This is not enough, but it will have to do somehow. My first roommate and bestie, the reason I hesitate to say any friend is "like a sister to me" (few friendships are as complex as sisterhood is) is turning 50 today, and after a month of humming and hawing and "shoot we should have planned something," this is what she gets.
Freckles and I shared a room from when I was born until we were 12 and 14. I'm sure she must have hated it more than I did. I don't remember hating it. I remember being purposefully annoying (as little sisters are), and being relieved she was there when I was frightened (which was often, especially when night terrors came), and laughing hilariously at very stupid things. And her feeble attempts to uproot me from the top bunk when I just wouldn't shut up.
I also remember being lost when she suddenly left at 14 to go live with our aunt and uncle in Bel Air. Okay, it wasn't Bel Air, but c'mon ... I was sad and confused and lonely - and jealous that she got to leave the going-nowhere town I despised. I can only imagine how she felt.
Freckles was also the person, when she came back home 2 years later, who introduced me to Motown and Michael Jackson. R&B and Soul are still my two favourite kinds of music, thanks to her. If she hadn't been so world-wise lord knows what awful music I'd claim as my own.
Freckles and I are about as alike as we look. She's petite and brunette and, well, freckled. HA. I was 18 months and she was 3 when I surpassed her in height, but she's always been able to whip me back in line. She's also introverted and plain speaking to my extroverted circumlocution. If I had a dollar for every time she quietly poked and I loud-mouthedly reacted and got in trouble, well, maybe she'd be getting more than a blog post for her birthday. She makes me laugh like crazy - which is generally a good thing, but less so in church. Sigh.
I sometimes don't ask Freckles for advice on things as I know she'll be honest with me and I know I don't want the honest answer. But when I do want the truth, no matter how sharp an edge it may have on it, I know she'll give it with the best intentions for me and deep insight into who I really am. When I was in Jamaica, very drunk on rum punch and sobbing alone in my hotel room on my first weekend excursion, it was Freckles who knew best what I needed to hear. I forgot (ignored) what she said for a while since coming home, but it was/is powerful and keeps me facing forward. Sometimes - like last week - her truth comes straight out of nowhere and hits a mark I didn't know what even up. She believes in me in a way I have never been able to believe in myself. Sometimes someone else's belief is enough, at least to get you started.
Freckles, I wish I was with you today, laughing too loudly and embarrassing you with garish celebrations. Better yet, I wish we were off somewhere exotic drinking out of pineapples and toasting your golden birthday. But I'm here and you're there and once more the thought will have to count.
I love you.
|Mexico 2013, in which I learn that sometimes it is better to travel with someone else. :)|