Soap Opera

puppy-love.jpgMy 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.

10 Replies

  • and you’re think­ing about her again now..
    Man, do you need a chick that bad? 😉

    My first girl­friend wasn’t until mid­dle school. Sta­cy. Braces, glass­es and short, even for her age. (no “so that’s where it came from..” com­ments from the Peanut gallery).
    I used to bike to her house, which was like 5 miles away. I remem­ber how we “broke up”, she passed me a note:
    “X per­son said you want­ed to break up. Is this true? [] yes [] no”

    Yes, I’m seri­ous.

  • Wow — you guys had such inno­cent Amer­i­cana firsts. My first boyfriend was when I was 15 and he was 14. He was a short, pudgy grunge rocker/punk and total pot­head los­er. The most endear­ing thing I remem­ber us doing is dye­ing each other’s hair Pil­lar Box Red and Flamin­go Pink in my bath­room…

  • that sto­ry came to mind yes­ter­day when i was involved in a con­ver­sa­tion about how ‘sex­u­al’ chil­dren are.

    i’m not sure if mine counts as an Amer­i­cana ‘first.’ See­ing as it was com­plete­ly guile­less and had no spe­cif­ic title attrib­uted to it like ‘going out’ etc.

  • I guess I just meant it sound­ed like it could have been on This Amer­i­can life

  • This Amer­i­can Life

    Week­ly pub­lic radio show out of Chica­go host­ed by Ira Glass. It’s been on about 5 to 10 years I think. Essays and sto­ries, all based on a theme that changes each week. Lis­ten to some of the archives and enlight­en your­self.

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