Coming of Age Fiction Friendship

Growing up along the Gulf coast in a small community has its perks. Most people here are supported by tourist in one way or another. My family owned and ran a Tackle shop/Snack bar right on the beach. Every year brought somebody new with a gimmick to sell in our shop. If you lived here my mother would (discover You)

and allow you to try your idea for a 14 percent cut of the profit of course. If you were from somewhere else and wanting to sell it in our store it would be 15 percent of the gross you sold. Charities were given a free pass as long as there was proof it was not a sham.

Our driveway and entry way was always sponsoring cheerleaders and girl scouts fund raisers. Ideas moved quickly, The whole town seam to sell something and, as youth we were always involved. I was the local fat boy growing up. My best friend Emma and I were both overweight during our elementary years. She gave me my first Black eye when we were in kinder garden. She also taught me to defend myself from bullies. We were true best friends who look out for one another without romantic land mines to deal with. I could trust her with anything without worries and she could trust me as well.

When puberty's hit I grew a foot taller and Mr. Scott our coach

in Junior High made sure I was in every sport and came in and work out every day. It paid off big time for me , No longer the fat kid I was buff by the time high school came around. Emma was still overweight but, it never slow her social life down she dated who she wanted to when she wanted too and that was that. She became the editor for the school newspaper. What she didn't write about was really the story in school every one was talking about. If you were mean or a creep everyone in school would know. The boys on the teams would ask me to talk with Emma if they were interested in someone. Boys being boys by the time they noticed a girl; Emma already new and set up a date for them. I was not much of a dater in School although I did have a crush on a girl name Sarah. She was a Brainiac. Honors classes and college level calculus in high school. Emma was probably the only one who knew I was interested. We had no classes together and she did not attend sporting events. I was always polite when around her in school. Four years came and went I got a football scholarship to A & M university and Sarah got a scholarship to MIT. College was great for me. I gave up sports after the first year and went to work to pay my way though. I was determined to get a Engineering degree.

My first job was at a firm I was working for was a Construction company building Steam powered Electrical power plants from Geothermal wells. My job was not in engineering but the actual construction of the site. I went from hanging structure steel to the insulation crew that used a cement pump to shoot on coating on beams in case of a fire. It was hard dirty nasty work and I felt like I was building America.

Friends from home and college went to work on the job site as well. My best friend Emma became the Human resource agent. I had found good work, good friends and a carrier I was looking forward to. I get a call from Emma that a Scientific study group was coming to visit.

Sarah was one of the visiting group members and I was going to be part of the welcoming committee. I was ready to seize the day. I was one of 4 to meet them at the Airport. We had a great meet and greet.

The layout of the plant was simple enough . Electrical power plants have been design the same way for many years the only new feature were the geothermal wells and nothing really high tech about heating water into steam. The group was interested in ways to expand the ideal into existing companies that generate a lot of wasted heat like steel mills and processing plants. Sarah was the team leader and stayed focus on the facts and figures we presented. The day was spent moving though the whole job sites and gave both groups plenty to talk about. That afternoon I ask Sarah if I she would join me for dinner and she accepted and so did the rest of both groups. Not exactly what I had planned but I was going to make the most of it. Dinner was a one of those Cajun seafood places. Then ones that probably owned by a family member of someone at the construction firm. The food was good and after a few drinks talk finally moved away from work into a more personnel nature. Sarah explained she had been home schooled except for her high school years. Her college educated parents did not let her date in high school because she was only 15 her senior year. Well developed for her young age I had never known. I mention in passing that we went to the same high school but, it was very obvious that she did not remember me at all. The next hour of getting to know each other was heart warming to say the least. The more Sarah told me the more I realized being smart had nothing to do with being mature.

I had been part of my hometown growing up and been trusted by just about everybody in town. I worked, played, and was always able to think for myself. Sarah life was decided by those around her every step of the way including the events of this day. I took here home to her parent that night said goodnight. I went by my Mom's house to tell her how great it was to be raise by her and to thank her for raising me to be the man I was.

February 15, 2021 02:47

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