I started working at CVS in Marblehead, a neighboring town, when I was 17. For some reason it took me six months to learn the cash register. The shift supervisor didn’t like me at first because I made a lot of mistakes, and his dislike was obvious. When I look back on it, it’s a miracle I didn’t quit or get fired from that job. But when I finally got it down, our working relationship improved.
I started hanging out with Chloe about the time I was seeing Ilya, the pharmacy technician at the back of the store. Chloe and I bonded over Counting Crows Muzak and bawdy humor, and we harmonized in the car to Alice In Chains.
The relationship with Ilya didn’t last. My friendship with Chloe did. She introduced me to my other friends from Marblehead: Catherine, James, Birgit and Heather. We all worked together, then went out for apps at Friday’s or Sylvan Street Grille and gossiped about work.
This was another group of friends with whom I never had to get wasted to have fun. Once on the way home from Canobie Lake Park, we ate at Burger King and Catherine and I discovered we were both short enough to go on their play structure. Another time we watched our all time favorite movies at Catherine’s house. And Chloe and I would often just drive around, talking and singing and doing drive-bys at our love interests’ houses. Whatever we did, we always had a blast.
I’ve lost touch with everyone in that crew except Chloe. She and I have remained close over the years although we’re both busy with our families and live very far apart. We can go for a year or more, though, without talking, and then pick up right where we left off. Chloe and her husband and three boys come back to this area every couple of years and visit, and it’s almost like she never left. But sometimes I still get nostalgic for those late night drives.