I don’t know why this randomly popped into my head today, but it did, and the memory made me smile.
When I was a teenager I was part of a trio. Three best friends, Anna, Michelle and I.
Oh we thought we’d be best friends FOREVER, so much so that we bought these gold bracelets and had our initials, TAM engraved in them…
We promised that if one of us died before the others that we’d come back as a ghost and somehow let the others know that there IS an afterlife by somehow communicating the word “TAM”.
You see, I was obsessed with the afterlife at that stage, constantly asking “Why do we exist?” (I’ve never stopped asking.)
We used to spend the long summer holidays together every year. Mostly lazing around frying ourselves on the beach, but sometimes we’d do other more exciting things.
Like the time that Michelle’s grandmother said we could come up to the central coast and stay BY OURSELVES in her holiday house which was just down the street from hers. (Coincidentally it’s near where I now live.)
I think we were fifteen at the time?
Oh what a novelty! Playing house together.
It was a thrill going to the supermarket by ourselves and stocking up on groceries.
We felt so grown up. Responsible. Cooking and cleaning like adults do…having the house ALL to ourselves!
We spent the days hanging out on the beaches and some nights we’d go ‘visit” with Michelle’s grandparents.
Lovely old couple.
Nin is what Michelle called her grandmother.
Nin was tiny, and slender, very graceful with long white hair that she piled on top of her head in an elegant bun.
I remember thinking then, “I am never cutting my hair….I want to be an old woman with long white hair, like Nin.”
Nin was a very astute woman. Cluey, on the ball.
We decided she was a bit psychic, because she’d always catch us out at……things…
Like the time we snuck out in the middle of the night and crawled down the hill through the bush to go skinny dipping in the lake.
I’m pretty sure it was my idea.
Anna was up for it, but Michelle, who was the more reserved of us all was not so keen, but eventually, as Anna and I giggled swimming deliciously free and naked in the dark water Michelle got up the courage to take off her bikini.
One of those kind of string bikini’s with lots of things to tie up.
We tried to stifle our hysterics when a fishing boat putt putted by, pretty close. They had a torch.
“Oh God…..don’t shine your torch this way!” we whispered in fits of laughter to each other.
Imagine…What a catch of the night.
Three naked female teenagers!
And then it happened…..
Nin’s voice suddenly came from up on the hill through the bushes.
“Michelle, what are you girls doing down there!!”
I’ll never forget the sight of my friend, paralyzed with fear….crawling up onto the shore to retrieve her bikini. Her lily white butt shining fluorescently in the moonlight, and then the mad panic as she fumbled blindly in the dark with all those godforsaken strings trying to get her swimmer top back on!
Later we were duly scolded, but perhaps not as much as if Nin had realised that we were swimming NAKED. (I bet she knew. Nin always knew.)
The funniest thing that happened that summer holiday was the day we met “The boy with the butterflies.”
We’d gone to the beach, as usual and these three young boys, the same age as us started eyeing us off on the sand.
You could tell they wanted to come over and talk to us but were nervous about making the actual approach.
God, all the stuff you go through at that age….the shy looks sidewards, the excitement, trepidation of actually speaking to someone of the opposite sex.
Anyway, so eventually they came over and started talking to us. We swam a bit with them, made idle chit chat….
They asked where we lived, and stupidly we told them. Told them we were staying in a house by ourselves!
That afternoon after we’d caught the bus back to the house we were standing in the kitchen when we looked outside and who should be coming in the front gate, but these three boys from the beach!
They had taken note of where we said we were staying and found their way there to the house.
And then…..we let them IN!
Yeah, brain damage. That’s what teenage hormones do.
It was all pretty innocent though, just hanging out…talking, laughing….being cool.
I can’t remember whether we smoked some pot or not. I know that was about the time when I began experimenting. I smoked cigarettes already, I remember that because one afternoon we went fishing (the time I cast the line and hooked Anna’s nipple with my fish hook!) and convinced Michelle to try a cigarette.
It made her head spin so bad that she couldn’t even stand up.
Anyway, so there were these three boys that were virtual strangers, inside our ‘house” and Michelle was feeling VERY nervous about it all.
She had good reason to be too because just then, like clockwork (How did she always KNOW!) there comes Nin marching down the road.
“Quick…..get out…..Leave! You have to GO…. NOW!” we told the boys.
“Grandmother coming…..Go go go!!!”
They scattered like marbles, all three of them.
The unfortunate thing was that the front door had a deadbolt on it, so after some frantic jiggling of the door knob they abandoned that door and one flew out a side door, and the other somewhere else….it might have a beena window, who knows. There was such a mad panic!
One however, ran out into the back yard and began circling around looking for a way out, but there was a huge tall fence surrounding the yard that he had no hope of scaling and the gate was locked.
In comes Nin, not looking happy!
“What’s going on here!” she said.
I honestly don’t remember how we tried to explain it.
“They followed us home!”
Something lame like that.
Nin caught sight of a movement in the back yard and went out to investigate.
The trapped boy was still stuck out there, hiding, ineffectively, behind a tree.
Nin circled round the tree and confronted the teenager.
“And WHAT are YOU doing there!”
The boy was obviously terrified of this menacing granny with the big bun on her head. He was literally cowering even though he was probably taller than her.
And this is what gets me…..the thing I remembered today.
His answer was simply priceless.
Of all the things he could have said, instead he said this…
“I was just…..looking for butterflies.”
I actually burst into laughter typing that.
Of all the dumb things to say.
At the time us girls had to hold back the laughter but Nin didn’t even crack a smile(I bet she did later though!) simply shooed him out the gate, where he fled in terror!
I wonder if that boy….now being in his forties too, probably married with teenage kids of his own, remembers that day.
Us flirty, mischievous girls, the mad granny with the bun and…..the butterflies.