"Ever been to Derry before, ma'am?"
"I grew up here."
"Yeah…yeah no kidding,"
I was sitting in the back of the cab going over the boarder into Derry, Maine. I was touching the thick slabs of a scar there along my palm as I was watching the rolling hills of green trees and dead grass. It was surreal: one minute I was getting a call back in San Francisco from Mike Hanlon, another minute I was back in Maine.
My life up until this point was routine: being a commander in the San Francisco Police Department, living on my own with no one to help me or tell me how to live. It was what I wanted, or what I thought I wanted. This one phone call though, put things back into perspective really for me. Of course, the one main thing I did remember, were seven friends I made and felt beyond loved with. With every single person there within my memories. I knew their names, I might have known thier faces, but that's all I would really remember:
The 7 losers.
It was still hazy in my brain, something was dropped over and not letting me realize what was going on, well up until I was back within the town. Things were coming back into play now: remming things here and there but not all of it. Something was still missing in this puzzle, and as we were driving along the road, I noticed we were coming amongst the river there that would lead to one of the smaller bridges.
Of course, I made the dumb decision to look.
The water was low, but I could still see it while we were driving along the side and the bank. The grass was growing tall, almost having me feel a bit dream like as we were getting close to the one bridge that we would have to get over to get to the Derry townhouse.
Once I saw the bridge, something inside me almost opened in a way that was uneasy. I was cringing a bit, a memory was slowly coming over me and making me lose my breath for a second. I remember something, way back when I was younger. Something with a car…or was it a truck? All I could remember were the sound of screeching tires, my stomach flying from the drop, and then being surrounded by water.
Water…I was drowning.
I gasped in my seat, grasping the handle there and closing my eyes. I felt like I was back in the water again, trying to cache a breath and not being able to and being tuck to my seat. My head was swimming and lungs were back to being on fire. I felt this before, when I was a child and back in Derry..I felt this somewhere. The roaring of the water was in my ears and the deafening feeling of dying was against my chest now as I finally got my breath back together again and I was slowing cousin down from my panic attack,
"Ma'am…you alright?" The cab driver asked me as I looked to see where we were already over the bridge and now going into the heart of town. I rubbed my eyes now, having my heart still going fast. If only I knew then that It was a sign for what was going to come. I nodded my head slowly now and took one more deep swallow of a breath.
"Fine," I replied in a gasp, "I'm fine."
But I wasn't fine. I was back in Derry with no memory.
"Thanks," I replied to the cab driver as I got out from the taxi and stepped onto the parking lot. The driver just grunted and drove off, having me face the Chinese restaurant that we were planning on meet at. I got word from Mike when I pulled into Maine earlier that morning where we were going to have our little reunion, but I was still on pins and needles seeing the others there as adults. I didn't know what I was going to do when I was going to see those childhood friends of mine.
But most importantly, were they going to be happy to see me?
I checked in the Derry Townhouse for the night, getting myself raedy ebfore I would make my way to the restaurant for dinner. My hair was down and pushed over one shoulder, wearing light makeup that I would wear if I wasn't in uniform. I wore black skinny jeans, boots, a green shirt with a demin layered jacket. I was half concenred and half unconcerned on what I was going to look like in front of my old friends, but the butterflies were still there in wondering how they would looked.
I knew I changed since I was a little girl in their circle of friendship, I wasn't as gentle as I once was. Being a cop make me tougher and placed a shield over myself and those who are close around me. Hell, I never made close enough friends that were as close as those in the Losers Club. They were as close to family that I had, at least to me they were, and it might have sounded desperate and maybe a bit loony for me to think of them as family. But to me they were, I didn't have any other very close friend, of others that went through what we went through.
And now we were back together again.
