It’s an alphabet carpet with pink As and orange Bs, blue Cs and a ragged looking D. All of us are sitting around the letters, X marks the spot, while Mrs. A reads us a story. I scoot next to you, our Keds barely touching. You move over, away from me, so I move closer. And we remain close for the next 15 years.
It’s a note scribbled “W/B/S” and “LYLAS” at the bottom, silently passed between desks in 4th Hour Social Studies. Those were the days before YOLO.
It’s an orientation line where your mom says, “She looks nice,” so you come up to me and we make small talk that turns into years of deep talks, late night-in the hallway-or on the phone-talks.
It’s the piano I sat on, the teasing comb you used to make my hair look special and voluminous on my 21st birthday.
It’s the borrowed satin tops and sequined belts, the bikinis and flip flops at Pompano Beach. Red heels and a piggyback ride down Mission Street because those things hurt, and you were there to carry me.
It’s a Yukon he let you drive. A cafeteria table where we all ate and analyzed, gossiped and shared.
It’s a nickname.
It’s a Bob Evans restaurant. A bonding conversation over mean girls and bad boyfriends.
It’s a bar where we stand next to the juke box and mock the dudebros with the gel’ed hair. It’s grad school exams and getting excited about mint chocolate shakes because heck, we were too stressed to be excited most of the time. It’s eating ketchup packets and airline cookies in the Metropolitan Museum because hunger trumps NYC museum exhibits.
It’s a phone call saying, “He broke up with me.”
“…Dad has leukemia.” It’s the fluorescent laundry room lights, blinding me as your words echo through the phone speaker. It’s the tears we cry together in separate places, the prayers we say, the Olive Garden breadsticks we bring to the hospital room.
It’s you being on my side by my side, even if that means us both losing in order to gain.
It’s a North Carolina beach and a corporate office and walking through the hallways giggling behind tight-lipped, white-collar suits.
It’s bridesmaid dresses.
It’s a tightly closed hug as you sob into her shoulder because you have never felt pain like this—heart-wrenching, gut aching, pain.
It’s a baby boy in a blue onesie named the name you told us back in high school hallways, before the parties and the boys, then the men and eventually, than the man that becomes your husband. The man who makes you a mom.
I guess the song is true, you know. Make new friends, keep the old, and all that. One is silver and the other is gold, and just like any currency, sometimes we make change. Break even. Break away.
And that’s okay.
Because there’s something to be said about the world of girls, the friendship ties that bind. As I get older and now have old memories mixed with new, I clearly see our past while standing in the midst of the future we dreamed about, talked about, wondered about.
All I know is the world is lonely without a shoulder to lean on. Despite the changes, the growth, the separations or the closeness, every bit of it counts. It’s part of the fabric of our histories, woven in and out.
Like letters on an alphabet carpet.
And for that, I am grateful.