I was thinking about the words sung by the late, great Bob Marley.
“Good friends we’ve had.
Good friends we’ve lost—along the way.
In this great future, you can’t forget your past.
So dry your tears, I say.”
See, I remember when we used to sit on a concrete bench in Prospect.
We were young and daring. The entire world was ahead of us.
You and I, and everyone else around us had the same plan to live as loud as we possibly could. We planned to live as fast as we could. And so long as the arm of our consequences could not catch us—we planned to run for as long as we could.
We were too young and too stupid to understand what the consequences were. All we cared about was the time. All we cared about was the moment, and however brief our moment was, we had no idea how life would change. We ignore the concept of our future because the future wasn’t real.
The length of our hair was a sign of our social status as well as a statement of our rebellion. The scars on our body were tales of when we dared the edges of bravery while teasing danger and death. We tested the edges bravery to feel alive. We tested them to feel wild and to feel a sense of redemption in a time, which to us was also known as our confused youth.
Do you remember?
Do you remember how loud the music was?
See, I remember when we used to sit in small playground in Prospect. We sat in a circle passing the time and passing a smoke. Our eyes were half-closed and bloodshot but the smiles were wide and the laughter was endless.
Some of us wore denim jackets, or leather. We were the fashion failures of our generation. We were the disenfranchised youth. We were disregarded in some ways—feared in others, and lost in our own awkward struggles of teenage angst
But at least we had this: at least we had the times.
At least we had the moments when we could yell and howl. At least we had this great handful of crazy moments, which we somehow thought could outrun and outlast everything around us. This was our youth. Remember?
If we were careful, and if we were smart, we were able to outrun the authorities who knew us not only by face, but by name as well.
See, I remember when we used to run from cars with swirling lights on top and numbers on them. I remember officers like Officer White, Flowers, and Officer Ude.
I remember running through backyards, hopping fences, and ducking in bushes. I remember thinking how these were going to be the times I would always remember. These would be the wild stories I could one day tell someone and say, “That was me as a kid.”
I remember when we used to sit against the fence near the handball courts. I also remember when Tommy brought a small gun, which was actually a cigarette lighter. I remember my decision to introduce myself to a group older, and out of out of place men on the handball courts.
I remember the look on their faces when I drew the small pistol at them and screamed, “Give me your money!” before pulling the trigger to cause a small flame to pop out of the little, imitation pistol. We laughed . . .
Of course, we laughed. We were young and stupid. We had no idea what we were doing and what was in front of us. We had no idea the paths we chose would soon degrade to what they became.
I sometimes think about the decisions I made as a young, misguided teen. I sometimes wonder if I had made a different turn or a different choice at any given day in my crazy youth if that would have changed the trajectory of my life.
We were so young and wild.
We were so high and unaware of ourselves.
I remember when we used to sit on the A-framed roof of an old bar near Fronts street. I remember the way smoke lifted from us as we passed around the small pipe. I swear we thought we knew the answers. We thought we knew the answers to everything and anything. Hell, even if our answers were wrong—at least we had them.
Good friends we had. Good friends we lost, along the way.
See, I remember when I used to sit with a friend of mine named Dorian. I remember Tommy. I remember Brett too. I remember Craig, Peter, and the list goes on.
In this great future, we can’t forget our past.
So dry your tears, I say
This is to you (and you know who you are)
We made is through. We’re still here.
And of course, we’re still friends
I love you and I couldn’t be more proud of who we are.
Speak to you soon