I started to walk over slowly, grabbing my purse strap along my shoulder in order to both hold me in once place within my brain and to remind me that this wasn't a dream. Maybe it felt like one, since I both wanted to be excited for joy for seeing those Losers again, or vomiting in my mouth because of why we were together. It was bringing us back, and yet this whole time I forgot about that summer and what it did to us. Why did that happen, why did our brains forget when it was so traumatizing and so scary at the same time. All fo those years spent away from Derry, being a cop in San Francisco and dealing with my own adult life made me forget, made me almost wipe it out of my own mind and memory.
Coming back across Derry Lines made it change, almost like a switch.
Things were sharp in my brain again, things were gettin crystal clear when it came to remembering. The streets we would ride our bike down as a kids, the corner store that I could buy candy or soda from after school, the particular park I would have a picnic with my mom at when I was younger, all of those places were turning things on within my own brain. Not only that, but that summer was making things really come back like I was being slammed in the face.
I felt a small shutter as I was passing by rain gutters, or almost getting a small smell from the sewers in some places. It gave me chills, a non-presence heavy weight was getting on my shoulders and following me over to my hotel room and over here to the restaurant. Were the others feeling the same or was it just me that was going through this? A small hand almost being pressed against my chest, an invisible one yes but it felt like one was there none the less.
Maybe this was some kind of curse, something wanting to push us away from this place and not come back. That had to be the logical thought behind all of this, behind all of what I was feeling and thinking. I blamed being on the force for far too long for making me way too logical or too practical. I was loosing my optimism, the way I used to be when I was younger and maybe a bit more naive.
Walking into the front lobby, I was hearing all the chatter from the other patrons from the restaurant, of course all of whom were going along to their own business. So far I couldn't see anyone that I knew or recognize, which was a good sign. I gave a small sigh of relief now as I was given a few more minutes of time before I could go in there and show my face. Checking down at my watch, I noticed I was a few minutes behind from the others. Maybe they were already there and talking amongst each other, no thinking that I was going to be there.
"I'm looking for the Hanlon Party," I told the receptionist.
"They're in the back party room already," She replied nicely to me.
"Do you know how many are already here?" I asked sheepishly.
"Only a few, others are on the way according to the host," She answered, having me nod my head now as I was thinking fo who was already there and who was still on their way. I started to walk over and peek my head around the corner, dodging the waiters as they were going about their work. every step was feeling like my feet were made of stone, but I knew I had to do this. I finally made it over to the opening of the party room, poking my head through slightly and was trying not to be seen.
Three were already there, looking at the fishes in the aquarium, having me hold my breath since I knew who those three were. One of them was the tallest, with big shoulders and feeling more like a giant with a soft face amongst the glass of the aquarium. The second one was the shortest with a perfectly worn jacket over his shirt and pressed jeans, his hair smoothed to the side and his hands in his pockets. The last one made it all too real for me, a flannel shirt with the hair almost flopped to the side though there was shown cases of thinning and maybe some gray there along the highlights.
Mike, Eddie and Bill.
I had to turn away and run to the bathroom before they could see me, my stomach dropping out from under me and making me want to scream out in both fear and in pain for why I was there in the first place. Thankfully there was no one else there in the bathroom as I was standing there in front of the mirror and holding the sink in a death grip. Taking in deep breaths I had to remember what it was like when I was going through these spells, what I learned from my therapists at my work and how to deal with past hauntings. This was the same, it had to be the same, at least in my brain.
"You're a commander of a fucking police force, get it together. All you're doing is meeting your old childhood friends that you haven't seen in two decades," I paused, looking at myself in the mirror, "Why….am I meeting them again?"
I sounded crazy, but I knew this was not going to had me turn my back on what I promised years and years ago. There was no way I was going to live myself if I went home and forgot all of this, there was to be another good kind of force that was wanting me to stay and finish it all once and for all.
"Go back and see that Loser's Club," I told myself in the mirror, finally standing all the way up from being hunched over on the sink and moving my hair out of my face. Taking in a deep breath, this was going to be the end all when I walk out of the bathroom and over to where the others were. Once I was there, I couldn't go back and I couldn't forget it.
Back into the Loser's Club.