MICKEY

MICKEY

A Story by manchilld99
"

Love comes in all forms and truly does last forever. Children grow into adulthood and still remember and love their schoolmates. Mickey was one of mine.

"

 

We were tenth graders when we met.  Both shy, we found comfort and friendship in words.  They were our playthings, and our playmates.  We could always read and write magnificent ideas, daring feats, and saucy, swaggering, sexiness, the very stuff we sere short of - except in our friends, our words. These words, hers and mine, fed upon each other and grew and grew more adventurous, eventually drawing us together, her words and mine.  We were friends, schoolmates in 1966.

 

Mickey told me with all seriousness that she was going to be a journalist.  With some embarrassment, I pretended to know just what that meant until I had a chance to go and look it up.  Then I encouraged my friend in her dream.  For my part, I could only say that I was enthralled with every utterance from the wordsmiths of the day; Malcolm, Martin, Muhammad Ali …. Even the unlettered exuberance of Willie Mays and Yogi Berra held me in its sway.

 

Square as a pool table, and just as green.  My friend Michelle and me.

 

Mickey was a light skinned young woman of medium height and quiet demeanor.  She was not overly pretty, but was still very attractive in the way her near high-yellow skin tones contrasted with her straight, jet black hair.  In 1967, that kind of thing was still very 'in.'

 

Life happens …

 

Life happened to Mickey, and to me.  Mickey got mad when I missed English class, and the next time she saw me I was glassy-eyed and high.  Reefer madness... She was disappointed when I suggested that we cut school one day and go hang at a friend’s house whose parents were at work.  Mickey was not that kind of girl.

 

But now, it was 1968. In the nation, the struggle for civil rights was giving way to a demand for Black Power. War raged in Indochina, and directly threatened life and limb of all whose legal draft age approached. The kind of person you were was changing every day before your very eyes. With the explosion of information from all sides, most of it incendiary, every day you morphed in ways that surprised even yourself.  And while I was busy marveling at my own changes, I didn’t even notice those that were going on with my friend.  I never paid much attention to the ghetto-rich, baby-faced drug dealers and hustlers who suddenly were everywhere.  Decked out in alpaca sweaters, silk pants, leathers with Persian lamb collars, and ‘gators, they swarmed over and preyed upon my friend Mickey, and all the unsuspecting, shy but vain girls like her.  I never noticed Mickey beginning her descent. Before I knew anything, she went spiraling down, down, down … Mickey went from snorting skag, to skin-popping, to mainlining.  Heroin was her first pimp.  After a time, she walked around glassy-eyed and too cool, purring a Billie Holiday-ish moaning slur when she talked. She gave me a Janis Joplin album, and proclaimed her a genius.

                         

There went one of my very best friends, ever. 

 

One day I walked into the wrong classroom at school and as I chanced to look over in a corner of the room, I noticed my friend Mickey. She was deep in a junkie’s nod, her head never quite touching the desk as she nodded down, but never quite reaching an upright position when it recoiled upward again.

 

 My friend Mickey was a stoned junkie. It was now 1969.

 

I went away, off to college, where if Mickey could only have landed, she no doubt could have become that journalist in her dreams.  Times were changing for women, but things had already changed too much for Mickey.

 

The last time I saw my friend Mickey was in the summer of 1970.  I was within hours of leaving New York City to avoid some street trouble that sometimes comes some people’s way.  The last time I touched her hand, kissed her sunken cheek, looked into that now vacant abyss where her sparkling eyes once were, was on the corner of Southern Boulevard and Elsmere Place in the Bronx in June of 1970.

 

I held her hand.  I kissed her.  I turned and, without ever looking back, walked away into the ‘70s.  I didn’t know I would never see her again.

 

While at college, I got a few cards, even some letters with loose ten dollar bills, wrapped in Mickey’s love and her admonition to never let what had happened to her ever happen to me. And then, the war,  Jimi Hendrix, Huey P. Newton, Nixon, Kent State, and the youthful, illicit pleasures of the 1970’s all conspired to nudge Mickey into the far reaches of my consciousness.  For me, then, she became but another Bronx tale. 

 

Even though the last time I saw Mickey she was fully a woman, I will always remember her as a troubled child of a turbulent time and place. I often wonder what became of her. It is my suspicion that she died long ago, a slow pain-filled death, unavoidable to so many, and narrowly escaped by far too few ghetto children.  I think of how close we were, similar in so many important ways, and I realize that Providence and good fortune surely have smiled upon me.  

 

The kind endurance of my years is not without the bittersweet moments when I pause and contemplate Mickey’s memory.  I know now that we were only children when we met, feeling what was both a child’s platonic empathy for each other and an adult romantic love -- for us, forever unrealized.

 

We had walked together away from our childhood, into the uncertain realities of being grown. The winds of change were swirling with menace. But we had faced this, encouraged by each other’s words of hope. 

 

We were friends.

 

 

© 2010 manchilld99


My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

Wow, that pulled me in, maybe you should have slowed the changing part down and showed me a little more, but the rest is well written. I love the last sentance although I think the italics should go on the were, not friends. Also the sentance 'there went one of my very best friends, ever' was very powerful where you placed it.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

They say friends 'come and go' but memories never fade and last forever!

This is a truly a wonderful write, a kind of Eulogy in story form rather than speech in memory of your friend MICKEY.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Beautifully written!

Posted 9 Years Ago


A very touching story about childhood friend. How one becomes hooked into a downward life style. Tragic. your ending words linger... A wonderful write...

Posted 9 Years Ago


I kept reading and hoped you would write this as you did - so true and with absolute respect to the life you both led together and apart. I wasnt interrupted at all by any loss of thread or difficult words. You provided me with a taste of your life and so well written. Thanks for sharing this. Mickey has lived on thanks to you. Cheers

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow, that pulled me in, maybe you should have slowed the changing part down and showed me a little more, but the rest is well written. I love the last sentance although I think the italics should go on the were, not friends. Also the sentance 'there went one of my very best friends, ever' was very powerful where you placed it.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

456 Views
5 Reviews
Rating
Added on June 7, 2010
Last Updated on June 7, 2010
Tags: 60's, drugs, change, women, ghetto

Author

manchilld99
manchilld99

rochester, NY



About
I write poems and stories, and have broadcast a blues show on the radio since 1982. I am from Harlem, currently live in Rochester, NY, but have been around. more..

Writing
o' death o' death

A Poem by manchilld99



Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..


Boyhood Boyhood

A Poem by Tate Morgan