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Kids of Cliche

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We all knew that the world wouldn't change if we left this place. After all, hundreds upon thousands
of kids had all left. They all had survived. I mean, really, we weren't the kids of clich'. We
hadn't lost our lives to alcohol or drugs. We weren't from broken homes, and we didn't have any
great aspirations for the future. None of our lives resembled the soap operas that the girls
obsessed over. We were all utterly and completely boringly, plain. None of us persevered for that
coveted spot in medical school, or a great contract with a prestigious modeling company. Athletic we
might have been, but no colleges fought over our skills, and demanded our attendance and attention
within their ivy and moss filled halls. We were just common, average, middle of the road, stop for
a moment, and your road kill teenagers. On the verge of adulthood, we sat on the great cliff of
indecision, debating things that would not matter in the new morning. We were just naive enough to
believe in heroes but wise enough, and apathetic to the view of putting people on pedestals. We
dragged our heels towards the finish line of childhood, not really ready to accept our new
distinction in life. Who were we to be called adults? Did all adults fear the same things that we
did? Did they run from the fact that they had no one to protect them now? Did they cry in bathrooms
when they realized that all their innocence had left, with a silly, long forgotten, but still
remembered night at the beach? Who were we, young, foolish and insecure to be in the same
distinction as great authors, prestigious musicians and god forbid, our own parents? We had yet to
comprehend just how hard it would be, to leave; to leave this place of our birth: to disappear from
a town that had caused us heck, and shielded us from pain: a place where we had learned how to walk,
how to read, and how to cry. A community of people, of aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers,
friends, enemies, and neighbors who had nurtured us, raised us, giving full meaning to that age old
experience; it takes a town to raise a child.

We left on a Tuesday. The air was hot and humid, and we sweat, but we sweat gladly, knowing it
wouldn't be long before we yearned for the hot Florida son. We were headed for California, for
Vermont, Salem, Massachusetts and Iraq. The thumping, overzealous music blaring from the front
speakers diminished any idea that I or Carly had about sleeping. Stuck in the middle, between the
drivers and the backseat, we had no control over the rap music coming forth from the front of the
suburban. Jack was driving, laughing as we complained. Garret, ignoring us all, had his mp3 player
plugged in, hiding in the back row. His blonde hair was tossed hazardously over his eyes, and
Carly's eyes glistened in mischief as she looked for scissors. It was a commonly known fact that
Carly was malicious towards Garr's hair. He never should have slept when Carly had easy access to
a pair of scissors. In the front passenger seat, holding control over all, including music and air
conditioning sat Ally. Ally was quiet. She always had been. She had been Garret's best friend
since they had been young and when we all met Garret; Ally came along for the ride. Over the years
we gotten to know them well, but Ally, Ally was always quiet. Even Garret said she was quiet. But we
all knew that sometimes, when she thought absolutely no one was listening, Ally would sing. And it
was beautiful. The rest of us couldn't hold a tune to save the entire population of polar bears.
But Ally had a beautiful, soft and almost childlike gentle voice. People in our old town used to
call her an angel. Even Ally, sweet Ally, would laugh at that. We were headed towards our futures,
yet, we ran from them at the same time. We had four weeks, 5 days, 12 hours and 13 minutes before we
departed from each other's sight for what seemed like forever. Jack, our constant vigilante was
headed to Notre Dame to study something that he had yet to decide. We all figured he'd go into
politics, or drop out and head for Mexico. In Mexico, I imagine, he'd party the nights away,
building bungalows until his hair was grey and his eyes were constantly laughing. Even Jack, with
all of his macho and chivalry was just as scared as the rest of us. Scared for a future we could not
control, for it was nothing like high school with our schedules, lunch times and Friday night
lights. Where we were headed the world would never indulge or nurture us. Jack was the tallest of
us all, towering over Ally, Carly and I. Garret, our blonde rocker in the back, was an inch shorter,
but an ego larger. He and Jack constantly bickered sounding more like an old married couple then the
true friends that they were. They fought over everything; from the number of hours that they worked
at the same restaurant to who has possessed the greater car; anything (and, I do mean anything) and
everything was an option to be brought up and fought over. A couple of time it almost came to fists.
