Pendulum is the only name I can recall him by and I can barely remember his face now. His memory is a blur of facial features significant to him and stereotypical early 2000’s mall goth garb. Pendulum is also the name of his drink he made up that fifteen year old me is currently getting drunk on. Some sort of trashcan party drink he makes from all the booze at a party and in which Goldschlager is definitely a part of. It’s always different but somehow specific to him, and never tastes like your typical trashcan party drink. Or so I’m told. This is the first time I’ve met him. This is the first time I’ve drank his particular drink. My taste buds are at least confirming that it’s truth I’m hearing.
We’re at one of the many infamous parties currently being held in the apartment of my also underage friend who is living with her over-aged girlfriend. Pendulum is old enough to actually buy the alcohol so he is too old for me, besides he has a girlfriend, but he’s super nice. And I am getting super drunk… and super friendly and philosophical. So we can at least be friends. Everyone at this party is now my friend or potential friend in fact.
Besides three other instances that stick out, the rest of this night is a blur of drinking, laughing, dancing, and just shooting the shit. Soon the party begins to wind down. My friend and her girlfriend retire to their room for the night. Some people leave with their designated drivers. Otherwise since a lot of us are drunk, underage, or both, we’re all staying the night finding whatever place we can to rest or lay down. My friend Sara who I came with and I have both told her grandmother and my mother that we would be at the other’s house, so I really have no place to go at this point. Which is OK with me, because I’m still up, and I’m still talkative and so is Pendulum. I vaguely remember holding a cup of water as we both decide to head to the balcony since people are still trying to sleep.
Drinking always makes me hot and it’s so nice and cool out here. I can barely remember what we talked about while we looked up at the stars. Some vague conversation about paganism, different types of drunken people, and life in general floats through my mind but sadly there is nothing concrete that I can pin down and say, ‘Yes! That’s exactly what we talked about! This deep, profound thing that made me think for a week after! This is what was said!’
As I stare off into the distance at the complex around me, we realize that somehow it became 6 am and the sun is rising. I’m finally tired and we both retreat inside after saying goodnight to each other. I don’t remember saying goodbye though. I think he slipped past my radar and was either gone or sleeping by the time I left. I did, however, see him about a week later.
My friend Penny and I had popped into the local Hot Topic. As we headed to the clearance rack, there was Pendulum with his girlfriend. I was taken by surprise. First by seeing him and second by the big, warm hug that he gave me. After asking how I was, I was given a short introduction to his girlfriend. We were able to catch up a little with each other and then they had to leave. I wound up having to explain to my friend who he was since random twenty somethings didn’t usually come up to hug my awkward teenage ass back then. It was then I realized that I had forgotten, once more, to get any contact info for my new potential friend. I rushed out to the front of the store but they were long gone by then and our peer groups never crossed paths ever again.
Not all missed connections stick out in my mind like Pendulum’s. Honestly if it wasn’t for the hours of long discussion out on the balcony it probably would never have and his memory would be even more blurred to me than it already is. But we did and so now a fond memory is stuck there with the lingering wonderment, am I stuck in his somewhere? Are the same missed connections also missing their connection with me? Is there a part of Pendulum that sometimes stands on the balcony and discusses philosophy he can’t remember with fifteen year old me at night?
I'm working on a book called The Exquisite Agony Of Things. It's just a bunch of essays on the moment of exquisite agony of various topics. Just, exactly what it says on the tin. Many things can be labeled as agonizing, nostalgia, pain, pleasure, so it's not just depressing things. One of my thought pieces was on missed connections when I realized that the thing I was trying to get across was not very well represented by this particular writing. I even tried writing another paragraph at the end to explain it more but then I realized that if I couldn't explain it within the thought piece itself and I absolutely had to write an addendum to explain it, I would probably be better off writing a different one with a different missed connection.
This memory was too distant, and too nice and just something fond that I recall from time to time. Like sometimes I still wonder what he's up to and how he's doing. However, considering how messed up a lot of people's lives I know became, part of me is OK just sticking him to memory and being done with it that way. Kind of like a 'don't meet your heroes' type of deal.
What are some of your missed connections that stick out in your mind?