When life has slowed long enough for me to glance up and check out what is going on, I take pause and remember. It's very, very difficult to believe that it's been four years since I said goodbye to one of my childhood best friends. For a brisk time during our formidable years we were inseparable.
When life gets in the mix, and you are too young to realize the gifts you've been given, you often take for granted your treasures, your friendships. I'm so very thankful for the advent of social networking sites that have allowed me to reconnect to friends whose names I haven't heard in years. I really enjoy seeing those names flash along the screen and instantly remember really, really great times. The inside jokes we'd share, the unified antipathy held for certain Biology teachers, the piercing smell of a freshly finished coat on a gym floor, endless laughter, slumber parties, bouncy rubber gym floors, homemade birthday cakes, Ms. Attel & Mrs. Oliva, writing and writing, and writing, the beginnings of finding my voice. The memories...so very many wonderful memories. And the heartache I felt when I left. The pangs I felt every time I went to visit, only to know I was a visitor. But he kept me centered and in the loop when I pushed her out. Eternal gratitude for that, honey! I love you My Michael!
That first year after I'd left, my parents surprised me at Spring Break. I'd just gotten back from an early morning track meet, grumpy that I was forced to not only clean my room, but get up ridiculously early. I remember the moment. I walked into my room, and lazily threw my bag on the floor, and noticed a bag unfamiliar to me. I glanced around and there she was. My entire body shook and exploded with happy laughter, squeals, and lots of tears. We shared an entire week together, catching up on secrets, making a home video, taking photos, and making up for lost time. I missed her....I miss her, now.
It still hurts to drive through certain parts Lewisville because I see her face. I remember that corner where we would meet "halfway" except it wasn't halfway, really. Or that alley where we hid after we'd snuck out to go toilet paper someone's house, but then later chickened out. Left with two eggs and a big roll of toilet paper, she bravely aimed and launched her egg. It cracked squarely in the middle of the stop sign. I clumsily dropped mine on the concrete. She was always an excellent aim. The next day, they were both cooked and we had a good laugh about it.
The other day, after having a giggle fit with Mari, she snorted. I laughed even more because it reminded me so much of her. I wanted to call her to tell her. But I just looked up to the sky and gave thanks for having had the opportunity to know her. Anita's laugh was truly infectious. :)
For those of you friends who are reading this and you were a part of my life then, thank you for your friendship! And for all of my friends now, thank you. You mean so much to me and I'm truly grateful to have each of you in my life.