Last Friday, after receiving the call that officially informed me of the impending miscarriage, I headed down to the shore for my make-up Thanksgiving with my parents and family. Stefan had to work, so I was on my own. My two brothers and sister-in-law were up from Florida and we’d made plans to go out to some of our old hangouts after dinner with the ‘rents. A few days before, I had worried about how I was going to do that without them noticing that I wasn’t imbibing as I normally would, but ‘the call’ made it a non-issue.
Our first stop was a bar on the end of the boardwalk. When I was a teenager, I remember walking by this place and marveling at all the hot surferboys inside–long, sun-bleached hair, tan, yummy. I couldn’t wait to be 21 and in there with them. When I was finally old enough to get a closer look, I realized that these ‘hot surfers’ were actually just townie dirtbags who didn’t have jobs and drank in the afternoon. The bar was still pretty cool though–dirty and hot and cramped with people.
A few years later, my friends and I went there several nights a week and knew the bartenders and the bouncers. Though we still looked young, we never got carded and our drinks were usually waiting for us when we sat down. We did shots, walked around to greet friends and acquaintances, chatted with the bartender, noticed newcomers and loudly talked trash about anyone we didn’t like. Everyone knew us. We flitted around in little outfits and considered ourselves minor celebrities. Okay, we were a little full of ourselves. LOL
At 25, I moved an hour away with my boyfriend at the time, and my visits to that bar became more and more infrequent. When that relationship ended and I started dating Stefan, my visits ended completely. Driving more than an hour to hang out in a beach bar for a little while just didn’t seem as appealing as it had been.
During the next few years, after Stefan and I got engaged and were planning our wedding, that bar underwent major renovations. They bought out the rest of the building and made the bar three times its original size. They also added a second floor. It was a bit much, IMHO, and it took away from the homey feel it once had.
So back to the other night…
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I didn’t recognize any of the bartenders, bouncers or customers. There were no reunions with old friends. In fact, we seemed to be the oldest people in the bar, surrounded by young, cute people with trendy hairdos and shiny shirts. Hmph. It was so disappointing and like slap in the face to someone who didn’t realize she was getting older.
I suppose in the 6 years or so since I’d been a regular, my friends had noticed the changes slowly and drifted away from this place and on to other things. In my case, all of my memories were still of us on top, young, the stars of the bar. Or maybe that’s been exaggerated in my mind over the last few years, like how you remember only the wonderful beginning of an old relationship instead of the time he cheated you or forgot your birthday. Who the hell ever said hindsight was 20/20??!!
Anyway, next time we decide to take a walk down memory lane, I’m going to take a deep breath and, instead, figure out where the grown-ups hang out.