And summers came again; turning into falls and winters, and springs too. At some point along the road my sister Marcie was born, and Finn and I grew up. When Finn and I started senior year we were somewhat hedonistic seventeen-year-olds who thought we could conquer the Earth. By the end…well, we’ll get to that. The point is that I don’t think either of us could have predicted what happened that year. What would change.
The first day of Twelfth Grade was like any other late August day. Neither of us were particularly excited, we just wanted to get to the end of the year again and leave high school. Lest you think this was a bad attitude to have, it was an attitude shared by the majority of our peer group. That morning I remember feeling like the whole of Chicago felt the same way. Summer was over, and the grind was beginning again. I’d just about slumped out of the shower wearing the brand new ‘smarter’ clothes Mom had bought me for the start of the year when my father shouted up the stairs that I was going to be late. I wasn’t, but if I didn’t leave right that minute I’d never hear the end of it. I slipped on my Chucks and went to call on Finn.
He emerged bleary-eyed from his house as soon as I reached the driveway. His hair was a mess, no doubt from sleeping in too late. He’d changed a lot in the past couple of years. After years of towering over him and generally being a formidable presence, in ninth grade Finn had grown a foot in a couple of months, and now I stood with my hair just hitting his eye level. I hated genetics for making me so short. It was like Dad knew he’d put me through high school misery when he first got with Mom. Well, I say I was short. I was just shy of 6 feet. His hair had grown out from the typical, neat ‘little boy’ cut, and I suspected that the only reason it was kept at a reasonable length was that his mom attacked it with sheers from time to time. Instead of too-big football jerseys and shorts he’d taken to wearing button-down shirts and jeans. In a sort-of older brother way, I thought he’d grown up well. There were some things that age couldn’t change, however. Finn had the same kind eyes, the same vaguely worried expression. Even though his voice had dropped about an octave, the same words came out. ‘Be careful, Cal’, ‘Cal, we don’t want to get into trouble’, ‘We shouldn’t be doing this, Cal’, that sort of thing. The way I saw it, we were good for one another. He was my good influence; I was there to make sure he had fun once in a while. We made a good team.