When you first start dating your great love, there is a great suspended period of time. There is laughter and energy swirling about you and your betroved. You can feel the energy in the air. Life is magnetic, and time stands still. You can create change by the sheer joy within your relationship. You are giddy, your senses are more in tune, your being is a bit more aware: you are invigorated. Everything is new, or revisited in a polished gleaming, light. Everything is clean, everything is a bit manic. Everything is somehow more alive and vivid, tantalizingly, sensational. You are invincable.
So, when your love, your great love, asks for you to go and have a dinner with some of his nearest and dearest friends you may jump with zealousness at the notion of breaking bread and sipping wine with the past. You will share your great fortune, you can share your loves' spark. You can take on the past. You have a cheat sheet, as your love knows his friends and can give you an abbreviation of what they are 'about'. You can cut to the chase and get over the small 'howdy do's' and jump right into a ready made friendships at hand.
But my cheat sheet was intimidating. I was to meet only some of the Friends. Friends who seemed to have gone through some unstated battle together. Somehow living through their twenties and surviving, is some marker for battlescars and friendship. I really had not contemplated what was in store, for a young lass, bonding with men who had such a clasp of sentimentality amongst them.
These men filled to the rim with sentimental claptrap have given themselves a monniker. A monniker which can cause a young damsel, such as myself to take pause, their nickname being 'The Louts'. A monniker which was only revealed as I embarked on our journey.
Now for me, at the time, Louts conjoured up an image of belching old men; farting old men, wearing lumberjack shirts and having cigarettes with ashes, draped from their lips. These Louts in my head, had an image of baggy pants which are soiled by a light sprinkling of ash, and the obligatory cardigan with moth holes and a few missing buttons. Not really part of the young, hip, culture that we, my love and I were a part of.
I was caught up in our work culture, I was caught up in our moments of playing pool, dancing til dawn with my roomates, I was caught up with him and me. The way we were in our immediate surroundings. We would work late and stay out late and then have breakfast at a funky diner together. We did not need rest. We had love. And we had stolen moments as he worked across the hall from me. We had endless moments of spontaneity which left a sense of adventure lurking in the air.
But now We were now going to embark on a road trip to meet his ole Lout friends. We were going to take our love out of the confines of what we knew. We were going to try and fit ourselves in with part of our old worlds, our old friends who knew nothing of this energy. And do the 'old' really respect the young?
We were going to meet his old friends for dinner.The friends who have made an effort through the years to keep in touch. The friends in which spontaneity no longer happens for. The friends whose lives are outside my sphere. The friends who are planning a dinner to get to know their friend's new love. Or maybe it is just another word for interrogation of me? Will permission be granted for me to enter the inner sanctum of Loutdom or the beer pit.
So equipped with a cheat sheet of names and maybe a quick antidote of what summed up the people, the men, at the dinner we picked up our first Lout en route to dinner. He was young? He was handsome? He was tall and fit, he was a charismatic, lawyer who worked for the Crown, his name was Jason. He did not seem like my ideal of what a Lout could be but maybe looks can be deceiving? Maybe he had a cardigan under his jacket? He was happy to see us, and was equally accommodating to having his 6" 2 body stuffed into the back of BoyWonder's 240SX.
The conversation, we had going north was fun and this friend of BoyWonder's had put me at ease with his easy banter. We are all laughing and enjoying the moment of a crisp, new friendship and he is helping me along with my cheatsheet.
When we arrive at our destination I am feeling a bit more at ease after conquoring my first Lout. It did seem like a gauntlet. Three Louts not including my date BoyWonder or Jason. There was Pierre LaRound, who was only called 'Laround' by friends. He was a short, man with large girth with pants pulled up to his armpits, a sight that all had warned me about. He had a booming voice and was the head of the geography department in his high school. And he seemed to use the word 'Fuck' as an adjective, a verb, an adverb, pronoun and a noun sometimes all in the same sentence. I often wondered throughout the evening how he could teach a class without his explanatives. There was LaRound's athletic, quiet girlfriend Jane, a biology teacher at the same high school as Laround, who ran marathons with no difficulty at all. She was athletic, stern, strong and very quiet to the gruff, and extremely loud, LaRound.
Then there was a friend who's knickname was Frog. He was a 'old school', rich boy. He was a tall developer who had a charming Kennedyesk smile in his finest preppy clothes. He had a twin bother whose nickname was Monkey, who was not available for my interrogation as he was living in London. Tatler magazine had just done a writeup on them, these two animal monnikered Louts, as the most diserable, handsome, bachelors at the time. This gave the friends, the Louts, endless fodder for muddslinging as the night carried on.
Last but not least there was a friend named Hydra who was the fastest ,rising, young, star in the United Nations. A man who boasted of his knowledge to always carry extra shirts in a knapsack to parties, as when he danced, he sweat though his clothes. Hydra informed me, that the best party was hosted by my BoyWonder in which Hydra changed his shirt seven times through the course of the night. Apparently that party had become a legend in its own rite.
