My book of memories provided more unhelpful clues as to my past. In particular, it narrowed down the list of what the name of my best friend might of been. In a section marked friends, my mother had recorded the names, Bobbie, Jeff, Brian, and Ean spelled with an ‘E’ instead of an ‘I’. To try and narrow down this list to figure out who the name of that kid whose head I would look for each morning, cresting the hill below our trailer, I found two more entries in my journal. The first entry said, “Yesterday I teter-tauter with Bruce and we played together and me and Bruce got stug in the mud and got wet.” The other entry simply stated, “Ian is my friend because we talk a lot.” It is not much to go on but I will hedge my bet with Ian because of the talking angle. What else are you supposed to do on your daily commute?
This whole mystery around friends, best friends and other companions began to unravel on me in this weird and wonderful place atop a garbage dump covered with mud. Under the next entry for friends my mom quoted me. I have stated, “New kids but the’re not my friends, they act silly and they dress sloppy.” Oh, oh. Things were unraveling for me here in this town, which could only mean one thing; that our family was getting ready to unplug and move on.
However, in a weird ironic twist, one of the last things I did in that town before leaving was to perform at a school assembly. I was the main star, the attraction and highlight of the assembly. I practiced for weeks prior, for I knew this part. I was born to do this role. It was me and I was it. I related to this part like no other actor has ever connected to their character. I lived and breathed this character each and every Sunday when I would find the newspaper lying around the house. I listed this character’s reference material for my birthdays and Christmas and would hide myself away and study their material when my requests were met. As I would read of this character’s examples I would stop myself and exclaim out loud to no-one in particular, “Oh, that is so how it is!” This character and I were one. And it was this character that I was going to re-enact for the entire school, as a bitter irony to the end of my era here in this town, and to help them all see the error of their ways.
My costume was distinctive yet simple. It didn’t take much for my mom to put it together as I probably had a shirt that bore a striking resemblance to the character’s iconic shirt. I believe I only had one or two lines but that was okay because what I was going to perform was visual, not audible. And at the end of my performance I would utter the now famous line, “Good grief!” I am not sure who played Lucy but really, it didn’t matter, for Lucy represented each and every kid who had now let me down, who were acting silly and dressing sloppy. I was the iconic Charlie Brown and the world needed to see what they had done to me. Lucy took the football and held it out for me to kick. I eyed up the ball, looked to Lucy to make sure she would hold it in place this time and I ran. Oh, how I ran across that stage, determined as ever to kick that football. And at the last second, as if on cue, Lucy pulls the football away and I hit the air with my foot resulting in me crashing to the floor, landing on my back. The audience loved it. But they didn’t get it.
My relationships had let me down. Once again. I was the unsung hero in my life. And now, as the stage curtain was closing on my adventures in this crummy little town I was left with an empty audience on an empty stage. There would be no best friend that I would take with me on my ever travelling journey. I broke him. There would be no audience to see whether I would become that policeman or that artist. No-one who knew me here would know me there and thus celebrate in my accomplishments. Charlie Brown was leaving that field and that playground and Linus and Lucy and the rest of the gang would be staying. Who is Charlie Brown without everyone else? Just a broken kid with a broken ego, losing at life after losing at relationship.