In high school Justin had a bowl haircut. It was in fashion in the early 90's and was a good fit for his straight blond hair. He had been the middle school king. Tall, handsome and smart enough. Dated the most beautiful girl, popular, a star on the soccer field, the basketball court and the lacrosse field. When he looked back now he was pretty sure he peaked in 8th grade. Things fell apart pretty quickly once he got into high school...an unplanned pregnancy, failing grades and so no one was surprised by him when he dropped out in 10th grade to go and work on a lobster boat. His hands now rough and calloused from more then 20 years on the water. From pulling traps and blistering sun. His blond hair in a buzz cut and always kept under a baseball hat.
When he would meet up with his friends, most of whom he had known his whole life what surprised them most was how little regret he had. The boy born while he was in high school, JJ was 21 now, and he had joined his father on the lobster boat. They lived together in a 2 bedroom cottage home along route one. An old motel converted into a series of small apartment rentals. They would go together most nights to the bar on the way into town. Drink a Bud Light or two while Sammy sloppily pole danced against a wooden beam and the Red Sox game played on in mute.
He only had one regret. And it was the one he was pretty sure he was being punished for. It was such a small moment when he left her in the back of the pick-up truck. Later, when that band put out that crappy soft rock song "we were merely freshman" it would make his chest seize when it came on the radio.