You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2007.

You took four years and a class in every subject before declaring a college major. You were always up for new experiences, and together we explored wooded paths, straying from the paved trails.  With you, life could get supremely messy — mud fights, oil paints, peanut butter, rock dust — and that was always okay.

I am a participant in x365.
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Did you see me as your buddy’s kid sister, or a fellow aspiring writer?  Without fail, you treated me like the latter.  Our talks were a lifeline for me, in those friendless days of early high school.  I envied the breadth of your ideas, but never begrudged them: they were yours and yours alone.

I am a participant in x365.

Your once-broken nose left your voice flat, a monotone that bored most students to tears. Me, though: You mean that’s how a Thermos works? You’re pouring iron filings on the overhead projector so we can see the shapes of magnetic? Awesome!

You taught the best science class I ever had.

I am a participant in x365.

My childhood best friend’s grandmother. When we weren’t swimming in your pool, you let us play unsupervised with your stash of Mardi Gras beads. You treated me almost like a grownup, and offered me my first taste of hot tea: Earl Grey. I didn’t like it. (I’ve changed my mind.)

I am a participant in x365.

Cute,” you said, carefully enunciating the next word in our first grade spelling test. “Lou has a cute new puppy.” I looked up furtively, sure that your chosen sample sentence was a coincidence: but you caught my eye with a little smile, and I knew you had remembered my excitement over my new dog.

I am a participant in x365.

You asked neither permission nor forgiveness for your pet frog.  When the camp counsellors tried to shame 100 girls because someone pooped in a shower, you hopped upstairs and bleached it.  “It was mud,” you informed them after their hours-long lecture.  “My nose was next to it.  Nothing but mud.”  Always stepping around the rules.

I am a participant in x365.

My grandmother forbade me to ever ask for one of your roses. It was hard then (and harder now) to believe you didn’t see through my compliments of your roses whenever I visited. But you were generous with those blossoms, and each time I ran home — thrilled! — to find a vase.

I am a participant in x365.

You shook with the effort of containing your fury as we walked away from the camp director. “How dare he?” you spat, still leaning on crutches despite a lifetime of surgeries.

I think he meant to help. I think the prospect of “helping” a poor black teen blinded him to the insult he offered your family, suggesting they weren’t taking care of you. Fucking white man’s burden.

I am a participant in x365.

Fourteen-year-old boys are not known for their judgement, true. But putting a freshly-sharpened pencil in your mouth? Sideways? And then having to chew through it to get it out without drawing the teacher’s attention, all because you didn’t want to take notes in 9th grade science? Seriously?

I am a participant in x365.

A more fair-weather friend I could never hope for.  On the school bus, we were best friends; and from age six to seventeen, I was good enough to play or hang out with if no one else was available.  You weren’t above belittling me for the right audience, all the same.

I am a participant in x365.