Sunday, October 28, 2012

The day that I died is the day that you died.

I looked through the pictures stacked on my desk. I stared at the dried wax trail left on this red candle I bought for you. A few words blink across my mind: Spice Girls. Mr. Cardboard man. Germany. Colorado. I'm a burrito. Sleepovers. Macerena. N'Sync. Betty Boop.

Each word brings back a memory. We laughed. We danced. We fought. We watched My Girl together and decided we needed to become blood sisters. A few months ago when we talked, we got to that topic. I admit that it reminded me how special our friendship was that you never did that with anyone else and neither did I.

Tomorrow, it will be two weeks since my world crashed around me. Two weeks since I was singing my heart out to music and feeling pretty content with life. Two weeks since I came across the words, posted to your facebook page, that you were gone.

I cannot tell you how much shock I felt. I was sure it was a sick and twisted attempt at humor. I was sure that someone just wanted a laugh. Then I saw the follow up comment explaining that there had been an accident. The driver never saw you. Your friend was gone. You were gone. Your beautiful baby girl was in the hospital with a skull fracture.

I went numb. Every muscle in my body stopped working for a moment. Then, my hand went instinctively over my mouth. I heard this heart-wrenching scream and the following sobs exploding from somewhere. I didn't realize until later that they were from me. My hand was still over my mouth, ready to stop the vomit I could feel coming. I ran outside, clutching my phone, trying with fingers that would not work to call your phone.

It had to be someone else. It had to be a mistake. It couldn't be you. It just couldn't be you. I waited, holding my mouth shut tight, refusing to let the bile escape. I would hear your voice. Everything would be okay. I would cry and cry and tell you how much I love you and how I was so glad I could tell you that again. It would be wrong.

I waited. My chest was tight and I pressed the send button and waited. It immediately gave me an unavailable message. No voicemail. No snippet of your voice to reassure me. I knew. I don't know how but I knew. It was true.

For a moment, nothing happened. I just sat there, crouched on my knees on the deck, unable to move. Then, it started. I was rocking. Then I was on my hands, heaving and hyperventilating. I thought I would vomit, but it wouldn't come. Just dry heaves and panic in my head. The sobs started again. I couldn't stop them. Another moment of a tortured sound escaping that I couldn't recognize as my own howling as I curled up against the porch.

I don't know how much time went by before I picked up the phone again. I had to call someone. Anyone. I had to know what was going on.

I continued to cry for some time as I moved around doing things I was supposed to do. Through the shock, I still asked Debra if it was true when I called her. I needed someone else to tell me though I already knew by how empty I felt inside. A connection had been severed.

More tears. More phone calls. More curling up alone on the floor. I split into two people that day; two minds in one body.

The first me cries and continues forward. She does her homework. She goes to work. She tries to talk about you. She talks about the good memories to try and ease the ache. She's miserable. She tries to keep on, like everyone else says you would have wanted. Funny how people suddenly think they know how you would have thought, even when they didn't know you.

The second me is still raging inside. She's angry. She's broken. Her world is shattered and she can't put it back together. She is the one that makes my chest so tight. That hasn't lessened. She's the one that I can feel sobbing and heaving when my throat gets suddenly constricted and I feel dizzy. She's the one that can't focus when people talk. She's the one that is staring at some far off memory and is completely outside of reality now.

I spend more time being the second me. The first...she's trying to hold together with little luck. She's the one trying to smile when she looks at Betty Boop pajamas at the store. She's the one that let's out a small, somewhat forced, giggle at the sight of anything with cupcakes on it. She's the one that will remember everything we shared, like a memory keeper.

Second me, though...She knows things will never get better. She knows that this inability to breathe properly will be here for the rest of our life. She knows that the long phone conversations to catch up on each other's lives are over and she holds on tightly to the memory of your voice. She knows that this empty feeling in our chest, this ache, this constant reminder  that you're gone... it's going to sit there for a long time.

My sister died. There are those that use the terms for siblings for everyone that they meet. That's not me. You and I know that more than anyone in our worlds, you and I had each other. There was a connection there that no one could break and we reminded each other of that every time we talked. We have other best friends. We have other people we share our secrets with. We don't have other sisters though. That is a different type of bond.

We are sisters in every sense of the word, except that we have different parents. We can fight tooth and nail, but no one else is allowed to give us shit or hurt us. The other was always there, despite distance, despite busy lives. You were there for me. I was there for you.

We even had a song. It isn't just a song that reminds me of you. It isn't a song we just danced to a few times and remembered nostalgically. It was our song. We sang it to each other when we needed to remember how much support and love we had from the other. It will be our song until the day I die, and we don't need one anymore.

Well, you and I
we're buddies
and we've been since we first met
Me and you, well, we've sure been through
our share of laughter and regret.

Lord knows we've had our bad days
and more than once, we've disagreed
But you've always been a friend to me.

You can be so stubborn.
There's times I think you just like to fight.
And I hope and pray I live to see the day
when you say I might be right.

And there's times I'd rather kill you
than listen to your honesty, 
but you've always been a friend to me.

You've always been
time and again
the one to take my hand
and say to me, that it's okay to be
just the way I am
with no apology.

Well, you've always been,
and you will til God knows when...
Yes, you've always been
A friend to me.

This is all that is left. I remember laughing. I remember crying. I remember fighting. I remember talking to each other in soothing voices.

More than any of the memories, I remember sitting on a rock at the top of the hill, overlooking Colorado Springs. It was behind my house. I remember you having more hope about everything we were going through that seemed so intense at the time. I remember you making me move my butt over so you could sit next to me and we just hugged each other. We looked over the springs and huddled each other against the cold wind. It's the first memory I have of us feeling like we were adults. We weren't, but it was the most adult I had ever felt.

I won't be sharing that memory with anyone. I won't be telling anyone what we were talking about or why. That is just for us.

That is where I'll meet you one day. We'll embrace each other at the top of the hill and sit on the rock. We'll watch until dark so we can see the lights of Colorado Springs come up. We'll walk into those lights together and everything will feel right. You're already in the light, I know it. I can feel it.

I'll be here in the dark until you call me.

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