My first friend was also my first girlfriend, apparently. Leila lived next door, with her grandparents, the imposing Kerrigans, but only during the summers. She was older than me and sometimes we would play Soap Opera.
We played other things too, splashing around in the kiddie pool or wearing grown-up clothes. My memories of her are fuzzy for the most part. Perhaps I even had a friend before her, I think there was a boy that moved to Colorado, but Leila counts as the first because of my memories.
When summers rolled around and I wanted to play I would have to crawl under the fence and go to the Kerrigan’s, knock on the door and ask if Leila could come play. This was a terrifying experience. I was less than six years old and the Kerrigan’s were retired and also very… dour sounds right. I was afraid of them.
Once, Leila and I were playing Soap Opera upstairs, in her room, on her bed and I had my socks off. For some reason this was a ‘wrong’ thing to be doing. I heard steps on the stairs and so logically shoved my feet under the bedsheets. Leila’s grandmother came to check up on us. I remember her looking through the space between the door and the jamb and then leaving. I didn’t get in trouble for having my socks off. I can’t remember whose idea it was to play the games we played. I think I enjoyed them all. I know we often thought we were misbehaving, but it was fun to have a partner in crime.
I used to have nightmares about the Kerrigan house. In my dream I would get locked out of my own house and ballooning witches and frankensteins and werewolves would come from the Kerrigan house after me. My mother would be too afraid to let me in.
We played Soap Opera over at my house too. I vividly remember Leila teaching me to kiss [yes, even french kiss] while we were inside an empty refrigerator box and then choreographing an argument scene which culminated in ‘sudden’ kissing which degenerated into giggling. I think we did an awful lot of kissing. We moved away when I was six or seven and I’ve never seen her since.