Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


A Best Friend

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:30 am

I have been thinking a lot about friendship the last couple of days. The memory of an old friend long gone reminded me to think of my friends. When I was a child, I always had a “best” friend. Choosing a favorite friend seems so strange to me now because I compartmentalize my friends now. I have friends to talk about life with, different friends to get drunk with, different friends to spend lunch at work with and even different friends to remember and miss. Just like my peas and potatoes, I don’t mix my drinking friends with my lunch friends

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) (attributed)

Back when I was a kid, though, it was a different story. The most important person in my life was my best friend. I didn’t want her to like anyone but me. It was a jealous love with no room for lunch friends. My best friend roller skated with me, ate lunch with me, talked about life with me and partied with me. There was no room for any others in my life. And if she found room for others, I became insane with jealousy. My best friend changed names many times over my youthful years, sometimes in spite and sometimes because friends just change with age

Later, there became a distinction between girl friends and boy friends. Once I started having boyfriends, I found that I had to make a mental distinction between my best friend that’s a girl and my boyfriend, who obviously would be my best friend that’s a boy. I believed that my boyfriend had to be my best friend, but I still wasn’t willing to give up my “best” friend, whomever she may be this month.

The friend that I’m mourning, however, was neither a best friend nor a boy friend. His name was Calvin Hardcastle. He was tall and thin with dark hair and eyes. I didn’t find him particularly attractive and I doubt he noticed me. During high school, I partied with the jocks and the cheerleaders. The same people who were reluctant to talk to me in the high school halls were perfectly willing to let me see them at their drunken worst. I was a cheerleader’s nerdy friend and Calvin was a football player’s skateboarding friend. We were both outcasts in a sense. We were both on the outskirts of popularity.

After one horrific party, I vowed never to drink at these damn parties again. This group of rowdy football players would have nothing to do with my sudden sobriety. The first party after the “incident,” I found my Diet Coke spiked with alcohol several times. Protest on my part only brought my situation to their attention. Later in the evening, Calvin pulled me aside. “If you don’t want to drink, it’s way easy. All you do is carry around a beer,” he put a red and white Budweiser can in my hand, “and when they’re not looking, you dump a little bit out. That’s what I do. I’d way rather get high than get drunk, but they get all bugged if everyone isn’t drinking. Just pretend to drink.” My eyes grew to the size of platters, “You’re a f**king genius!” I whispered. Why hadn’t I thought of it myself? I’m supposed to be the nerd-girl. I’m supposed to be the one with sense. Instead, I had to get instruction from the stoner skate-punk. That is my first memory of Calvin Hardcastle protecting me.

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. Sidney J. Harris

Over the next couple of days, I want to tell you more about Calvin. What a strange friend. I don’t have a picture of him, yet I can remember his appearance vividly. I have no recordings of his voice, yet I can hear him clearly, “I’d way rather get high than get drunk.” I never touched him, but I can almost feel that beer can in my hand. What a strange thing memory is



Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 6:37 am

We were drunk. I know I had made a vow of sobriety, but this was a quiet party. This was a small party. Only friends and people I trusted were with me, Calvin being one of them. Ok, I lied. All of us weren’t drunk. Calvin was high. How about this? We were impaired. Somehow that doesn’t sound as good as, “We were drunk.”

One reason I don’t drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time. Nancy Astor (1879 – 1964)

We were impaired and waiting. I have no recollection of what we were waiting for, but we were waiting on my best friend’s front porch. In our neighborhood, the front porch of our houses consisted of a slab of concrete. I’m not talking about one of those old-time porches that are covered and roomy. It was dark and we were sitting on a cold concrete step. Ok, I lied. All of us weren’t sitting. Calvin was skating.

Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, that it’s compounding a felony. Robert Benchley (1889 – 1945)

Over and over, he jumped his board from the first step to the second. He was high, mind you, and he was skating perfectly. His soliloquy, however, wasn’t as perfect, “It’s my destinate to skate!” Just in case we girls didn’t understand him, he clarified, “You see it’s my destiny to skate, so it’s my destinate to skate, so I destinate!” He kept repeating that phrase over and over. I guessed that getting high must be very different from getting drunk. To him, he was saying something incredibly clever and important. To us, he was just skating very well and speaking poorly. Yet we were entertained and what we were waiting for became nothing in my memory while his mumblings are dear to me.


