I remember Barry ...
I remember seeing my friend Barry in 1964. He was still tall, blond and handsome. I had just moved into my new house on Marshall Lane in Westbury. We had been kids together in the Bronx and had shared a score of memories. Some were good. Most were bad.
Barry's sister lived down the block from me in my new home and that was the reason behind the reunion. We started, as all boys do, to remember old times, old basketball games, old fights, old friends, old relatives and shared experiences. I remember, vividly, the time in 1948 he and I shoveled the two feet of snow from the corner playground so we could shoot baskets. We were 13 years old at the time.
In a moment of candor, I said, "Barry, when you were a kid, you hurt people," Without blinking and in a robotic, automatic response, he stated, "I'm sorry you feel that way."
Let me say here and now: Barry was not a nice guy!
He reveled in his ability to hurt people casually and not let it affect him. As a teenager he specifically strode into the local pizza parlor on Yom Kippur, to backhandedly hurt his observant parents. He once whacked a kid named Yuddi across the face with a sock full of soap chips on Halloween, that sent him screaming, "I'm blinded, I'm blinded!" P.S. Yuddi recovered, but I never did from that incident.
When we were 18 years old, on a double date on which I fixed him up with a beautiful girl, he threatened to leave the foursome in the movies and disappear (the girl did not fawn sufficiently over him). I stated at the time, "You can go, but I will never speak to you again." Barry stayed grudgingly, but mooned for the rest of the evening.
He called up a girl I was "sweet on" and dated her even though I, his supposed "best friend," was interested in her.
As we sat together and chatted, he came up with this facile reason for his miserable actions as a child. "My father was weak and my mother totally dominated him."
I sat dumbstruck. Barry was off the hook. It was his parents' fault! They had forced him to be cruel!
We hugged and said we should meet again and I never saw him again.
But yet, I remember Barry ...