Last night during the biweekly meeting of my writer's group we got on the subject of peeing in public (it made sense in the context - really it did). I remembered the first time I peed outside. I was a sophomore in college. A group of us decided to illegally camp at a nearby park known for it's amazing river bluffs. We got the necessary supplies (beer, pot, tent) and piled into a friend's Saab - I'm talking at least 7 of us in this car. We got to the park after dark, and had to weave our way up and through the craggy bluffs to the riverbed, where we set up camp. Halfway through the bluffs we heard a park ranger following and yelling at us, so we decided to run at full speed with the gear to escape. It worked. I'm not sure why he didn't follow us all the way, but somehow we lucked out.
I'd been camping only once before, with my date after our junior prom. Just the two of us. I guess my parents must have trusted him, or me, or both. That was before my major shenanigans, so I guess they had reason to trust me. And they should have trusted him/me - we didn't do anything at all except talk and sleep. He was a good boy. Anyway, there were bathrooms, so no need to pee outside.
There were no bathrooms at this park, however, since no camping was allowed. I remember the girls huddling up and wandering away from camp to pee. It's not so weird for girls to pee together, especially those that grew up with sisters. Had there been a guy with us, I probably wouldn't have done it. Too embarrassing.
That was a great night, up until the sleeping part. We all crammed into one tent, and it was chilly. I got stuck all the way at the edge of the tent, and basically had my head shoved into the side, and got to inhale plastic all night. Not fun. No egg crate mattresses, no sleeping bags.
It's a great memory, though, one of MANY from my college days. Then I remembered that two of the people there that night are both dead now. One, the owner of the Saab, was actually killed in that very Saab by a drunk driver just after college. The other, Shorty, took her own life last year.
Death is still so weird to me, when it's someone young. I can remember both of their faces clear as day. I remember their voices, their laughs, their eyes when they laughed. How can they be gone? Where are they? It's one of those mind fucks, like trying to imagine life after death - spending an eternity in a box in the ground. Very creepy and black-hole-ish.
It's especially hard when both were people I loved very much. I had a huge crush on the guy, and he was a good friend. He was probably one of the nicest, most carefree people I've ever met. And of course I loved Shorty. She was a huge part of my life, and most of my memories from either high school or college can't be separated from her. I hope maybe they've found each other somewhere. I know Shorty always had a crush on him too, even while dating his best friend. That would be perfect.