Scone Dog

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 7:11 am

SconecutterIn the eighties, the suburbs of Salt Lake City didn’t have much of a culinary selection after midnight. If you didn’t want to sit in a greasy spoon, you were relegated to Sconecutter. My, this story needs a lot of explaining. Scones in Utah are nothing like scones in Great Britain. In fact, I think a place like Sconecutter would do well anywhere if the rest of the world would just redefine the word scone. In Utah, a scone is fried bread. Think of it as a hush puppy without the cornmeal.

Sconecutter serves savory and sweet scones. The scone itself is a rectangle approximately four inches by six inches by two inches, cut in half lengthwise (thus the name, Sconecutter). They will make them into sandwiches for you or slather them with honey butter. As if the scones weren’t abominations themselves, they also serve Scone Burgers, which are pretty self-explanatory, and Sconuts, which are scones that are frosted like donuts. Most abhorrent of all their greasy creations is the Scone Dog. I’ve never eaten, ordered or even seen a Scone Dog, but I suspect they are scones with hot dogs as the meat. So much for explanation.

Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them. Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 – 1944), “The Little Prince”, 1943

So, it’s 1987 and I’m with the core group of partiers: Calvin, my cheerleader friend, her drill team friend, her football player boyfriend and me, nerd-girl. They’re drunk. Calvin’s high and I’m driving. It’s about 11:30 pm and we are at Sconecutter. Most importantly, they are all underage and if the guy behind the counter realizes they’re drunk, we’re all busted. The important thing is to be cool. “Be cool,” the football player tells me. Even though he’s drunk, you can’t tell because he is always cool.

I order and pay for myself. Little Miss Drill Team orders, Football Player orders and my friend orders and pays for all of them. It’s Calvin’s turn to order, “Scone Dog!” He pronounces it slowly and incredulously. He sounds like Sean Penn from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Worse still, he keeps saying it. “Scone Dog!” Now, he’s pointing at the menu at the item, “Look, Dude, Scone Dog! I want a Scone Dog!” Football Player lowers Calvin’s pointing hand and takes him by the shoulder, whispering, “Cool it. Dude, you don’t want a Scone Dog. Man, just order whatever you want, but C-O-O-L I-T.” He draws out the last two words in a ferocious whisper.

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances. Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

The girls are worthless and they are laughing each time Calvin says the word again. I step up to the counter, “My friend doesn’t want a Scone Dog.” The guy at the counter is instantly on my side, “No, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.” I flirt just enough to get the attention away from Calvin and Football Player arguing about whether a Scone Dog is palatable or not. “So, what do you think he should order?” The two of us can still hear Calvin in the background repeating the words “Scone Dog” over and over. The guy at the counter appropriates Calvin’s voice and accent, and saying, “How about a Sconenut?” He drew out the word “Sconenut” in the same way Calvin kept repeating “Scone Dog.” I laughed and nodded. “Maple or chocolate?” I order both.

Let’s Go Get SconedThis story was told many times by Miss Drill Team and my friend. Whenever we remember Calvin together, the Scone Dog story is brought up. I never heard Calvin say that he wanted to get high after that. He just wanted to get a “Scone Dog. “

Not long after that, Sconecutter started an advertising campaign with the tag line: Let’s Go Get Sconed! I don’t think that Calvin initiated that, but it was brilliant and they still use that slogan today. Additionally, I noticed that Scone Dog is no longer on their menu. What a shame. Now I’ll never know.


The Long Talk (Part 1 of 2)

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 6:15 am

It was the tail end of another huge, drunken party. The couples had paired off in rooms. The singles had gone home. They either were driven home by me or they had snuck their keys and drove themselves home. Frankly, I was seventeen and I had lost track. I was sleeping over at my friend’s house and I looked at the kitchen table, not wanting to clean up. I didn’t make the mess, why should I clean it? I sat down between the kitchen table and the wall and just observed.

Calvin stumbled up the stairs. One of the singles, it was time for him to go home, but Football Player was his ride and he was blissfully coupled in one of the bedrooms. My skate-punk friend plopped down in a chair opposite me. He awkwardly leaned on the high chair, and I realized that he was drunk. This was a rarity for Calvin. Drunk, not high. I actually had never seen it before and I handed him half of a warm beer. He winked at me, “Just pretending to drink.” “Bullsh*t,” I thought to myself.

