successful I ever become musically, it will never occur to her, nor will she ever become a strident attendee of my future shows and tours because of parochial school ties.
It’s quite liberating to realize that our relationship is the same now as it was in 1995 and we’re both obviously comfortable with that.
I bring all this up because every time I drive by her house for the past 15 years, hers just one row home off of the corner property, some pottery/ceramic shindig that is amazingly still in business, I peek through the front windows, then the glass door, in hopes of spotting her. Every single time. For fifteen years. I have no idea why I do this. Sometimes I’d see her parents or her older sister, mutual ghosts all the same. But I would never see her, nor did I particularly care that I didn’t. But I looked anyway, every single time down that street, for fifteen years.
I wonder if she did the same thing while walking by my old house.