The night of interrogation was fun and electric. There was endless laughter and great quips back and forth.There was a great sense of the past but even more was a promise of a future. There was talks of foreign policy, there was talk of injustices, just as there were talks of victories and the amazing spirit of the human soul. It was a night of past jokes, and future jibes. But mostly, it was about a commadery of friends/Louts who had seen much together but much more was promised in their future. And a future of introducing me to the other seventeen Louts who could not make the evening due to geography.
And when we left we were feeling elated.
And as we hugged and kissed goodbye we promised to do it again soon.
And then Jason, BoyWonder and I filed into the 240SX. We talked and laughed and sang to The White Album in the rain when 'it' happened.
We were in a rush as we were to go to another party the three of us. Another meeting of the minds...
But 'it 'happened.
My BoyWonder said' Great! An accident.'
It was raining out.
I said 'Oh' with disappointment and turned down the music.
But then, I noticed something after about a minute...
I rolled down the window... and stuck my head out.
Wait a minute.
There are no emergency lights?
There are no cops?
There is no ambulance.
I get out of the car and rush to the accident.
I pass twenty cars until I get to the front.
And there 'it' is; the accident.
A wrecked car and a truck.
I then see two teenagers embedded on the shoulder of the road. I run to both to make certain they are breathing. They are about 6 feet from each other. Neither one is moving. But both are breathing.
I reassure them that everything is going to be okay and I am just going to get help.
I then rush back in a clear voice and say loudly with conviction.
Does anyone have a cellphone?
Can anyone call for help.
Can anyone call for help?
Does anyone know first aid. I am looking for one more person to help.
I address every car on the way back to BoyWonder.
And then I reach our car. I lean in. I know BoyWonder does not know first aide so I say 'there has been an accident and no cops or ambulance yet.'
Jason, do you know first aid?
I need your help.
And with that he gets out of the back seat and runs with me to the boys.I explain that one of them is scalped and the other one could have broken his back. I'll take the back victim if you are okay with the blood?
And with that, the two of us attended these teens on the road.
It was raining and I was using my cape to shield the boy I was with. I made certain to block his view of his friend for I feared that shock could take over if he saw him. He was a country boy who had just visited my city. I quickly asked him a barrage of question about the city, what he saw, what he liked: anything but what had just happened.
I talked and talked with this boy. I watched BoyWonder who kept far back so that Jason and I could do our work. I could see him looking at the totalled car and tried to figure out how these boys ended up on the side of the shoulder. I could see him doing the physics when finally help arrived.
The police and the ambulance arrived at the same time. They asked who was the worst off and I pointed over to Jason.
The cops were fantastic.They came over to my victim and asked him his name. And if it would be okay to call his parents. And reaffirmed to him that he was going to be okay.
My sixteen year old guy, Marshall, the boy who had just been to the big city, the boy who went about ninety miles an hour out the back window, and had been so brave, started to cry upon hearing that he could' talk with his Mommy'. I told him that his mom would be waiting for him at the hospital. And it was going to be fine. And with that the second ambulance arrived, taking Marshall away.
Our threesome, piled back into the car and sombrily drove to the next party which we were expected at. We arrived three hours late and left within the hour as we were in no mood after what we just had undertaken.
It took three weeks for the blood to be washed clean from Jason's hands just as long as our scalped victim was in the hospital. Marshall was the worst off as he did not break his back but did shatter his pelvis. He ended up being in hospital for four months. We learned all this through our dinner friends, for as luck would have it, they, Laround and Jane, were their school teachers.
We learned that the driver of the car, was a girlfriend of Marshall's and that she was charged with theft as she stole her sister's car to take her friends to the city. We learned that she and her girlfriend were annoyed that the boys had fallen asleep in the back of the car. We learned that they tried to teach the boys a lesson by playing chicken with a truck. We learned had the boys had worn their seatbelts they would have died as the volocity in which the car hit the truck and the spinning would have snapped them in two with just a lap belt. The boy who was scalped went through the small side window and Marshall through the much larger backwindow.
It was my introduction to Jason and some of the Louts. And it was a story that had us bound together with a noticable battle scar.
17 years later, spontaniety no longer exists in my world. Everything is planned. And I can not remember the last time I really wanted to play pool. But the Louts are still in our lives, wherever in the world they are, as they write me and keep me a breast of their lives. Our home is the beacon for when one returns from an adventure and they all gather to regail in the triumphs of those who were abroad and those who stayed behind. And I am sorry to say that baggy pants, nor a cardigan has yet to appear. But I suppose in time they will.
And as I pause and reflect, I am so glad, that I had the folly of trusting love, my BoyWonder and the cheat sheet. I suppose being young, foolish, and in love does have its bonuses.