I envy people who drink. At least they have something to blame everything on. Oscar Levant (1906 – 1972)

I don’t know what had spawned this drinking. Maybe he had been “just pretending to drink” and ended up drinking a little too much for his weight. He was painfully thin. I’m sure that his sister fed him enough, but he was so tall. It’s just hard to eat enough to bulk up a boy who is that tall, especially when he skateboards so much. Maybe it had all gotten to him. Everyone was coupled up except him. He was left with Nerd-Girl, cleaning up the cluttered kitchen. Maybe he was stone cold sober. I had never seen him sober, so his personality change could have been his actual personality. I’m just guessing fifteen years later what could have been the reason for his drinking, but I guess that doesn’t matter now.

Over the next three hours, Calvin talked like I had never heard him talk before. When he was high, Calvin would talk a lot, but say very little. He would repeat words and phrases, which gave us the impression that he was talking, but he really told us nothing. “Destinate to skate” and “Scone Dog” aren’t really personally revealing. They’re just funny phrases that didn’t tell us much. But then again, people talk to me. Sooner or later, when people need to talk, they come to me. The kitchen became a confessional and I became the female eunuch.

It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution. Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

As I sit here at the keyboard, I’m reluctant to put down what I remember from the conversation. Confessions of this sort seem privileged to me despite the fact that I’m not a member of the clergy, a doctor or a lawyer. I don’t know what causes these desperate and personal admissions, but I enjoy them when they happen to me because for that one brief moment, I bond with a stranger. What if I jinx it and the confessions cease just because I voice them?

I said that I was going to tell you about Calvin, and here I am at the most revealing moment I ever had with him and I am reluctant to share. I sit here thinking about his beloved sister, who took him in when he had no place to go. Would she want to hear this story? Would she be upset if the whole world knew it? What about Calvin? What would he think if I told the world his confession after all that has happened? I need to think about this overnight before I continue?


The Long Talk (Part 2 of 2)

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 6:37 am

I can never predict when it’s going to happen. I never know when a normal conversation is going to turn into a confessional. Had I known everything, I would have recorded this long talk on a tape recorder. In Nixon’s office, I would have pressed the button with my foot and his words would have been documented. Maybe if they had been recorded, I would have realized that they weren’t that special. Maybe after fifteen years of thinking about that conversation, his confession has grown in significance than it actually was. All I remember are a few sentences from those three hours, but they seem so important to me.

Calvin looked around the cluttered kitchen. He had just sat down, was leaning awkwardly on the high chair and slurred, “Dude, why do you come to these parties?” I remember feeling like an outsider. Calvin, an outsider himself, was questioning my right to be there, so I defended myself, “She’s my friend. I have just as much right to be here as you do.” He shook his head and laughed to himself, “No. I mean why are wasting your time with these guys? You should be?” He lifted his hand arbitrarily and waved it around. It was the same hand that had the half-empty warm beer. He took a swig and I prayed that I hadn’t handed him someone’s chew spit. My friend had many brothers, all of whom chewed tobacco and spit into whatever was handy. I hadn’t even thought to check it when I handed it to him. He grimaced at the taste, put it down and got a cold one out of the fridge. Her fridge had a seemingly never-ending supply of beer.

He popped open the fresh beer and looked at me for an answer to his question. I responded, “Where should I be? Studying like a good girl. I do enough of that.” Instead of saying that I wasn’t good enough to be there, I was somehow too good to be there, which was just as insulting. It was as if he thought that smart people didn’t need to have fun. It was somehow beneath me. “Man, if I was you, I would study all the time. I would get straight A’s?”

Then it came, like a rusted pipe, gurgling and splashing brown and mucky liquid all over me. He told me everything. It was convoluted and messy, but he told me what he wanted. He wanted more than anything to be me. He didn’t want to change places with Football Player, who was poking a cheerleader as we spoke. He didn’t want to change places with the skater that we knew that went professional and was getting paid to play. He wanted to change places with me because I had a chance and he didn’t.

