I can’t stop thinking …
… how I was the fastest girl in fifth grade until you moved to town. Mr. Hickman made us race – just us two – in a 440-yard dash. Not much of a dash for me. I petered out on the third curve, and you smoked. my. butt. I never got to run anchor leg in relay practice again, but on the plus side, our relay team was a force to be reckoned with that year at the annual Alfalfa County elementary school track meet. I was happy to cheer you on – and to not have to run the 440-yard “dash” again.
… how Matt had been my boyfriend for more than a year until you moved to town. I couldn’t blame him. You swept him off his feet, and the rest of us, too.
… how I was over-the-moon excited when we became “neighbors.” The only thing that separated our houses was our back yards and the railroad tracks. I’d sneak over, and we’d play Donkey Kong (when Jason would let us) and eat up all the Schwann man enchiladas and drink up all your mom’s Dr. Pepper, and boy, would she be mad!
… how you were the first girl I ever met who wasn’t afraid to fart in front of boys and how you were the first and only girl (and person) to go No. 2 in the clubhouse “bathroom,” which consisted of two shallow holes that we dug in the ground out back. 😂 Kory and Travis discovered your deposit, and we helped you convince them that a dog laid that giant turd. They weren’t convinced, but until this moment, they never heard otherwise from me.
… how you didn’t show up for school one day and then your mom brought you at noon recess and your arms were all bandaged up. When we ran up to you to welcome you back and get the scoop, your mom said, “She was cooking bacon and spilled some bacon grease on herself.” What 11-year-old gets to cook bacon??? You were cool for getting to cook bacon.
… how you always had to wash the dishes after school before you could do anything and how sometimes, but not usually, I would help you.
… how your dingy comments would make us laugh hysterically and how your straight As never ceased to impress us.
… how you were just a few weeks younger than me and how I remember your birthday every single year, but I haven’t told you happy birthday probably since high school.
… how at basketball camp you managed to get a third-degree, perfectly triangular-shaped burn in the crack of your cleavage and Coach Carter told you to practice without a bra. Not an option for you, girlfriend.
… how … your boobs. Tho girl, seriously. You had a love-hate relationship with them. We just had a jealousy to which only maturing girls can relate.
… how when you moved to Pagosa, a piece of my heart moved there, too, and how I would check the mailbox every day to see if another letter from you was in there. And how when we moved to Thailand eight and a half years ago I got rid of almost everything I owned, but I kept your letters, and I cherish them more than you will ever know. I’m sorry you didn’t know.
… how you got a new car before you even got a license and how you drove all the way to Oklahoma from Colorado to see me and peeled out about a thousand times in my driveway and down our dirt rode. And how that was not long after “the wreck,” so it scared the living crap out of me, so you stopped. And then laughed and laughed and laughed, right in my face … and hammered the gas pedal to the floor without even looking at the road. You were the shits. I never rode with you again.
… how my phone rang when I was in college and it was you. You’d found me. You. Found. Me. I am the one who usually finds people. I recognized your voice when you said, “Is this Korina?” I didn’t need to hear, “This is Tracy.” I certainly didn’t need to hear the clarifying “Reavis” that followed. And how you were sad that day, and I complained I’d quit smoking and had gotten fat. You said you’d been depressed and couldn’t eat and that you were weighing in at 90 pounds. And how I never talked to you again until 2013 when your sweet mama died and how even then I didn’t bother to say more, to call, to follow up, to find you.
… how I thought I couldn’t feel these feelings about death anymore and how I thought the nine who went before you had caused me to use all of those feelings up. And how I was so wrong.
… how I’m happy I had a friend like you whose laughter still rings in my ears, whose wide smile I can still picture in my mind … and whose farts still linger in my nose.
… how I pray you’re home now, happy and hugging our girl who went before you, and how the Class of ‘90 will join you both one day, and we’ll celebrate the greatest class reunion ever.
Together we laughed. Together we cried. Together, forever … we couldn’t decide.