This Top Tune is brought to you by an old friend of mine named Joey.
Joey and I met in sixth grade. He was BFFs with my very first boyfriend. (I know, WTF was I thinking, being interested in boys when I was 11?!) Back then Joey was the typical annoying adolescent boy, but he actually had a sweet side, too. I remember how he wrote me a letter of apology when he and my then-boyfriend did something that really hurt my feelings, which, I might add, is much more than the boyfriend did.
The boyfriend and I ended up staying together for about three years. (Our relationship mostly consisted of talking on the phone, not actually going out in public together.) I don't need to tell you that the boyfriend was the worst kind of asshole, and Joey was often a witness to the way he treated me. He did his best to make things okay for me while still maintaining his friendship with the boyfriend.
After the boyfriend and I split up, Joey and I dated briefly. We were freshmen in high school. It didn't last long, but we kept our friendship going. Later that year, Joey got into a very serious car accident with some of his friends. He was thrown quite far from the vehicle he was in, and he suffered from brain trauma as a result. It was very scary, and as I recall, this accident made my mom start smoking again after having kicked the nicotine habit for about five years or so.
Joey became pretty erratic after that. He would pop in and out of my life as the years went by. He'd never had a good home life, and it seemed like something was always going wrong with him. We'd talk regularly for awhile and then things would die out - until the next time he called me, usually drunk.
I was about 21 when I finally told Joey to stop calling me. I was tired of the drunk phone calls in the middle of the night and hearing the same stories over and over. I was tired of that being his definition of friendship. I felt then that our friendship was a toxic one - the irony is that I was involved with much more toxic people than Joey during that time in my life. He was just lonely, but I just wanted to break away from anyone and everyone who actually needed me. I didn't have it in me to be needed.
I hadn't thought of Joey in years, and then this song came up on my iPod last week. It's always reminded me of him, and the lyrics are even more applicable now. I wonder where he is now. Whatever he's doing, I hope he's happy and that he's finally escaped the darkness.
Joey by Concrete Blonde
(This video is a little weird. The song starts over partway into it, but it's all good after that.)