“The first time I met you, I thought you were the most arrogant, stuck-up, son-of-a-bitch I’d ever met.” Georgia told me, in her whiskey-soaked, cigarette tar-covered voice.
At that moment, many years ago, we were sharing cold beers, out in the woods somewhere in rural North Carolina.
“Really?” I asked.
“Fuck yeah!” she shot back.
“Yeah, I suppose that’s pretty accurate.” I admitted, with a chuckle.
We were standing in her campsite, outside of her pop-up camper. There were numerous beer cans, bottles of wine, food stuffs, and other crap littering the small picnic table. She was sitting in a folding lawn chair. I was standing, shirtless, in a kilt, in the glow of several candles. To say that our minds were a bit altered would be accurate, and we’ll leave it at that.
In many ways, I was an arrogant asshole back then. But Georgia had managed to get past that, somehow that weekend out in the woods, and we had hit it off. She was able to see something else inside me, I suppose, something softer, or at least less S.O.B.ish, than the tough exterior I projected out into the world.
We stood up all night that night, thanks to some performance enhancing supplements. And by the morning, we were fast friends, for life.
We spent hours, that weekend, talking about all kinds of shit. I don’t even remember what. It was too long ago, and there were too many substances involved to allow my brain to recall the topics we touched upon. But what I do remember, was Georgia’s biting wit, and her enormous, harsh laugh.
You could never lose that girl in the woods, or anywhere for that matter. If she started laughing, you’d hear it from miles away. And if you were looking for a party, that laugh would lead you home. Because Georgia, or Roo—as many of her friends called her—loved to party, and she could hang with the best of them, including me–which was no small feat.
Georgia was one of those girls, who rode up on a Harley, stormed into the middle of the party, and took it over. She wasn’t tall, but she was never small. She took up a LOT of space in the world, and we made room for her. She could make you feel like the greatest person in the world, or she could cut you down to the size of an electron, if your ego was bumping into people and knocking over lamps and creating a ruckus. I’ve been both great and small in her presence, and I preferred the former, though quite frankly, the latter was needed more often than not. It pays to be an atomic particle every once in awhile.
She had no filters, and that’s what endeared her to me. Neither did I, especially back then. Anyone who unsuspectingly walked into her campsite, while I was there, was likely to get some opinion juice on them, because the two of us were slinging them around—opinions that is—like confetti and party beads on Bourbon Street.
You never had to guess what Roo thought, about anything, including YOU! Hell no. She was gonna tell it to ya, whether you wanted to hear it, or not. I suppose that’s why she loved me, too. I had no compunction about speaking my mind. I reckon I still don’t. It was refreshing to meet a like mind.
Roo was kind of like the cool aunt that your mom never wanted you to visit, because you’d probably get into all kinds of trouble, she’d give you too much candy, and sugary drinks, and you’d come back home with a cocky, sarcastic attitude. But DAMN! What fun she was.
She was also generous. If she had it, and you needed it, it was yours. That included opinions, ball-bustin wit, food, water, booze, and other party essentials, but most of all, love. I’m pretty sure that Roo loved more people than anyone else, except maybe Santa Claus. She gave love freely, though she claimed, incessantly, that she only gave it out to a select few.
Bullshit. Roo loved a lot of people, and a lot of people loved her right back. I was one of them. Fuck that, I AM one of them. That kind of love doesn’t usually slip into the past tense.
Roo died last month.
I didn’t even know it, until last night, when her husband, Peg—he actually has a prosthetic leg—posted the news on my Facebook feed. I was devastated.
I also felt a great deal of guilt.
Roo had been suffering for some time, mostly from anxiety. But I never once considered that she wasn’t going to be around for a long time to come. I just took that for granted. I hadn’t talked to her in months. And years went by between some calls. I hadn’t seen her in person, I think, in 13 years. That’s a long fuckin’ time. Too long.
I loved that lady: always will.
And I love her better half, Peg. Jim—Peg to his friends—is one of the coolest, geeky dudes you could ever meet, and the quiet, reserved side of that dynamic duo. Peg is the mild-mannered, computer geek, in the disguise of a leather-wearin’, Harley ridin’, biker dude. And if there was one person on this Earth that Roo loved more than anyone, it was Peg. I mean, she loved him, hard. And she would let you know it. They were a hell of a team, and two of my very best friends.
I miss them both. I will miss Roo forever. But she’s not really gone, anyway. She’s still out there, in the woods, talkin’ shit and laughing her ass off. I can hear it in the distance. One day, hopefully a long time from now, I’ll walk up that forest path, and find her outside of her camper. Then we’ll continue that conversation. And it will last all night; and the stars will die before we’re done.