30 Minute Post: It Was a Cold and Stormy Night

It’s cold and rainy tonight here in Gomorrah.  (Not like New England cold, but cool for my sandbar) It brought to mind another cold, rainy night…

It was December 1984.  I was a Freshman at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.  Greenville was known as “the buckle of the Bible Belt,” and not the most exciting place to attend college.  My buddy-ro, Steve, and I decided to go to Lenox Mall in Atlanta, just to do a little Christmas Shopping.  So, we piled into his 300-ZX Turbo, fired up the radar detector, and hauled ass down I-85. 

While in Atlanta, I called my dear friend, Cassie.  She and I had graduated from high school just a few months before, and her family promptly moved to Georgia.  Steve and I did a little shopping, then stopped by and picked up Cass.  In an amazing bit of foreshadowing, we went to a Bennigan’s. 

THEY DIDN’T CARD US!

Here we were, 18 year olds, being served alcohol in a bar.  We were stoked.  We drank a goodly number of Tanqueray and tonics, beers, and Lord only knows what else.  We drank and laughed and smoked, just being naughty teens.  It was an amazingly fun night.

As time passed, and our bartab increased, it became abundantly clear that Steve and I would not be wise to drive back to Greenville that night.  Steve called a friend of his, and arranged a place to sleep.  Cass invited me to stay at her house. 

It was cold and rainy, though, like Georgia is through so much of the winter.  Cass’s parents and brother were all asleep.  She and I sat up talking for hours.  We talked about missing certain things about highschool, about sex and drinking and drugs, about where we hoped our futures would lead. 

When I went to bed, in my lovely downstairs guestroom, I opened a window, treasuring the peaceful sound of rain and the damp cold, such a novelty to a Florida Cracker like me.  On a bookshelf, I saw Cassie’s high school yearbook.  She’d edited the yearbook; I think I had some function on it as well.  Oddly, for as close as she and I had always been, I had never signed her yearbook.  I did that night. 

I can’t remember what I wrote, but I’m sure it was wholly heartfelt, and probably very lame.  I set the yearbook on the nightstand, turned off the light, and nestled in beneath a bunch of blankets.  It was a wonderful, snug, safe feeling, full of–

HOLY CRAP, her cat, Pandora, totally jumped on my chest unannounced, scaring me half to death. 

I can’t remember ever sleeping so well.  Pandora was still there when I woke up.  Cassie’s mom put on a lovely Sunday brunch, and it eased the gurgling in my stomach.  Steve showed-up at 11.  He had a leftover bottle of Jack Daniel’s from his post-Bennigan’s revelry.  He drove us back to Greenville.  I had a sore throat, and sipped JD from the bottle, chasing it with Diet 7-Up.  Steve asked about Cassie and me, if we were an item.  I told him the truth, that she and I loved each other to pieces, but not like that.  We were bonded from six shared years of gifted school, tempered by the world’s longest bus ride. 

I remember we got back to Furman in the early afternoon.   I went to my room, crawled into my bed, and slept till dinner, feeling sure I’d never forget that night. 

It was still raining.  And no, I’ve never forgotten.  (time!)

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3 Responses to “30 Minute Post: It Was a Cold and Stormy Night”

  1. The cozy bed, the warm cat, the rain outside the window, talks and road trips with friends…..I am so there!

    • Wait! You aren’t really my friend Cassie, are you? ‘Cuz she runs a Georgia preschool, not a poo lab in the North Pole. 😉

      Seriously, I walked outside during a break tonight, and that night came rushing back from all those years ago. She and I still keep in touch. I wonder if she still has that yearbook.

      Have a good Monday.

      • I’m always happy to think that although I will lose (have lost) my short term memory I might at least be able to recall some of my early happy memories while I drool on myself in the old folks home!

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