He just didn’t say which one.
There he is – Joey Oey. Years and years ago, when I was about 17, Joe stopped by and asked if I wanted to go to the beach. “Sure, why not.” I said.
We lived in Upstate NY. There are TONS of beaches in the area, so I figured that’s where we were headed. I put my bikini on under my outfit, grabbed a towel and off we went.
After about an hour of driving, I started to get confused. Granted, I was smoking at the time (and I’m not talking Marb Lights here people), so I thought maybe it was just me and my perception of time.
“Which beach are we going to?”
“Virgina Beach”, he said giggling.
“WHAT?! Dude. VIRGINIA BEACH? That’s like eight hours away!”
This is how Joey was. He was really random and he lived in the moment. I figured I really didn’t have much else going on and I could call home when we were near a pay phone (this was the pre-cell era). After all, I was with JOEY, everyone would understand.
So we drive. And drive. I see a sign for Virginia Beach. We’re not slowing down. We’re not getting off the exit. We just sailed past the beach.
“Umm…Joe? You missed the beach.”
“Yeah. I want to check out Myrtle.”
“DUDE. THAT IS SIX HOURS AWAY.”
“He he he he”, was his reply.
Myrtle Beach. We arrived around midnight and found the Silver Sands Motel for like thirty bucks a night. It had a bed and pull out couch and just so happened an episode of the X-Files was filmed in that very room, so that was awesome.
For the record, in our twenty years of friendship, Joe and I never hooked up. We were just friends. Family.
Three days. For three days, we stayed in Myrtle Beach. Same clothes, same hotel. THREE DAYS. I’m choosing to omit certain details for personal and legal reasons, but my pupils were HUGE for a majority of that time if you know what I mean. We spent a full 24 hours in the same spot on the beach in deck chairs we stole from a hotel. We were there as the tide came in and the water was up to our butts and we were still there when it receded and we watched both the sunrise and the sunset that day. Pretty sure I had full-on conversations with seagulls.
“Joey, it’s time to go. I think I just got fired from my job.”
Into the car we go. Driving, driving, driving. Hmm….I don’t remember passing Washington, D.C. on the way there. Curious. What was even more curious was the fact that it looked liked we were going there.
Shit. We’re going to DC. How the hell does this man know his way around the country without maps or cell phones?
“I just wanna check it out.” Again, more giggles. Joe. Jo-Jo. Joe to the O. Joey Oey.
Pupils huge, we took a bus tour around the city. In Arlington Cemetery, Joe decided to wander away from the group. Reluctantly, I followed. Naturally, the tour group moved on. Suddenly, we’re stranded miles from the car. Miles and miles. And miles. We walked those miles, all the way back to the car. In Birkenstock’s. Hey, it was the 90′s and we were Smot Pokers.
Well, we made it to the car. We didn’t spend the night there but instead drove to where I had hoped would be home.
Nope. NYC is not my home. It’s about 5 hours away from it.
Pupils still huge, we walked that city. We spent hours in Central Park where I watched a foreign man teach an American woman how to fly a kite, pooped in a McDonald’s that had two stories with a man playing classical music on a Grand Piano, strolled down Broadway and then SOMEONE thought it’d be a brilliant idea to walk to the World Trade Center, which was still standing, unaware of it’s tragic future.
Again, we walked. We WALKED. We walked until I shed tears because my feet hurt (again, Birks). It was getting dark and those buildings were not getting any closer. I finally convinced Joe to hop on the Subway and we eventually found our way back to the car and decided to go home. That’s a story in itself, I won’t go into it here. Finally. Home!
As we’re driving back, Joe suddenly says to me “Buckle up. Sit up straight. Look ahead. I don’t have my license, the car isn’t registered and there’s a cop behind us.”
I stopped rolling up that piece of paper I was playing with that had pretty flowers in it and held my breath until they passed. Then I smacked the shit out of him for taking me on a week long road trip with no license and an unregistered car. It was the best trip of my life.
Upon my arrival home at two in the morning I ran into the apartment I shared with my boyfriend, jumped on the bed, scared the shit out of him and then explained myself. Still to this day I don’t know if I called a single person to tell them where I was.
I miss that man so much. We lost Joey almost eighteen years ago and I often wonder how different my life would be if he was still alive. I can’t dwell on the loss because I get WAY too deep in my mind. This is one of the fondest memories I have of Joey and I am truly honored to have lived a life with a man who lived life so carefree and allowed me to be a part of it. Love you, Joey. Hope you and my sister found each other. Next time I’ll tell you about our trip to the zoo!