I am still in a funk from work that I can’t seem to break out of. I think I mentioned starting a string of depressing posts. If I didn’t, here I go. I don’t know how long it will take me to write these, how many I will include, or how dispersed among other posts they will be but I am going to write about the people I have lost in my life. Some died, some walked away from me, and some I walked away from.
My first friends I remember having were also my two best friends growing up. The three of us were close.
I met Ilze when I was 3. We lived in the same apartment complex and hung out together all the time. I remember eating dinner at her apartment and her mother serving milk with the meal. We weren’t done until that milk was gone.
Ilze and I both moved into houses but we biked between them. In elementary school, Ilze and Parisa (story follows) met and the three of us became inseparable. It comes along with living in a small town and growing up in the 80s and 90s when we let our children wander on bikes and on foot all day.
We had a crush on the same boy and neither of us ever had anything come of it but I remember the day that Ilze told me she was going to get a new crush so it didn’t hurt our friendship. We knew we had something special.
The three of us used to have sleepovers all the time. Typically not at my house. It was one of the early ways I had of getting away from my mother.
The day Ilze had her first period was in elementary school. She told me first. I was walking to school and her mom was driving her and stopped to let us walk together. Even after she was gone I still emailed her to tell her first when it was my turn.
Elementary school passed with the three of us always attached. We said we wouldn’t let middle school change that. But it did. Change and aging does that.
Ilze moved away after 7th grade. A mutual friend threw the going away party and thanks to drama, didn’t invite me. I was crushed. This was in the days that we were just starting to get online and not a lot of people had the internet in my home town. We had email but staying in touch is difficult.
I only saw her once again a few years later. Her grandmother who still lived in town was sick and she came to visit. She remembered my number – oh the days of land lines and memorizing. She called and we met up. She was so different and so was I. It had been too long and I wanted it to be the same as it always was but it just wasn’t. We are facebook friends now but we haven’t talked since. That was probably 15 years ago.
I met Parisa in nursery school. We were destined to be best friends. We were both quiet and smart so naturally we formed a bond. We helped each other with our particular shyness. She would ask the teachers to let me go to the bathroom and I would do the talking around adults and ask for things we wanted. It made sense and it worked.
I was the only one who could call her Peezee and she was the only one who could call me Mandy. Her mom called me Manda and was the mother I never had. I was always at her house. We had sleepovers nearly every weekend and her mom never complained. She took us to the mall, arcade, video store, wherever we wanted to go. Sometimes Ilze was with us and sometimes it was just Parisa and myself.
I still remember the smell of their house and the air fresheners her mom bought. I remember singing the 12 days of Christmas and other songs. We were into Paula Cole and Shawn Colvin and the like.
We used to carpool together and hangout after school until all the parents got home. Even after it all went to heck that carpool went on. Our brothers were friends too.
Middle school can be the death of friendship. The summer before we started, Parisa lost a bunch of weight and became more outgoing. She became one of the popular kids, I wasn’t. She stopped caring so much about school and I stayed a nerd.
We tried to make it work for a while but all our hang out times went away as she made room for her new social life. I was being phased out.
She and I still ate lunch at the same table but no one there would talk to me. It was the popular table and it was clear I didn’t belong. I was making other friends too. I did not know how to handle the feelings I had and I was invited to sit somewhere else. I sent Parisa an email letting her know that I was changing tables and why. She shared it with everyone at that table and they made fun of me for it for months. Parisa joined in. It was clear we weren’t friends anymore. Sometimes you have to grow apart and sometimes people push you down to elevate themselves.
A few years later Parisa moved away too. She came by my house to catch up and say goodbye. We hadn’t spoken at all in over a year. It made no sense. We aren’t even facebook friends now and haven’t seen each other or talked since. We were briefly friends on facebook but she unfriended me.
All those memories sit with me. The movies, the sleepovers, going to the park, flipping my bike and cracking the helmet in half and Parisa getting her mom to come help, going to the corner store and getting candy, late night talking, riding bikes everywhere, etc. I still remember both of their old phone numbers.
A piece of me misses them and the times we had growing up. Knowing that someone was always there for you and your problems didn’t seem that bad. But they are no longer part of my life.