I went to dinner with my brother tonight. To our usual spot… Deborah’s. And as we’re sitting there waiting for the meal to get there, in walks Nick Naro. From high school. I did a double take and confirmed it was him…. No one else that I’ve ever known ever had that profile. I’d know it anywhere. I called his name… and he stared at me… like I was a stranger. Which I guess after 10 years, I must be. I told him who I was and with no hesitation, he got up and hugged me. And announced me to his friend that he was dining with… “This is the girl I took to my Prom.” I had forgotten all about that. We laughed… I reintroduced him to Dominic and he introduced me to his dining partner, and then we exchanged pleasantries. The whole time, I’m thinking to myself… There was a time in my life where not hearing from him at least 3 or 4 times a day made me very nervous and anxious. I have 2 boxes worth of letters from him in my possession to this day. I absolutely adored him. And we never dated. We were always just friends, but he was the first real friend I’d ever had. I can’t be mad that he didn’t remember me. I was 14. I found what he wrote to me in my year book the year he graduated (He had the prettiest handwriting):
Well, I guess it’s time for me to move on now (that usually happens when one graduates). But I really don’t want to… I hate change, especially when it means leaving friends behind. I can’t imagine what my Junior & Senior years would have been like without you. You are, by far, the very best friend I made during my four years at Prep, and I was honored to take you to the prom. (Wasn’t that fun?) Please don’t think that I’m gonna forget you or not keep in touch. I mean, we’ve been through too much together for that. I’ll never forget “Grease” days, and Repertory Concerts together. I miss those days. Hey, and don’t forget our frees in the practice room with the piano. Those times are priceless, and I look forward to more times like that. We’re gonna be famous some day, and we’ll be in movies together. Maybe I can be your back up vocalist for your world tours. I don’t want to sound too corny, but I look at this as a new beginning, not an ending. Speaking of endings, I think I’ll bring this novel to one. Have fun in your next two years in Prep, and you’ll be hearing from me often. Or of wa!
(Nicky)(Nick)(Nick Martino)(Lauper Freak)(Skeezix McPhearson)
Before tonight, we emailed on 9/11 (when everyone was checking around to make sure that the others were alive.) And before that… maybe while I was a junior in HS… but not really after that. He works for Sony now as a Copyrights checker. I work for KISS as a web designer…. I guess we’re still both technically in music. But I can’t imagine that I’ll be calling him up to do back up for my world tour soon.
I wonder how people who were so integral once, just fall out of sight. Just that quick. And just that quick we stopped hugging and talking and he sat with his dining partner and I turned and faced Domi… and there was an invisible curtain. We were supposed to act like neither one of us was really there for the other anymore. He did get up and hug me on the way out. And I told him how happy I was to see him. And I am. I didn’t remember the whole I was his date to the prom thingy… until he said it. I thought it was just on a whim, he asked me to go. But now I remember meeting his Mom. She seemed to like me. Maybe not his dad so much. But there were issues there.
I can reach down into my heart and know that there’s a part of me that’s still so alive from Prep. And all the people that I loved then hold such a dear place for me. They were my first true friends.
Here’s to Prep!