Letters from the Lunar Outpost

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
- William James, American Philosopher and Author (1842-1910)

When I was a freshman in high school I was eager to get somewhere with just about any girl I could get my hands on. I was inexperienced and full of hormones. The only problem was that I was also very awkward and shy.

I had been told that a girl who rode the bus with me thought I was cute. Her name was Anne. She had spent a few years at home or hospitals in traction with a broken back, so she had missed some school, was kind of awkward and the neck brace was something kind of goofy in a teenager’s eyes, she wouldn’t have been a step up for me socially, but she certainly wasn’t a step down, either. I wanted to persue her but I didn’t want to be teased by my friends, so I was conflicted about whether I should act on it.

We decided to meet at a party at a guy named Mike Manning’s house. I was pleased to find it to be more of a get together than a party.

Marc and I had a fifth of vodka and some wine. We split the vodka, chasing it with wine. I was now drunk enough to kiss her.

She was even beginning to look kind of good.

I remember some real sloppy kissing. Next thing I remember is stumbling out of Mike’s house and not knowing why. I found out the next morning that I had puked all over the guy’s immaculate white leather couch. I had been lucky to get out of there without getting beat up.

We were spending the night at Marc’s house and that was a good two miles uphill from the party. We began treking up the sidewalk back to Marc’s when suddenly a computerized voice began shouting “Burgler! Burgler!” It was an alarm the likes of which I’d never heard, coming from a house up the hill.

Marc began running, I think I can remember him saying, “Come on, dude, the cops are gonna come.” He began running up the hill. I was having trouble walking.

As Marc tells the story, he saw a pair of headlights coming down the hill and ran for the bushes. It was his mom Linda looking for us! As the car passed by, Marc ran for home, making it back to his room just as the garage door opened from her return.

Linda asked him where we had been and wasn’t Mike supposed to spend the night. Marc fessed up to what had happened. The search for me began.

They might never have found me had it not been for a white Members Only jacket I was wearing. It could have passed for crossing guard material it was so reflective. They caught a glimpse of it in the bushes as they went down the hill. Marc went over to me. He turned me over and saw leaves and puke plastered to my face. As we rode back home, I remember I was so fucked up that I was trying to act sober, oblivious to the fact that I had leaves and puke stuck to my face, thinking maybe Marc’s mom wouldn’t figure out what we’d been doing at that party.

She was really cool about it the next day. She didn’t even tell my parents and made me feel better by telling me that everyone goes though experimenting with alcohol. I still am as a matter of fact.

I was sitting in my room on a normal Wednesday. I had just gotten four new records and that was the best possible thing to put me in a good mood. I was in such a good mood, in fact, that as I began listening to my new Doors album, Absolutely Live, I opened up my algebra book and began to do my homework.

I hadn’t gotten very far when my door opened without even a knock. Three very large men entered my room and one of them said hello and reached out to shake my hand. I was confused as to who the hell these people were, but reflexively and yet tentatively I reached out to shake his hand. He grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me out of my chair, telling me that if I came along and didn’t fight there wouldn’t be any problems. My mom was crying around the corner of my door as they lead me out of my room and down the hallway to the front door.

One guy drove while the other two got in the back on both sides of me. They put the seat belt around me with my arms underneath the belt and they held it down tightly. I decided to remain silent and let them try to explain themselves. There was a long silence as we drove. Finally, one of them said, “You’re going to be going to a residental school”.

I asked, “Is it a long trip?”

One of them said, “Oh no, it’s a short trip.” No sooner did the words exit his mouth that I saw that we were headed for John Wayne Airport. The first answer I had ever received from these guys turned out to be a lie.

I was escorted to a small private plane. I remember waiting there for a long time, just sitting there silent and wondering what the hell was happening to me. Finally I heard my mom’s voice from outside the open cabin door. If I would have turned my head to the right I would have been able to see her out the door, but somehow I was able to resist even the reflexive turn of the head at the sound of her voice. I just sat there and stared straight ahead.

She told me she’d becoming to see me soon. She was all choked up. She told me she loved me.

It felt good to not even acknowledge her. She left as I sat there silent, unmoving, staring straight ahead. The only other words I spoke was to say no in reply to the one who asked me if I wanted a coke.

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Team of Rivals
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Doris Kearns Goodwin