Wednesday, October 25, 2006


We used to sit on overturned milk crates and smoke cigarettes in the summer. The air was so hot and thick the smell would stick to our t-shirts. You always wore shorts and I always wore jeans. You were always tan, I was always pale. I didn't actually inhale.

Then, the troubles were related to unrelating parents and boyfriends and stupid teachers. Or friends. Friends always have troubles. We ignored them with countless Cosmo, Glamour and Mademoiselle quizzes. Read our horoscopes out loud to each other. We have the same sign. Born one year and one day apart. It's not a big deal - but it's a big deal to us.

Our shirts were stained with ice cream from serving it for hours on end. We cleaned when we were bored. Or re-read our magazines. Or smoked. Or talked. On my first day you came in from the rain and I thought you were one of the cool kids. One of those beautiful high school girls all other high school girls try to emulate. Years later we sat in your dad's car and listened to the radio while we smoked more cigarettes and talked about each of our parents' divorces.

I can't count the times we laughed together but I know there were many. The first time a boy ever touched me, I called you shaking and asked you to give me a ride home so I could tell you all about it in the car before I had to look my mom in the eye. You laughed at me and took the weirdness out of it. When your brother started working with us - I hadn't even realized you had one.

Things are different now. Now I am fully aware that you have a brother. He's just not with us anymore. Now you know more about my moods and my fears and you don't throw them in my face. We are what one might call "comfortable" in our friendship. And each time we start changing - it feels for a second we might become strangers. But we never do.

So now it's different. It's motherhood and career and marriage and loneliness. It's death and the fear of life. I once gave you a Christmas present. A big box that was "best friend" themed. Little books and 'Friends' DVDs and stuffed toys that I knew were your favorite. And inside the big box, a little one. Hardwood with a block print of my grandfathers. Inside were a stack of handwritten letters on paper that was carefully picked out, closed with a wax seal. Each letter was thought out, for when we married, if we divorced, got pregnant, had kids, had a bad day, moved away from each other, turned 30, 40, 50, 60, 80...if we lost touch or lost one or both of our parents. I never wrote one for if you'd lost a brother or if my depression got the best of me. I forgot about those.

We can't see everything coming. But we can see each other through it if we try.

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