Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Memory Shuffle #2 - Mandy

As time moves forward, recollection of past events breeds hazy, swirly memories. Like old VHS tapes, warped with bad tracking, trying vainly to compete with continuous, streaming high definition. Sometimes, we only remember basic concepts or a general summary of events built from our own unique perspectives. Do not worry - this is normal - we have not actually forgotten anything. Our childhoods are not lost to the devouring dark. They just lack pertinence. Relevancy. Buried underneath layers of fresh associations connected to the daily digest of new material. Important material. Sometimes all it takes is an old song, a familiar taste or smell, for the veil to part and for everything to come rushing back. What is interesting is when a memory does not conform to the model, when a memory of something or someone is crystal clear without any current relevancy. So, when I say that I should not remember Mandy, it is not because I disliked her - it is because I have not talked to her in over four years and I do not understand why my memory of her is clearer than everything else (well, ok... maybe not everything else. But, the rest I at least understand).

In fact, I rather liked Mandy. "Fond of", in retrospect, might be a more accurate turn of phrase. I was never romantically interested in her, but that is not to say she was not attractive, intelligent, or animated. Certainly animated, but kind of plain at the same time. I imagine most people would have passed her by, but then again I think that was mostly because she was new and particularly quiet around people she did not know. She matriculated at the beginning  of my senior year of high school, so I imagine she was not quite on the radar, as well. And, she sat at our lunch table. Randomly, actually. The only thing I cannot quite remember is when exactly she showed up. I do remember, however, that she sat next to me for three months before I remembered her name. That was not so much her fault - your narrator is just horrible with names.

Mandy was all about two things: horseback riding and sex. She used to joke that taking guys' virginities was a favorite hobby of hers and she was pretty open about her sexual experiences. Our table frequented a lot of sex talk, a lot of it joking around, and, of course, she and her boyfriend (Justin, a tall boy who I was friendly with) would talk about their sex lives. It was a lot like a "The Lovers" skit, except not nearly as creepy, more to the point, and featured a lot less PDA (so, really it was not like the skit at all). Sometimes the sex talk got to be a little much, but ultimately it was a pretty funny, surreal experience. And that was part of what was cool about Mandy - she tried to maintain a sense of ownership over her sexuality as opposed to being ruled by societal standards marked by the phrase "slut". Other people may have called her that, I am not really sure. We never did.

Another thing that was clear about Mandy was that her home-life was not so great. Her parents were interesting characters, I think. I do remember that their landlord lived with them. I also remember that their landlord was an asshole. I recall that conversation pretty distinctly. I think he used to try things, definitely said a few things, that would effectively exclude him from Honorary Gentlemen status. A less-than-stellar human being. And Mandy found solace in her horses. She would be outside at times when I drove by, as her house was on the route I used to get to the main highway. Her horse did not have a large amount of room to run, but it seemed to work for them and it looked like she legitimately enjoyed her time in the field. These would be small glimpses into a world I would not have seen otherwise.

A good memory I have featuring Mandy was a trip we made to a concert after I graduated. We got into a truck with Justin and drove out to the "Projekt Revolution Tour." Given, these days I would not be caught dead at another one, but at that time I was pretty stoked and got to see a nice set of bands I had never seen before. I saw Snoop Dogg there - that in itself was an experience. I remember we got our pictures taken for a memento necklace made to look like a press-pass for a magazine. Sadly, I think I lost it awhile ago. It was a good picture, baring the fact that I was obviously very ill (be careful of what you eat in 3rd world countries), and it showed us all just having a really good time. It was one of the first big-venue concerts I attended. And I was, and still am, grateful.

A talked to Mandy a few times after that, ran into Justin and her at a homecoming game during Freshman Year fall. But, after a while we kept in contact less and less (as is the trend). I think our conversations were limited, at that point, to me drunk-IMing her and pestering her. She, rightfully, got fed up with it. Unfortunately, I have not talked to her since. I found out a little bit ago that she married. I stumbled onto a status update of hers on Facebook, saying something to the effect of, "My husband's got the sweetest ass in the world," with her voice ringing out clear as day. I laughed out loud, of course. It makes me happy to see that she is, at least by Facebook standards, doing well for herself.  Who knows? Maybe we will bump into each other a few years down the road and catch up. I trust that her life will be doing just fine then, too.

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