He had seen a lawyer on television. I don’t think it was an actor playing a lawyer, I think it was a real lawyer who was defending someone here in Salt Lake City. Calvin had been inspired by this man. This lawyer, who was probably some publicity-hound ambulance chaser, represented the epitome of success to Calvin. “If I could be a lawyer, I could do some good. I could talk to anyone and just talk so perfect that no one could argue with me. See, if I was you, I would go to college and get to be a lawyer. Nothing could stop me then?” He trailed off. He had been talking for a long time about the lawyer, about how much he wanted to be like him and about how I could be a lawyer, if I just studied harder. He was just staring at the clutter on the kitchen table.

“Calvin, you could be a lawyer.” The minute I said it, I knew I was lying. I had been thinking of the slimy lawyers on the back of the phone book, but even they had to pass the bar exam. I looked at Calvin and for the first time, I saw him the way teachers saw him. I saw him the way the world would look at him. The teachers saw Calvin, the Super Senior, who was taking four years to graduate instead of three. The teachers saw Calvin, the stoner, who got “sconed” every day and was rarely seen straight. The teachers saw Calvin, the abandoned, who lived with his sister because there was nowhere else to go. The teachers saw Calvin, the skater, who didn’t study because it was his “destinate.”

“No, but you could be a lawyer.” He had been pushing this idea during his confession, but I wasn’t having any of it. “I don’t want to be some slimy lawyer. That’s your dream. You could do it. I don’t know how you would do it, but you probably need to stop smoking pot first.” He shook his head. “I can’t. It’s too late for me.” I silently and guiltily agreed with him.

Calvin, if you are angry with me for revealing your deepest thoughts to the world, come haunt me, you skinny bastard. I haven’t seen your face in so long that I am eager for the meeting, even if you are angry with me.


Upside-Down Beetle

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 6:27 am

My beloved car of my high school years was a white Volkswagen Baja Beetle. Mike Pinkston and I had spray painted a yellow smiley face on the roof of the car where rust was trying to grow. For years after I sold it, I would see it every once and a while. It would drive past me and all the memories of my high school days would come rushing back to me.

It had been one of those parties. If I had been drinking, I would have sworn off of it because it was one of those times when I needed to have all of my facilities. I don’t know what started it. Testosterone, yeah I think I’ll blame testosterone. I don’t even know who started it, but Football Player played a large role in the events of that evening.

Oh, treacherous night! thou lendest thy ready veil to every treason, and teeming mischief’s beneath thy shade.
Aaron Hill

By the time I walked out of my friend’s house, the Beetle was on its side. Twelve football players were in the process of trying to get it upside down. Anyone seeing their precious first car being treated so poorly would have screamed, so I had no shame in screaming and trying to get them to stop it. They were well on their way to turning it completely upside down when Calvin walked out.

Calvin, the stoned skater. Calvin, the Super Senior. Calvin, the skinny outsider. “What the hell is going on out here?!” Suddenly, all twelve of the football players put the car down and started explaining. Football Player tried to get Calvin on his side. Cool as ever, he explained how funny it would be to turn my Beetle completely upside down. Calvin would have none of it, “Get the Beetle right side up! Quit being stupid.” He turned around and went back into the house. The remaining eleven football players immediately turned my car right side up and the party broke up. Amazed, all I could do was stand by and watch.

Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends.
Czech Proverb

My image of Calvin was instantly changed. Calvin, the quiet despot. Calvin, the secret ruler. Calvin, the protector. The world was instantly upside down. Instead of weak, Calvin was strong. Instead of addle-brained, Calvin was smart. Instead of an outsider, Calvin was the leader. My car was right side up and so was I. The funny thing was that I didn’t realize that I had been living my life upside down for so long.



Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 7:08 am

It was sitting on the counter at my friend’s house. “What’s this?” She glanced at it and answered, “A picture of Calvin.” I shook my head, “I know, dumbass. What are you doing with it? Why is it here? Where did you get it?’ She shrugged and explained that she was using up the rest of the roll and snapped a picture of Calvin. “Can I have it?” She shrugged and said that it was mine.

If I had a photograph of you or something to remind me. I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing. A Flock of Seagulls, Wishing (I Had a Photograph)

From that point on, my friend assumed that I was in love with Calvin. She asked me many times if I liked him or not and I truthfully told her that I didn’t love him. I couldn’t explain why I wanted the picture, so she just decided that I must be in love with him.

