I stretch out my fingers to the seat beneath me, trying to take my mind from the current situation. People around me crying, all ones whose hearts she has touched. All the hearts she did touch. Past tense. It’s easy to forget, that she’s gone now. I feel the tears start to well, but I know that this is not what she would want. I blink a few times and my ears flash with the heat of all staring for me to make my move. They’re calling me to the front, and I realize that it’s my turn. I gather my breath, and stand before far too many than she would have wanted. I look out at them all, and down to the notes I wrote a few weeks ago, and memories we accumulated over a life time. I silence my sadness for the time being, and decide to start with a college story to lighten the mood. I look up with a smirk, and begin.
“She wasn’t the most graceful person. In the winter months at school, she would slip on the ice and yell ‘Jesus!’ shortly followed with, ‘Marry and Joseph’ or simply sing ‘…loves you!'”The audience chuckles. “She wasn’t the kindest person. Vividly I remember her slamming the door as she entered my dorm room ranting and raving about her make up looking like a train wreck before her performance in an adaptation to Alice in wonderland.”
I start laughing, and I cant stop. I realize I look like a lunatic, so I look to the crowd.
“Oh! If you could have seen her face, you too would be laughing.” They join me, but only for a short while.
I gather myself. “You know we weren’t always such great friends. Yeah, I knew her since we were in the nursery at Westwood heights, but I didn’t truly know her until we went to college together. I remember playing as children and spending nights at each other’s houses. I remember fighting, and slapping her that one time which she never let go! I also remember when she stopped coming to church. I wondered where she was, if she was doing well. Every year her birthday would roll around (as everyone’s does whether we like it or not), and I called her. She didn’t pick up so I left her a voicemail. Just wishing her a happy birthday. Years past and I didn’t see her but a few times a year. However, every year I would call her on her birthday. I didn’t know where she was, or how she would celebrate, but I wished her well because she was on my mind. We reconnected our senior year, and let me tell you we didn’t get along. She was always better than I was. At school I had to work so hard, when everything just came easily to her. She could talk to people, but for me it took a carefully thought out process. Then we went to college. After what seemed like ten minutes she was friends with everyone. She knew names and faces, a feat which took me almost six months to accomplish. In this long story there were shenanigans, learning moments, and personally my darkest time. But she was there. With words I didn’t want to hear, but words that I needed to hear. In all this, she helped me grow. She helped me change my entire life, and she gave me the courage to make it happen.”
I pause. I can feel the tears start streaming down my face. My only thought is that she wouldn’t have wanted this. I dry my tears.
‘So this one time. We were both in Greenville, long story, and we were driving. Well the roads there have a lot more curves than the ones in Nebraska. So I’m being stupid and trying to snapchat and drive, and I’m looking more at my phone than the road, not my smartest decision. The road starts to curve and I don’t. So instead of saying ‘Hey pay attention’ Or ‘look at the road’ she screams. So I look up, and I scream. I over correct my car and am forced to then over correct again sending us back on the correct path. In that moment I didn’t know whether to laugh or pee my pants, so we laugh. We laughed so hard that tears streamed from our faces.”
The audience is in an uproar with the laughter of our stupidity.
“Our last fall together, was by far the hardest time with her. I never let it show, but my worry was overwhelming. I worked crazy hours, but every moment I got I was with her. We would get food, and watch friends. We would talk about life and of course we would talk about boys. We got closer still sitting in her tiny bedroom, reminiscing of when we used to be fun as she struggled to even climb the stairs.
She may not have been the most graceful, in saying goodbye as she awkwardly shook my hand. She may not have been the most kind, in leaving me so soon, so early in life. I looked forward to the day when she could stand by my side as I pledged my life to man I love. I looked forward to the phone call for when she found the man she thought she wasn’t worthy of, instead of the one not worthy of her. I looked forward to the day of her graduation for her doctorates in this, that, or the other thing. But most importantly I looked forward to growing old, and having nursing home shenanigans, like we always planned. It truly is a beautiful pain to remember all the good times, to remember all the road trips and the flying weenie we saw. Her pictures of Penis’ will remain on all my school notes. Words kind or blunt will forever be remembered, and I will spend every last day of mine, wishing I had one more with her.”
I wake from my dream, with cheeks still damp from the horror that had just transpired. I look at my phone, and realize the date. I immediately swipe to call her, it’s her birthday.