But Carly with her fiery temper to match her fiery hair would quickly smolder most of the tension
between the two. Carly always said it was just because they were so alike, both too passionate with
a hard head on their muscular shoulders. Carly, my dearest and amusiest (that, my dear reader would
be a combination of amusing with the annex 'est., in case you were concerned) friend was an enigma
in herself. At less than five and a half foot, she compensated for her shortness with a personality
that was in the most grandeur way, 'Larger than 'effing life.' Her heart was red with love for
life, and the spontaneous of it all and her hair was red with drama filled moments of her
adolescence. Her small stature carried within it a defiant personality that took crap from no one.
It was always an amusing moment to catch. The two tall, towering men with thunderstorms raging
across their face would quickly be simmered down by a five foot three red head, curly haired, fire
ball. Both of the boys deeply cared for all of us, but that didn't stop all of us from getting
into scathing arguments. We all squabbled constantly, bickering over the least important things that
appeared in life. We tended to take out our anger, rage and frustration on one another. There were
always fights over tests cheated on at school, and of things silly enough that that really didn't
matter, but they just seemed to matter too much. Yet, we always found some way to make up. Be it
with a casual, 'I'm sorry?' or a more impacted apology, things were always quickly resolved.
Well, at least they usually did. There were always moments where forgiveness couldn't be found;
where the right level of sincerity in an apology couldn't be reached; where the tension in the
room was so deep, so unbearable that no one spoke, for fear of suffocation. It was a scary,
depressing thing to conjure up in our circle, the idea of someone not communicating to another, but
alas it happened, and with even greater alas, it happened at the moment where it should have
happened the least. At the moment of our departure from our childhood, Ally had yet to speak to
Garret, the boy who hadn't gotten her through it. We didn't know why. All that had come to the
attention of Jack and I was the fact that Ally had departed from her almost permanently cemented
statuesque place at Garret's side. At graduation, something we had dreamed of since our first days
in detention, Garret never once gave Ally a 'squeeze-o-myster.' A 'squeeze-o-myster'! Not
given to Ally of all people?! The confusion was so perplexing that it gave way to even more
concerning thought. It was around then that we realized something was wrong. Garret's very
uncomfortable but necessary 'squeeze-o-mytser's' were these bone cracking bear hugs that could
probably have earned Garret some serious money in the Pro wrestling business. We-as in the delicate
girls- feared them more than life itself. But they were genuine, hard core emotion and as we
received them, we always tried not to groan in pain. I doubt Garret ever realized how much we
despised his ability to crack our backs better than board certified chiropractors. He hadn't given
one to Ally. That was a red flag painted in neon yellow. Ally was the reason the
'squeeze-o-myster' existed. She was there at its conception. For Ally, Garrets best friend since
they didn't know how to speak to not receive one at graduation of all things shocked and worried
us all. Carly was ready to butt heads to find the reason behind it all, and I could tell that jack
would just berate Garret until he confessed to the problem. I realized-thankfully, one of us has a
brain- that all that would do would cause more arguments, more tension and less magic on a day that
was supposed to be magical. And darn it, I wanted it to be magical. So we had a powwow.
Powwow's one must understand were essential to our friendship. The night Carly slammed her
mother's Mercedes into three mailboxes and a dog'.powwow of the century. And the night that I
broke up with my boyfriend of the two last years'a powwow that incorporated the burning of several
photos of him as well as Garret finding beer and Jack finding ice cream was formed. Powwows were the
foundation of the tightness of our group. It was the ability to be able to call Garret or I, Jack or
Ally in tears from a police station three states over that made us-in our very humble opinions-one
of a kind. And, yes. That did indeed happen once. One of the five did in fact receive a phone call
at some ungodly hour asking if they could come pick up an inebriated friend three states over. The
name will go down in mystery. All the lips'and blog journals have been sealed. Unless, of course,
bridesmaid or best man speeches must be written. Then, it's a free for all. We were just that kind
of kids. We adored practical jokes, and brining up hopefully long forgotten embarrassments. Garret
was fond of the night Ally ran around with a lampshade claiming that all the toiletries were out to
get her. Every time, without fail that the blonde retold that story, tears came to his eyes. Jack,
on the other hand was way too attached to the tale of Carly and I getting lost on the way to the
mall. The mall that we had gone to at least seven hundred previous times was now completely and
utterly not where we expected it to be. We ended up calling Jack from a sketchy gas station in who
knows where for help. Apparently we had taken two lefts where the one usually kept going straight. I
thought it was a shortcut. We weren't perfect kids. heck, we were far from it. Far too often
chances arose for more than one of us to dance with lamp shades. We had they typical high school
experience filled with woes, English class and parties. We liked to party. Jack was the reigning
beer pong king and I am proud to say that I could drink anyone under 90 pounds under the table.