It sat in the back of the Beetle for a long time, reminding her of my supposed love each time she rode with me. Eventually, I put it in the photo album next to the pictures of friends at the prom and school pictures that had been given to me. That photo album is hiding somewhere downstairs in the basement and it might as well be lost to me.

I have a picture pinned to my wall. An image of you and of me and we’re laughing with love at it all. Thompson Twins, Hold Me Now

The truth of the matter is, I DID love Calvin. He felt like the big brother who would always be there to protect me. I didn’t have any brothers, so I had never felt that feeling for a guy before. It was a strong feeling and I was scared of it. I knew that I had no sexual attraction to him, yet I really cared about him. I didn’t know how to describe that sort of love to her. In retrospect, she would have understood perfectly. As I said before, she had many brothers. She was the youngest and the only sister, so I’m sure she would have understood if I only had been able to articulate what I thought.


Green and Purple and Gold

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 10:09 am

“Did you hear?” It was a few years out of high school. I was married. My cheerleader friend was married and had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. She called me, which was rare these days and said the phrase that always prefaces a bad conversation. “Did you hear?”

It’s never good news. It’s either bad gossip or bad news. It’s never greatness that follows the phrase, “Did you hear?” I told her no, wanting the conversation to get over with as soon as possible and hoping that it was just gossip. “Calvin’s dead.”

Death is a friend of ours; and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home. Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

I don’t remember where I was. I don’t know if I was at work or at home. I don’t even remember where I was living at the time. I don’t even think that I said anything after she told me. “You need to go to the funeral,” she told me. “Yeah, sure. Do you want to carpool or meet me there?” “Oh no. I can’t go. I can’t let Football Player see me after having this baby. You know, he’s married now.” “Calvin got married?” “No, Football Player!” She was frustrated with me.

So, I went to Calvin’s funeral alone. Once again, I was the outsider and this time, I didn’t have my friend with me to justify my presence. The funeral was at Goff Mortuary. I have trouble remembering phone numbers, but the name of the mortuary where my friend was eulogized is in my memory forever.

I sat at the back of the room. Football Player and all the rest of the gang were there, decked out in the most horrid colors: yellow, purple and green. They were dressed in the team colors for the Utah Jazz. Of course, all of us are Jazz Fans, but Calvin had his last laugh because all his friends carried his coffin looking like the biggest dorks on the planet.

Always cool, Football Player’s face was stoic and unchanging. I don’t remember what anyone said at the funeral. Calvin’s fiance spoke about him and I tried to reconcile her with the lawyer’s wife that I had imagined for him.

Calvin had died in a car accident. They didn’t say whether it was drug related, alcohol related, sleep deprivation or whether Calvin was even driving or not. I never really found out what killed him beyond a couple of tons of twisted steel. I guess that’s enough.

There was an immeasurable distance between the quick and the dead: they did not seem to belong to the same species; and it was strange to think that but a little while before they had spoken and moved and eaten and laughed. W. Somerset Maugham, ‘Of Human Bondage’, 1915

They buried him at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park. Of the many times I’ve driven past that place, I don’t think there was a time when I didn’t think of Calvin. I haven’t returned to his grave, but the day I stood by it, I remember thinking that this place was too quiet for him.

I wish that I could tell a different story about Calvin. I wanted to tell the story of the man who beat adversity and made it through law school. I wish I could tell you that Calvin is representing drug offenders in the Utah courts. I wish I could tell you about his beautiful wife and his beautiful house. I wish I could tell you how he got there. Instead, he is so much worm food at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary.

Sometimes when I see a thin, curly haired boy skateboarding, I feel that essence of protection that used to surround me when I knew Calvin was at the party. I know that he haunts me to this day and I tell his story in a desperate attempt to exorcise him. If I had my way, I would relocate his grave to the skate park at Taylorsville Park. I think it would be a much better gravesite for him.


The One Time Calvin Failed Me (Part 1 of 3)

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:08 am

I forgot to tell you one more story about Calvin. I know I spent more than a week talking about him, but I realized a few weeks ago that I had one more memory that I hadn’t placed in writing. It was the one time that Calvin failed me, although I didn’t recognize it for what it was when it happened. More importantly, it was filed in my head in a different folder. I had placed it in the Sexuality folder instead of the Calvin folder and I really think it was filed correctly, so I’m not planning on changing everything now. I just need to add a photocopy to the Calvin folder. (How I wish my memory really worked like that.)

