Page 53 - WTP Vol. XI #5
P. 53

die before we all did. Most certainly not Peter, the
 forever beach boy.
In 1971, my four much older siblings named me Wendy after Wendy Darling from Peter Pan. In 1983, from the age of 12 to 14, I was certain that Peter was the Peter Pan to my Wendy Darling. As this colossal crush eased its way out of my nervous system over the remainder of the decade, Peter and I became great pals.
"It was during a tortured transition to college that
I tapped into a newfound portal of creativity. And things poured out. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. It was art, it was a balm, it was medicine. I ached, I distilled, I painted the pain in words, and made sense of things."
We spent hours on my front porch talking. “Wen, we need to chat,” Pete would say if too many days had gone by without. Laughing and arguing about what this would be “the summer of” (“Wen, last summer was the summer of touch football. This is going to be the summer of water-skiing”), what the “song of the summer” would be (“Wen, I’m telling you, this is go- ing to be this summer’s song” as he pressed play on my boombox, cueing Steve Winwood’s “Back in the High Life” and singing along, pausing to say “this is so us, Wen”) and especially discussing all the romantic interludes among our crew (“Wen, do you think you and Billy will get back together this summer? If you want my advice, don’t do it. Time to move on. Plus, I saw him making out with Peggy the other night on the beach so....”).
I had suspected that in the “real world”—the during the school year world—friendships weren’t as easy for Peter as they were for him on Tide Pond Road. In a large crowd, with other people, Peter was shy, qui- et. Not with us, our beach eroded paradise of misfits and oddballs. With us, he was himself, perhaps big- ger than himself. Quiet Peter didn’t stop talking when talking to me. Shy Peter was our captain, and he was the best at all the things we did to fill our days, from 10-speed bike racing to Wiffle ball. We were the center of our own little dead-end cul-de-sac universe where Barnegat Bay stretched out to the horizon. Here, with a sprinkle of pixie dust, Peter soared.
1/31/20 3:16 pm Hey Pete.
I want you to know that I remem- ber every single thing about
Desperate to communicate a final message to my friend, I wrote Peter a goodbye text.
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