My high school in Maryland was an experimental school. I don't remember the descriptors of the experiment but there was more freedom than I'd had in Pennsylvania. I arrived for my first day of class with my culottes and sweater vest, my circle pin, my perfectly applied Bonnie Bell makeup and my hair in a flip created by an hour with steam rollers on my head. In Pennsylvania I'd been a hippie because I wore beads and said groovy. In Maryland there were real hippies, especially boys with long hair. I don't remember if Bill sat next to me on the bus or if I sat next to him. I don't remember if he was friendly first but I think he was. I do remember flirting and talking and being friends. I wasn't in love and neither was he but we were friends. He was cute. Long blonde hair. So cute. And we sat together on the school bus.
My appearance changed. Jeans and shirts.No makeup. No bra. Hair gone wild. I was going through so many changes so fast and not with anything like grace. I was just trying to keep up. We hung out in groups on the school yard. We skipped school and drank Boone's Farm and smoked skunk weed and Marlboros. We read Tolkien and Kesey and we dropped acid. I'm not sure how much of this I did with Bill. I remember the bus. I remember going to see Ike and Tina Turner. I remember having a kiss on a bridge in a wooded area and him touching my breast. We weren't in love. We just young. We were just starving. We were just being kind.
I never saw him after high school. I haven't really thought about him in years. I'm a member of a Facebook group for my high school graduating class. Today someone posted the obituary for Bill. The boy from the bus is gone.
From the obituary I learned that he was married and had two kids. I don't know anything else. And it's OK that I don't. We don't all stay connected. It's just life. I feel regard for his family as I would for anyone. I feel a little sad. Mostly I am flooded with memories. Little tiny memories. So long ago. But I can remember his smile. So cute.
My class is having a reunion barbecue this weekend. I can't go but it makes me happy that they're going to be together. And these memories of the boy from the bus make me feel closer to them all.