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It was one of those parties. Calvin and I were the only sober ones there and things had gotten a little out of control. I think it started when my friend announced that she had porn. She always had access to porn. Once again, she was the youngest sister with five older brothers. There wasn’t a time that I can remember when we didn’t have access to porn. Our first exposure to it had been in fifth grade when we sneaked into her oldest brother’s room and found the magazines. I don’t know why she decided to unveil it at that time. I don’t know what was different about this party, but it was quite different because she told everyone that we had access to porn.


I’m not talking magazines. I’m not talking full frontal nudity. I’m not even talking about soft core. I’m talking hard core hetero-porn videos with everything you could possibly think of and maybe some things that you couldn’t (I wish I could throw out the electric toothbrush scene in that folder and wipe my mind clean). That evening, the videos were played, rewound and replayed constantly all night.


My wits weren’t about me. I hadn’t been drinking, but it was three in the morning and I was getting tired. By that time, all the couples were coupling. The only people left were Calvin, Jerry and me. The videos were still running. Calvin and I were sober, but Jerry was drunk and still drinking. Calvin entertained us by making fun of the porn. There were a lot of things on the screen to make fun of and we laughed together.


It had been a normal party for me. No guys had hit on me. I had tried to create some order from the chaos, making sure my friend’s house didn’t get trashed. I had worried all night that we would be busted because the guys had stolen the beer that everyone was drinking from a local convenience store. There had been a lot of drama between the couples and I was feeling a little jealous that I was alone.


I was just about to drift off to sleep, safe in the knowledge that nothing bad could happen to me with Calvin there. That’s when it happened. Calvin stood up and said he was going to sleep. Fine by me, I thought, but he walked into one of the empty rooms and shut the door on Jerry and me. I was suddenly wide awake and alone with some big football player that I had never met before the party.


The One Time Calvin Failed Me (Part 2 of 3)

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:23 am

It wasn’t like Jerry was a stranger. He had been to many of the parties. I had classified him as pretty but a little dumb. It wasn’t a fair classification. He had just been put into the football player mold. That was all that I knew about him. He was a football player, just like the one that took advantage of the other cheerleader I knew. He was a football player, just like the one that dated my friend. He was a football player, just like all the rest of the perverted football players out there.

Calvin had walked out of the room. I was in shock and wanting to bring him back to us. I could just walk over there and open the door. Jerry was saying something, “When Calvin was here, that was really funny, but now it just seems creepy.” He stood up and turned off the porn. I hadn’t even noticed that it was still playing on the television. I felt unsafe. Jerry and I had been sitting on the loveseat that was right across from the TV while Calvin had been sitting right in front of us on the floor. Calvin had been sitting right there. If he came back, I might be safe.

I stood up and knocked on the door, but Calvin didn’t answer. If only he had left the door open, then I would be safer. I turned around. Jerry was back on the loveseat. I felt trapped. I couldn’t go home. It was three in the morning and my mom would have a fit if I showed up there when I was supposedly just at a sleepover at my friend’s house. There would be many questions from my mom if I just showed up at home at that time. No, the only way out of this was through. I could see that it was going to be a long night.

I sat down on the large couch to the left of Jerry’s loveseat. I hadn’t received enough confessions to recognize it for what it was, but Jerry confessed it all to me. I am not clergy and I could tell you all of the problems that troubled his eighteen-year-old mind, but I won’t. He had had a girlfriend in the past. He had made mistakes. He was thinking about his future. He was scared of screwing it up. He was alone. They are all universal and the details weren’t logged into my journal, so I can’t even remember all of what was confessed to me.

After the confession, I was scared. Some of the things he told me surprised me. I had classified him as a dumb jock, but he had broken that image. I had classified him as an unfeeling pervert, but he was in pain over this girlfriend. Over the course of the confession, he had moved from the loveseat to my couch. By the end of the conversation, he asked me if I wanted to sleep with him. I had been jealous of my friend and all of the other cheerleaders because they were sequestered in rooms with guys, but this wasn’t right. No matter how beautiful he was, I knew it would be wrong. I instinctively knew that it was improper to even touch him after a confession like that.

