Jonesing for Freedom

It was the Summer of 1994, and I was working as a dishwasher at Mama Rosa's restaurant at Sea World.  I had gotten to know my co-workers pretty well, and had even gotten high for the first time with my supervisor's younger brother.  I had also gotten drunk for the first time at a party thrown by one of my co-workers, and that was not counting the time I got buzzed in the back of the dishwashing area on the beers I stole from the restaurant fridge.  My hair was dyed a purplish-red, and I was picking up where the recently deceased Kurt Cobain had left off fashion-wise.  I was finally getting the taste of freedom away from my oppressive home-life, and my family was fighting it tooth and nail.


One night my parents were going to be out of town, and my co-workers had wanted to gather someplace to play basketball at night. My parents had predictably said "no" for whatever reason; I don't recall whether I had already been in trouble with the police yet that Summer, but my trust with them was beginning to wear thin. My older sister, who I do love, was a total NARC back then, so I couldn't sway her favor either.   Out of frustration, I decided to go walk around the neighborhood and smoke cigarettes after my sister was asleep.


I had ventured from my house in Aurora over to the nearby city of Twinsburg.  I was walking and smoking with a soured expression on my face, when I heard a girl's voice call out "Hey kid!," or something to that effect.  I walked over to an open garage, and it was this girl I knew from Twinsburg named Becky, along with this hippie girl who I had never met.  "Oh hey, it's Pete," Becky said as I entered into the garage light.  Becky was this blonde cutie with a nose-ring who I had met through this girl from their neighborhood named Desiree, whom I fancied.


The first time I met Desiree was at the marina down my street that essentially acted as the dividing line between Aurora and Twinsburg.  She was with her friends in the back of a pickup truck drinking beers.  I was with my friend Kenny when we met, and they gave us beers which we both delicately sipped.  The neighborhood kids from Twinsburg seemed to grow up a little faster than us. They were more urbane, and the boys were generally larger than guys like myself and Kenny were.  I got to know Desiree a little bit from there, we would occasionally see each other at the marina.  I would talk to her on the phone, and hang out in her backyard. Despite my cool facade, I was still and awkward kid, and so I'm not really sure how she saw me.  


One day we were hanging out in a group at the marina, and this guy from my school named Doug was there.  I was no match for Doug. He was a tough guy, and had recently transitioned from a metalhead to a Jim Morrison wannabe.  He was much bigger and a year older, probably better looking than me at the time, and had all the confidence I lacked.  If we had been on the beach at the marina, he'd of kicked sand in my face.  He was sitting on a bench with Desiree, grabbing at her fingers and laughing.  And then he started kissing her.  I was crushed.  I casually asked her later if she liked him, and she said "I don't know."  I think I might have kept trying for a little while thereafter, but resigned myself eventually.  


Back in the garage, the ladies and I were hanging out and having a nice time chatting.  They complained how they were "Jonesing" for drugs, a word a figured out using context clues to mean "craving."  The hippie gal  (whose name has long escaped me) spoke in a wistful manner about wanting to do "line after line" of cocaine, and they were both digging around Becky's purse trying to find specks of marijuana that might be floating around at the bottom of the bag.  They eventually founds some tiny little bits, and Becky put them in a bowl and took a lame hit that produced a tiny amount of smoke.   The hippie gal was playfully incensed.  


At about 1:30 AM, they asked me if I wanted to go to the Dunkin' Donuts in Solon with them.  I knew if my sister woke up and found me missing it'd be my ass, but I decided I ultimately didn't care, and so I hopped in a car and took off with them.  On the way to Dunkin' we listened to Green Day, and I was instantly smitten. "Dookie" had come out a few months before, but I was only familiar with the singles at that point.  I had taped "Longview" off the radio, and listened to it incessantly.  I remember hearing the song "Pulling Teeth," and I thought it was the best thing I'd ever heard.

I had been to Dunkin' Donuts before with some of my friends from Aurora, but I wasn't quite the regular there that I'd eventually become.  They ordered coffees, and encouraged me to do the same.  I was hesitant, but they told me to load it with cream and sugar, and it totally worked for me.  We hung out and talked until about 5 AM, and then they drove me back to my house.  They wished me luck with not getting in trouble, and I think the hippie gal called me "sweetie."  I snuck back to the house, successfully undetected.  


Later on when I saw Desiree, I told her about hanging out with Becky and the hippie girl.  "Yeah, they were both really 'Jonesing'," I said, brimming with confidence.