Garret and Carly were the only ones who strayed into the drug scene but after a few weeks they grew
bored with it. Apparently the stoners just got high and chilled. Conversations about internet
revolutions and growth hormones in food were apparently what they talked about while 'high as a
kite.' That just wasn't Garret's scene. And it was more defiantly not Carly's. If Carly was
not entertained to the highest extent possible, there would be people sent to heck. That's how I
met her actually. No, not in heck, but at a party freshman year; Carly had been screaming at
someone. To this day she can't remember what she was upset about, but we both remember the party
sucked . In the nicest way possible we skirted out of there and walked towards the beach. We
had the cool idea-at least at the time-to jump from one of the bridges into the water. We giggled
helplessly as we meandered down the street, our destination slowly coming into-and out of-focus. The
bridge would become well known to us over the next four years, but that night it was our canvas of
expression. No one before us, we believed, had ever been so wise enough to jump from the small
bridge and let the rippling winds swarm around you before you hit the cool and blue water. And
before you cringe in pain at the thought, don't worry. We got stopped. Thankfully, it hadn't
been by the police, although apparently bridge jumping is a crime. Who figured? No, instead we were
saved by Jack. I'm not sure why Jack had been at the beach that night, and neither Carly nor I
ever asked. But as we both giggled and twirled near the edge of the bridge, completely oblivious to
the danger that soon would befall us, Jack appeared. In his beaten up old truck. It was the
beginning of a beautiful friendship. Jack saved us that night, and he would continue to save us
repeatedly from numerous drunken adventures. Jack was always saving us. I guess that's why he was
the one driving today. Lord knows we would never give the keys to Carly. She single handily had
taken out more mail boxes in the tri-city area than anyone else could ever remember. That's also
probably why Ally always gets shot gun. The girl is the only one of us who knows how to read one of
those things called maps. Apparently, they give you instructions. Maps usually get me more lost.
Hence, the mall incident'we thought it was a shortcut. Ally is just calm enough to deal with
Jack's screams of, 'That's not a road!' and, 'Right!? I though you said left!' Jack
isn't too keen on accepting directions. Or, he tries to change them. That's us in a nutsheck.
You might be wondering why the heck we're all in a car with four weeks, 5 days, 12 hours and some
odd minutes left in our mediocre childhoods. The answer was as simple and complex as the meaning of
life. We were escaping the great countdown, where red x's on calendars shouted to the world and to
our hometown just how close we were to never coming back. We were driving away from bitter and
melancholy memories. Thing that just hit a little too deep and things that we'd rather forget were
left behind in the smoke from the exhaust pipe. The car was letting us forge just a few more lasting
memories before we departed from each other's sights and smells. The back seat gave us a way to
vent, and to laugh one more time with the kids who had become family. The car's radio forced Ally
to sing, and for Carly and I to attempt to sing along. We were trying to stay eternally young, ever
immortal, in a suburban with power steering and satellite radio. Our whole lives were ahead of us,
like blazing white headlights. The future was like that white light at the end of the tunnel that
dying people swear by; you want to go near it so badly, but you fear it at the same time. We were
stuck at that crossroad. The future was still too scary and freighting but our childhood was all but
over; the only place we could really go was out west. Out west: a place where our dreams escaped
too. It was a place that we fantasized about in the hot humidity of Florida's sun while mosquitoes
impersonated vampires amidst our arms and exposed legs. Out west where the snow was on one part of a
mountain and a beach on the other side. The west enticed out imaginations, places filled with
starlets and natural wonders. I mean, heck, the only stars we had around here was a has-been
wrestlers and a seal at an aquarium. And the natural wonders of our home town were zilch and none,
if you ignored the turtle egg layings-which one usually did. Nope, there was nothing fantastic about
our hometown; the west was where it was all at. 2869.43 miles away lay our true destiny.



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