I told him no and he apologized for asking. He moved away from me to the other side of the large couch. I told him that he didn’t need to apologize, but he shook his head and pointed at me, “I’ve got you all cowering away from me.” I became aware of my body. He was right. I was curled into an upright fetal position at the very edge of the huge couch.


The One Time Calvin Failed Me (Part 3 of 3)

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:36 am

My whole life I thought I knew why the guys never hit on me. I had blamed my appearance for the lack of boyfriends. I had convinced myself that I was fat and that was the reason that the guys didn’t want me. At that point, cowering in the corner of the couch, I knew I was wrong. Wrong with a capital “W.”

I had a good looking football player telling me his life story and hoping to get lucky with me, right there on the couch next to me. He was perfectly willing to do whatever I wanted. If he thought I was fat, it wasn’t getting in the way that night. It was that night that I realized that men love women. They love us whether we are fat, thin, ugly or shockingly beautiful. They love us whether we are shy, outgoing, prim or shockingly vulgar. They love us merely because we are women.

Even more importantly, I said no. It wasn’t even a question in my mind. I said no with my body and my words so loudly that he didn’t ask me again. I had convinced myself that if I was thin, I would automatically be a slut. If I were thin, the guys would want to have sex with me, and I wouldn’t be able to say no. I would want to sleep with any guy that was willing to come to my bed. Again, I knew that I was wrong. I had been lying to myself. Here I was in a very private situation with a very eligible football player, and I said no. Not just no, Hell No.

I realized that the guys didn’t hit on me because I didn’t want them to. Just like when I was cowering at the edge of the couch, I told all the guys at the parties that I didn’t want them to even touch me with my actions and maybe even my words. I never got drunk at those parties, which is a huge flashing sign that says, “I’m not going to lose control.” I made it perfectly clear that I didn’t want to be alone with any particular guy by staying in the public areas and never “crashing” in a room all by myself. I had even found a protector that didn’t want me for himself: Calvin.

Speaking of Calvin, I wonder if he truly failed me. Looking back, maybe he thought that he was helping me out. Jerry and I had been laughing at and talking about the porn for at least an hour and maybe he felt like a third wheel.  Maybe he thought that I wanted him to leave so I could finally be alone with Jerry. I don’t know and I never asked him about it. In fact, I could never look Jerry in the eye after that night. It was as if I had seen beneath his skin and found all the tender and painful spots. I was still new to receiving confessions and didn’t know how to continue a friendship after one so vivid and painful. It was something that would take me a long time to learn.


Jim Hardcastle, Calvin’s Little Brother

Filed under: Calvin Hardcastle,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I got an email from Jim Hardcastle, Calvin’s little brother the other day and I thought I’d share it with you all.

Hi again,

I have been reading this for awhile now and I am positive that it is my big brother that affected you so much. First, you probably didn’t know Cal had a little brother, but he does. I was adopted by our dad about 15 years ago. I enjoy reading these stories about him. It makes me feel good to know that after all these years he is still in your memories. I would love to hear more if you could spare the time.

P.S. The purple and gold was for the Minnesota Vikings. He was a huge fan.

P.P.S. Calvin was moved shortly after his funeral to the cemetery on 7800 South and 1300 West


It’s so nice to hear from you. I didn’t know Calvin had a younger brother. I only knew about his sister because he lived with her. He was pretty tight lipped about his family. In fact, it was rare that he ever talked. I think I was only blessed with what I heard because I was the only one awake at all those parties.

I wish I had more than what I put on my weblog, but every one of my memories went down there. Since I’ve written about him, I feel so much better. It’s like he was able to leave me at peace when I finally told my piece of his life to the world. I wish he had lived longer. He was a funny guy.

Good Luck, Laura Moncur

P.S. Is it okay if I post your email on my weblog so that the rest of the world can hear the rest of the story? Is there anything you’d like to add?

Yes that would be just fine if you posted what I had to say and thank you for reminding me about just how great my big brother was and still is.

Receiving this email made me feel even better about posting my experiences with Calvin here. I am so glad I was able to make a human connection with my memories. Thanks for emailing me, Jim. Sorry you lost your brother when you were so young. We all lost a great friend when Calvin left us.

If you didn’t read the entries I wrote about my old friend, Calvin Hardcastle, you can see them here:

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