Desiree was at Roy Emery Middle School for only one year. She managed to get into that gang with Marjorie Thomson and Felicity Wells, inasmuch that she helped pad that little clique so it could legitimately be called “a gang.” She was the one with the bangs hanging over her eyes and who tried (unsuccessfully) to give herself the nickname “Dizzy.” Not to be confused with Darlene Mickelson. She moved during the summer.
Remember that time we all managed to siphon off some rum from our parents’ bottles and we hid out at the gravel pit and got so wasted? And John Arthur and Debbie Laurence started making out, and Dean Matheson got all pissed off because he liked Debbie and he took off and we had to find him? And Buddy Roy showed up with his truck and we built a fire and played tunes on his tape deck? And I think it was, like, 4 a.m. when the cops came and we all took off? And Dean ended up doing it with Marie Johnson somewhere in the gravel pit, even though she really liked David Petrie? George was there that night. He was the one who kept yelling “Skynard!”
Grade 8 English teacher (substitute)
When Mrs. Orlean had to leave before the end of the year for her operation, Mr. Drummond came in for the last month of school. He made us read Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet” and we were like, “What the hell is this?” Had a ponytail. On the last day of school when we were all saying our goodbyes and everyone was kind of weepy, he stood off to the side with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face like he was “observing” us, even though if you looked closely you could tell he wanted someone to go over and say, “Thank you. I’ll never forget you.” No one did.
Neighbor five houses down
His house was the one Mom said we weren’t supposed to go to. I remember it: there were cement blocks all over the front yard for reasons that still aren’t clear. In the back yard was a big shed filled with empty beer cases. I was maybe eight. There was Darren and his little sister. Darren always had a dirty face that even then I knew couldn’t have been healthy. We played Hot Wheels a couple of times in his back yard, which was good for that because it was all dirt. I don’t remember them moving away. I’d forgotten about him until recently when he popped up in a dream.
Babysat when Mom and Dad went away for a weekend when I was five. Had an accent. Smelled sour.
Gina the telemarketer
Summer job after first year of university
She worked about seven cubicles over and had the troll dolls on her desk. If I recall, she was sort of good looking in a squashed-face kind of way. We may have spoken once about “Bloom County.” The other day I ran into someone who worked there that summer. He told me that apparently Gina had a crush on me. Now he tells me!
Sometimes sang in the choir at my parents’ church and supposedly taught me Sunday School. I get her and Mrs. Cochrane mixed up. Over the years, she occasionally asked my parents what I was up to. I feel guilty that I can’t remember her better. Mom phoned recently to tell me she died. I feigned sympathy.