I met her on a school bus. I transferred to the rural district the start of my sophomore year of high school. I'm not sure what clicked with us. I honestly wish I could remember. What was the point when we just bonded? I'm not sure anymore.
Even though she was two years younger than me, we became thicker than thieves. We were an odd pair ... best friends who ran in different circles. I was an art chick ... a drama chick. I was either in the art room with hands stained with charcoal and ink ... or I was on the stage acting out my future as a star. She was quiet. She worked backstage ... managing the lighting and sound crew. She stood back and let me be the center of attention.
I have this amazing memory of us ... or rather a series of memories. We loved to sing in the car together. We would try to harmonize ... Shooting Star by Bad Company was our favorite ... but we would just as happily break out into Bon Jovi. I would bet my next paycheck that we sounded like dogs howling ... but, God, we were happy. We wanted out of that backwater hole-in-the-wall more than we wanted air. So as soon as we got our licenses, we drove to town every chance we got. And every trip ... we sang.
She's the sister I never had. We held each other's secrets for the last 30 years. I think she'd be alright if I shared one ...
Everyone always thought I was the brave one. Everyone thought I was the brash one and the outgoing one. But for the first time ... when I was broken ... she stepped in and was brave for me.
When everything fell apart last year for me ... I was so beyond damaged. I met her and her husband's friend by chance ... and even though I thought I was being nonchalant ... I think she knew I liked him. Sometime in the fall, she started saying, "Why don't you ask Stoney to do such and such with us?" and I would refuse. I told her more than once, "He'll just say no." Truth is ... I was afraid. She knew ... so she would ask him instead. Sometimes (more often than not), he'd say yes ... and she would inevitably text me and say, "Seeeeeee ..."
Somehow, we had changed roles ... and she was now the fearless sister. Even in December, she said, "Hey, ask him if he'll go see the Christmas lights with us!" and I still wouldn't. The idea of hearing no ... I'd just been hurt so much I couldn't do anymore. And so she kept texting him ... asking him to movies. Asking him to meet us for dinner. At some point ... I think in January ... we were on the phone talking about everything and she started laughing, "You know, first ... he's not going to tell you no. Second ... I can't ask him out on dates for you for the rest of your life."
I'm better now ... okay, well getting better. She slowly took me back to being me ... and I never had a chance to tell her thank you. She was the brave one. She was the strong one. She welcomed me back when everything fell apart ... she said she knew one day we would find each other again. But the truth is ... all those years ago ... it was always her. If I was brash and outgoing ... it was because she was there to catch me if I fell.
We need a miracle. She's important to me ... to all of us. There were two dozen people at the hospital today ... who all need her to pull through this. It's not time ... not yet.
Bottle of whiskey, sleeping tablets by his head.
Johnny's life passed him by like a warm summer day
If you listen to the wind you can still hear him play
Bad Company - Shooting Star