Albuquerque, NM – 1995
On a regular basis, I would spend the night at my friend Jeremy’s house. His parents were more relaxed than mine, and our reckless ways weren’t so apparent. His parents were separated. His mom was remarried and lived in a house with his step dad. His dad lived in an apartment close to my parent’s house. His dad would buy cigarettes for him and let him smoke in the house. His mom was not that lenient, but she understood that boys will be boys. We could swear freely and talk about girls.
Jeremy was my best partner for sneaking out of the house. We would sneak out an hour after our parents went to bed and stay out until the sun rose. We did this as many as three or four times a week. Typically we would sneak out to smoke pot, or buy pot, but we were also both fairly good with girls. We spent a lot of time going to girls’ houses in the middle of the night.
We knew a two girls from school named Tiffany and Lorna. Lorna lived within walking distance. Lorna’s mom did not discipline or instruct her. She could sneak in and out of her house by simply walking out front door. Tiffany would spend the night at Lorna’s and Jeremy and I would sneak over.
If Jeremy was not available I would go by myself. I remember going by myself on one occasion before Jeremy joined our party. When I got there, Lorna was striking out on the town with a group of three or four guys from school. Tiffany and I had the whole room to ourselves. We were happy to have the privacy.
After several hours Lorna returned completely smashed on liquor, being loud and raucous. She climbed in the window as I climbed out. She told Tiffany later that she had gone with the boys to an abandoned house where they split a bottle of vodka. Once she was sufficiently drunk, they each had sex with her. It didn’t sound like there was any force involved, but the whole situation reeked of questionable consent. We were probably no more than fourteen at the time.
On one particular weekend we were disappointed to discover that Lorna would be sleeping at Tiffany’s instead of the usual reverse. Tiffany lived across town; there was no way we could walk there. Our friend, Ryan, had a sister who was old enough to drive. We arranged to sneak out and meet her on the corner; we offered to get her high if she drove us to Tiffany’s.
Ryan’s sister was a notorious party girl who had already completed a rehab program by the age of eighteen. The plan was for her to drop us off at Tiffany’s, go to a party, and come back and get us after two or three hours.
And the plan worked well. We sneaked out of our respective houses and she met us on time. As promised, we passed the peace pipe as we drove to Tiffany’s. She dropped us off and told us she’d be back at four am.
Tiffany’s room was set off from the house, so it was quiet and private. We spent our time with these two girls on separate pallets made of blankets and pillows. Not having gone all the way yet, Tiffany and I made out for hours, shedding one article of clothing at a time until we were completely naked under the covers. She asked if I had protection and I confirmed that I did in my wallet. But my wallet had fallen out of my pants somewhere on the floor and could not be found. We looked around together for half and hour until we ran out of time and had to leave. In the process of leaving I found my wallet on the bed, a foot away from where I was laying. We were both disappointed.
Ryan’s sister picked us up on time. She was annihilated. To top off her inebriated state, she produced a crack pipe from her bag and had me hold the wheel while she puffed away. We bumped a few curbs on the way home but made it in one piece. For the most part we were the only car on the road. I was relieved to get out of the car and knew that the situation could have ended with a crash or an arrest. I headed home and finished the night in my bed.
Several days later, Lorna called Jeremy and I and wanted to meet us up at the park by Jeremy’s mom’s house. It was early in the evening, around eight pm. We were already cleared to stay the night at his mom’s house, so we asked her if we could go to the park for a while. She said it was fine as long as we were back by ten.
We arrived at the park to find Lorna with a new girlfriend. She introduced us with a smile and ran off to another corner of the park with Jeremy. This girl began making out with me immediately. She was cute, and her assertiveness took me by surprise – as a young boy I always expected to work to court a young lady. But this girl was looking for action and Lorna had obviously introduced us with this in mind.
This girl was extremely aggressive. Within minutes she was cramming her hands down my pants and sticking her bare breasts in my face. Trying to keep up, I stuck my hands down her pants. I had no idea what I was doing.
It was dark and we lay in the grass under the low branches of a thick pine tree. Before I knew it her pants were off. As I lay on top of her and she gripped me with her hand, I felt her push me into her. In a matter of minutes it was all over. So much for ceremony; to this day I don’t remember her name or what she looked like. Our friends called to us from a distance and we scrambled out from under the tree. It was time to go our separate ways.
We agreed that we would sneak over to Lorna’s tonight. As we walked home I recounted to Jeremy what had happened. He was more excited for me than I was. He laughed and hooped and hollered as we walked. I felt guilty on account of not having gone all the way with Tiffany, who I at least knew and liked. I felt that even though we weren’t a couple, I had disrespected her. But I also thought Lorna knew something I didn’t, which is why Tiffany was not present and the other girl was. Such was the drama of premature sexuality – or mature sexuality for that matter.
We went back to Jeremy’s only long enough to give his mom the impression that we were staying in. We were too eager to get back to the girls. Our irrational exuberance clouded our better judgment: we determined we could leave while his parents were awake by pretending to go to bed early. Perfect plan, we thought.
We told his mom we were tired and he kissed her goodnight. We walked to Jeremy’s room, closed the door, climbed out the window, and headed toward Lorna’s house. We lit cigarettes as we walked and speculated about what the rest of the night would hold.
We were about half a mile away from his house when Jeremy stopped with a puzzled face: “Do you hear that?” he asked, “That sounds like my mom’s car…” We turned toward the street and were hit with high beams, the blare of a car horn, and the screaming of an angry mother, “Get in the car right now!” We looked at each other and both said, “Oh shit.” We left the girls hanging than night, and I never saw Lorna’s friend again.
We got in the car and his mother raged. As soon as we had excused ourselves to the bedroom she had decided to offer us some ice cream. She came to our room to find us gone. Her husband suggested calling my parents, but she determined it had not been long enough for us to go far. She would do a quick sweep of the neighborhood. Sure enough she caught us. She yelled at us all the way back to the house. But she was a cool mom, and the anger didn’t last long.
Within an hour she was laughing it off. This was unprecedented in my experience. My parents would have killed me. We were given a choice: Jeremy could be grounded and she could call my parents – or – we could work as her indentured servants for a week. She had a laundry list of heavy chores she wanted done. Naturally we opted for the chores.
The next day our labor started. I told my parents that I had volunteered to help. They were happy to hear this – if they only knew the truth. Our first task was to dig out a giant dead tree from her yard. We used pick axes and shovels and put more than 16 hours of work into it. It was still better than telling my parents.
This was the only chore I was able to complete. Within the next few days I got suspended from school and my parents refused to let me leave the house. I only saw Jeremy again when we sneaked out together, but eventually we were caught by my parents as well. I never saw him again after that.
As an adult I was devastated to discover that Jeremy had never abandoned the thug life and had developed a severe substance abuse problem. He successfully completed a drug and alcohol treatment program, but relapsed shortly after. Within several years he was committing robberies to support his lifestyle. He went to prison for several years and once released, recidivated into a life of chemical dependency and crime.
Tragically, he made the news in Albuquerque when he was shot and killed by the police during an armed standoff. While getting gas at a gas station, he was recognized by an officer who chased him into an alley. Jeremy produced a gun from his waistband and allegedly fired at the officers. The officers returned fire and killed him on the scene. He was thirty three years old.
I would say that Jeremy was one of my four best friends during that time of my life. I cannot help but think how we started in the same place and spent so much time together. We connected; we shared an outlook on the world. We used to sneak out just to sit together and smoke cigarettes. We would smoke all night and sing songs by Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana. We felt it inside.
I wish I could have saved him.