Take me Back

How can 5 years feel like a lifetime and a day all at once? It will be 5 years since the day I said goodbye to my best friend. It’s hard to put into words the loss I feel still to this day. The truth is there is not a day that goes by I don’t think of her. It’s impossible to live a day without me being reminded of her through a song or memory. I still go to text or call her when something big happens or something funny. She is irreplaceable. She knew all of my secrets, and is in almost all of my stories from years past. The stories that I tell my kids, and that I will tell my grandkids, she is in them all. So rather than write about the sick days, the sad days, or the heart wrenching goodbye. I’m going to write about the good stuff, some of the stories we made together. The good ole days of carefree living when we lived without overthinking and did whatever the hell we wanted. I hope you enjoy these and it reminds you to live while you’re here. The greatest gift you will ever get is another day here on this earth.

It’s a cold day in Ohio and I’m not entirely sure of the date, but its early 2000’s maybe 2001? It’s winter though and we are dressed for summer as any girl in her early 20’s does to look cute. I laugh thinking about how many times we froze our asses off waiting to get into bars for the sake of not wearing a coat or sweater. We have just arrived to our friends apartment in Columbus and are ready for a night of partying. We were staying with guy friends who we have known for what feels like forever. Laura ( my best friends name too, for those who do not know us haha. I am not talking in 3rd person) has a crush on one of them, so she is extra dolled up for the occasion. We start drinking our Budweiser and are having a great time. I recall the night forging on with with lots of laughs, Euchre and more beer! At a certain point in the night we started to run out of beer. So the boys headed out to replenish the stock as any good host does. When they left, Laura went to the bathroom and I was sitting in the living room on the couch. After sometime I realized it has been a really long time so I yell ” What the hell are you doing?” I hear a splashing noise and go to check it out. I open the door to find Laura in a disgusting bath tub filled with backed up shower water about 5-6 inches from the top. Dirty boy shower water haha. They had been showering in this shower and the drain was clogged in a way only 20 somethings can live. She is crying laughing. I am now crying laughing trying not to pee my pants. Have you ever tried to lift someone while laughing? Let me tell you it doesn’t work. After a few attempts we manage to heave her out of the tub. She is soaked from her chest to her knees with water in her hair and the laughing has turned to panic. The boys!! The cute boys will be back with beer soon and we have water all over the bathroom, she is soaked. First brilliant idea is to wring out her clothes and blow dry them. Looking back this seems ridiculous but after a few beers this was our best plan of action. She strips down and we wring it out in the sink. We can’t find a blow dryer, because why would boys who shower in dirty tub water have a blow dryer?? With this correlation we are again reminded of the limited time we have until they are back, more panic and tears of laughter. We decide the best option is to just change clothes. Finally a solid plan. She goes to get clothes in her bag and realizes she only has t-shirt to sleep in and even forgot sweat pants. She has no change of outfit for impressing above mentioned boys. In the middle of the realization the boys come back from the beer run and in a panic she pulls me into the closet. So we are now in a closet in their living room. I can not breath I’m laughing so hard, she’s laughing but embarrassed and begging me not to open the door. She is in her bra and underwear and her wet clothes are laying in the living room. I say ” I’m pretty sure they know we are in here!” We open the door laughing and unable to fully speak or explain. I’m attempting to tell the story between uncontrollable laughter as she peeks only her head from behind the closet door. They are perplexed but don’t seem overly shocked at our current situation. Apparently they’ve become accustom to our shenanigans. We all had a good laugh and that cute boy she was there to see got her dry clothes. She also would end up marrying him. That is what would be known as the bathtub incident.

This was taken after the swim in the tub. I still remember her pillowcase from this photo. My eyes are shut but I’m forever grateful for disposable camera’s and the poor choices of our younger years.

This next story is short but was one we reminisced on often. It’s 1996 and we are finishing up our freshman year in High school. We are boy crazy! There are two boys in particular we are obsessing over and are the topic of almost all of our conversations. We spent hours of our precious lives daydreaming up ways to see these boys. One day we decided we were going to ask them out! They were two years older than us and I still to this day can NOT believe we did this. They were cool and popular with plenty of girls lined up to date or hang out with them. So what do any smooth talking teen girls do when trying to get a cute boys attention? They ask them to a square dance of course. I mean that seems pretty chill right? Lets go to hoe down and swing each other around awkwardly while sweating. I mean why I didn’t factor in my bangs or awesome perm is beyond me. We are drunk on hormones and unable to see that this is anything but a great idea. Once we decide this is a solid plan we begin to argue over who will call and which boy we call first. (I’m too young to know yet but I will ALWAYS be the caller, she will never agree to call for anything, including Myles Pizza haha). I call boy #1 and ask him if he and boy #2 would like to go to a square dance with us. He’s nice to me but I can feel his lack luster excitement about a square dance. He says he has to think about it and will call the other boy. He will get back to us. We sit in my dining room by the phone because this is before cellphones or text messages. I can remember us laughing and freaking out. Then the phone rings, its boy #1 asking if we’d like to go see a movie with them rather than a square dance. I reply with a calm “yes” trying to be cool. I hang up the phone. OH MY GOD, it worked! We were literally jumping up and down in my kitchen screaming we are going to the movies with _______ and _______! I’m laughing just thinking about it. In the midst of our celebration we realize we didn’t ask our parents for permission to go to the movies with two juniors. My mom agreed right away, and we finally convinced her Dad to allow her to go. We would go to see the movie twister and then stay up all night reliving every single detail. We would both keep the movie stubs, she still had hers at the end of her life and I still have mine. I know because she had me fish it out when we were reliving life’s memories. Over time it became less about the boys and more about the story. The movie stub is the memory. The baggy shirts we wore and the sleep over we had afterwards. That’s the thing, boys come and go but a good friend sticks around forever.

This memory takes place I believe when we are sophomores in High School. We had boys over to her house when her parents were supposed to be out all night. (I’m seeing a theme here…..cute boys haha) Her house was my second home, if I wasn’t at my house you’d surely find me at hers. We decided to invite two boys over we liked at the time for a few hours and planned on them leaving without anyone knowing otherwise. We were sitting around talking with Pearl Jams Vitology Album playing, when in walks her Dad. Well both her parents walked in but I distinctly remember seeing her Dad and about shitting my pants. Her Dad was a tall funny guy who treated me like his own, but he was also stern when he needed to be. I think the color drained from our faces. I remember her looking at me with that ” Oh shit” look. We knew we were in trouble. When he walked in he looked around and calmly said in his Big Mark voice ” Party’s over boys!” This would be a phrase we would go on to use as a joke for the rest of our lives. The boys nervously scrambled and grabbed their coats. I’m not even sure if we said goodbye. I can’t remember what punishment was given out. It was probably no phone calls to each other for a week and her having to clean the bathroom. Not a bad sentence for a night with cute boys haha.

I could spend a lifetime recalling the stories that made up our friendship. It’s the thing that takes the sting away most days. The only thing that would be worse than losing her, would be to have missed out on 30 years of her friendship. The beauty in grief is that it is proof you have loved. I’m grateful to have had a friendship that was so special it left a giant hole in my heart. A hole that can’t be filled or replaced. I hope you are lucky enough to have that too. Everyone deserves to have a Best Friend like her.

Me and my best friend Laura in various decades.
Find yourself a friend that makes you laugh so hard it hurts.

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