Steve was an entirely different kind of friend. Growing up together from around age 7 we really had a quiet bond between each other. Shortly after first meeting him I fell into a hopeless crush with him. I was a little girl growing up with nothing but boys and in that situation, you usually have to become one of the boys, or be alone. It was easy for me to be one of the boys. I was as rough and crude as they were, likely sometimes a bit more. But then there came Steve into our little clique. There was already Chris, a good guy but a bit more on the fake or egotistical side for our taste. Then there was Jay, the outcast one or village idiot in a way. Kevin came around later when I was 11 or so but at that time it was just Chris, Steve, Jay and I. Without having ever said so Steve and I both knew that when it came down to things, if stuff went wrong, if the friendships fell apart that we were the different ones and would stick together because of that if nothing else. Him with his native indian high cheekbones and dark skin was so cute to me when I was 8 years old. It was also an agreement that those nights that we hung out too long, and it got dark and scary outside, the other would have to walk whoever wasnt at home, half way home. I remember very clearly it was always Steve and I at the end of the night. In one place or the other but we were still there when others had long gone. That never changed.
One day when I was 9, so I guess he was 10 or even 11 by then I cant remember specifically. We decided we were going to find out what this kissing thing our older friends were all ranting about. So calmly on his grandma's couch we discussed it and decided we were going to go for it. The second we did his grandma and aunt both came into the living room of his house and we were busted. They just laughed it off at our excuse for attempting it but I doubt either of us ever forgot that moment for long. He was the first boy I ever kissed. I became somewhat infatuated with him for a time after that, but even after that minor fantasy subsided I knew he would be my friend forever.
Around age 15 or so when I got pregnant with Michael, he had finally found a girl he liked. I say finally because there were always girls after Steve. But he never gave any of them a chance, until Ann. I went my way, moved into Michaels fathers house, he went his. He moved in with Ann and her parents. I didnt see him for 2 years at all. I knew he was out there, heard about how him and Ann were very in love, thinking about getting married etc. But I never seen him. I did always stay in touch with his grandma and aunt who had a soft spot for me as Steves first little girlfriend, even though we never were. It was honestly a horrible time in my life, those 2 years. Alone, pregnant... then with a child, and being abused by the worst kind of abuser. A sober one. No friends, no Steve's or Jays or even a Chris to talk to about things. I did find a good friend in a family member of my sons fathers. But nothing of home, nothing of my old life came with me. After 2 years of pretty solid torture I moved back in with my parents for about 6 months. I was waiting for an apartment in a housing project to come through. One night I was out again, of course, hanging with the same old boys, Jay, Kevin... others, and we ran into Steve. I was actually driving and I gave him a ride home after everyone had went home... Again, it was him and I alone at the end of the night.
"Its been good seeing you again Joy" He told me as he sat there, not getting out, not really planning on it anytime soon.
"Its been good seeing you too Steve" And we talked, for hours, until the sun started coming up.
About nothing, about where life had taken us the past 2 years, about where we wanted to be.