For three years, Katey and I were inseparable. She got me into alternative music, Les Miserables, and V.C. Andrews. I taught her lyrical dance.

At Katey’s house, we would put on sweatpants and “veg” in front of the big TV in her basement home theater, all snuggled up on the couch. We had pig out parties, went on “nature walks”, and co-wrote stories. We’d go to the general store and buy Jolt cola to see how wired we could get.

Katey could sing, and introduced me to many musicals. We would go to Denny’s with our drama friends late at night and talk to complete strangers; other nonconformists (weirdos) like ourselves. We met several of our love interests this way.

We had what we called a “quote board,” which, back before the digital age, was literally a large poster board with our favorite comments and inside jokes (“Use a knife. Don’t use mine.”). We would fill up one of these poster boards and start a new one.

In algebra, we referred to ourselves as an “ordered pair.” In chemistry we invented our own element: “Lekium.” We were very goofy. And we still got straight A’s.

We vacationed together. Every summer for a week in July we went to the Nordic Inn in Lincoln with my dad and Paul. We’d swim, shop, hike, play ping pong in the game room, see movies at the second run theater in town, and walk to the Irving gas station on Main Street every night for bad cappuccino. One late night we were out on the deck being super silly. It started to rain and I walked right through a screen door trying to get back into the loft.

We probably weren’t like typical high school teenagers. I don’t think our classmates quite knew what to make of us. We didn’t drink, smoke, go to parties or very many sporting events. But we had so much fun.

Black Hole Sun, 1994

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