Travis. Sam. Joe. The best friends y'ever did see. Which was odd considering how different they really were. Joe was a sports fanatic. I'd never seen anyone wear so much Michael Jordan attire at once. Sam was the sullen, sombre, oh-so-mysterious one. Travis could often be found volunteering at Club Ephesus, a kids afterschool program at our church.

There was a youth group that about a core of about fifteen of us maintained at the First Presbyterian Church on Olive Ave. in Burbank, California. Some nights there were as many as forty people and sometimes as little as ten, but there was a strong central group of us that had pretty much grown up together. I actually came into the picture later than most, around the beginning of the sixth grade when Jenny Wapner invited me to a Wednesday night of games, praise songs and a short talk from our fearless youth leader, Matt Hoyt. That was the day I first met Samuel Nathan Bennet Henry. Who could have known then how things would unfold over the next nine years.

Here we are again
and we're looking at each other as if each other were to blame.
You think you're so smart, but I've seen you naked
and I'll probably see you naked again.
MillI Vanilli told you to Blame it On The Rain
but if you blame it on the rain tell me
what can be gained so, if all else fails you can blame it on me.

I guess I always had a crush on Sam, but like the typical sixth grade girl I assumed that if a boy pulled my hair and wouldn't make eye contact with me it must mean that he hated me. I gave up on pursuing anything there relatively quickly. Until the summer between eighth and ninth grade. 1991. Sometime that summer there was a party. The things that happen when you throw together a gaggle of early adolescents, music, snacks and a couple of parents shut up in the back of the house as "supervision" are a stange and mysterious thing. Needless to say, hormones were raging and the tension between the girls and the boys was of monumental proportions that night. I would say it was that summer that the incestuousness of our circle of friends really began. Every few months for the next 4+ years it was as if someone stood up and yelled "Switch!" and we all shifted partners. We may as well have just stood in the same room and had an orgy then and there and gotten it over with.

Then you smile again
but you're looking at me as if there's something I'm supposed to say.
Forgive me Father,
but I'm falling in love and that's all I have for confession today.
Maybe if you'd ask me on any other given day
I wouldn't have time for you or anything that you say
but it's alright now, you can blame it on me.

I was always a bit dramatic. Still am, I know. I was going through a phase at that point where I would go off by myself and wait and see how long it took for someone to come ferret me out and see what was wrong. It was usually one of the girls who would follow me, this time it was Sam. Of course he never admitted this, he claimed he was looking for Andy, who had the Barenaked Ladies tape and they all wanted to listen to it. Too bad for him I could hear the music playing from the house and it was already BNL. But I wasn't gonna bust his balls about it since I was elated to have him there at all. Long story short, there was a good long while of painful and awkward adolescent flirting. My parents arrived to pick me up right around that time and that was that. Things went back to the way they had been and all was uneventful between him and myself for the next few months. Till Christmas.

Yes dear I love you,
but sometimes I think that love's not enough for you.
So you want to play mind games,
well that's fine, go ahead, la la la I can't hear you.
Here you are
and you're a hundred thousand miles away;
They say that absence makes the heart grow fungus.
I wax poetic as you're waxing your legs,
you say you think there's a traitor among us.

To Be Continued...

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