I don’t care what side of the break up- whether break-er or break-ee- nobody leaves happy.
The Boy and I made plans. Our plans fell through.
My bags packed, my house sold, and I am home with my tail between my legs. Little did I know at that lonely moment I was not alone.
Tractor was home. **
Prom Queen was home. **
Chicken was home. **
Copper was home. **
It was March and spring was around the corner. As in high school, Brother would let me pal around with him and his friends. My insurance practice was hardly off the ground and I was in the school of [very] hard knocks. It was the two of us, both newly single and both on the prowl. We were buddies in that way only siblings can be.
It was on one of these prowls that I reconnected with Prom Queen, a friend from 10 years prior. Queenie, for short, just moved home from Michigan. Prior to this, she did not qualify for the 2004 Summer Olympics USA rowing team. The other coxswain (pronounced Cox-N) and Queenie went head to head in the closest time ever noted. Queenie was 1/16 of a second slower than the future Olympic medal winner. She was on a date, so we exchanged numbers on our very modern flip phones and went about our evening.
The next day while picking out paint chips for my new condo, Queenie actually called Wife. We made a dinner date. Over pizza and diet coke, a plan was hatched.
Being from Augusta, there is a natural want to inbreed. A transient city we are not. Friendships are formed on the first day of pre-k through parents who were best friends since birth. These relationships over crayons and construction paper will last through marriage and babies as the cycle continues. Queenie and Wife had these same friends, but wanted something more. We wanted to be friends with everyone- the cool kids, jocks, nerds, hippies, and everyone else.
We wanted to be the Prom Queen(s).
It was an unfortunate joke that would stick with us and lay the roots for Team Prom. WWTPQD? (she would have fun.)
And so we were. We called ourselves Augusta’s Welcome Wagon. Everyone new to town could find a friend in us and we knew no stranger- they were sought out as future friends. Augusta is a hard nut to crack. No one loves our hometown more than Queenie and Wife, and we wanted everyone else to love it as much as we did.
Forgetting every mother’s maiden name, who debbed where, or what silver pattern their grandmother had- we moved forward into the greatest summer ever. By opening our minds and stepping out of our comfort zone, we found undying friendships in each other and in our “DF&PC.”
We were willing to do everything ridiculous that seemed like it might lead to fun. Two weeks after the Masters was prom season. Eating lunch at Chicken’s restaurant, Queenie and Wife thought it would be an excellent idea to wear our prom dresses to the local watering hole (yes, the very same holograph dress) as it was our alma mater’s prom night. Queenie’s mother would drop us off at the door that night and toot the horn as she left. We’d catch cabs home. Our “dates” Tractor, Chicken, and Copper were told to wear tuxes... they thought we were kidding.
So, there we were. Surrounded by friends and strangers alike. In our prom dresses last worn seven years prior. Six years if it was shiny. What should have been embarrassing did nothing short but cement ourselves and the start of a wonderful friendship.
Queenie passes me a pair of sunglasses from her circa 1996 purse and we step inside. The band stopped. Big John at the door gave us a high five and Mattie the bartender grabbed two Miller Lites for us. Cards dropped with Mattie and to the dance floor for Proud Mary with the likes of Miss Tu-Tu Divine.
We were in our early 20s, we knew everyone and wanted to know more, we were outgoing, getting boys phone numbers and not calling. We owned Augusta.
A few nights later, Queenie and I would be back at the same watering hole in jeans when a medical student would walk up to us and ask her for her name.
“Queenie,” she would say, “What’s yours?”
**sidenote: These ‘nicknames’ are what I am using to identify them as if trying to protect the innocent and guilty alike, however poorly. Some are better than others. We called ourselves many dumb things, but these names were not one of them, except for Prom Queen.**