Coming up, it seemed as though we were inseparable. I reminisce back on the days of kindergarten, and trading the grape ICEEs I detested for your cherry medicine-flavored ones. I smile at the thought of you kneeling down to help me tie my shoelaces because I had not yet learned to do so. To the onlooking elder it could have appeared that I was too stubborn to learn, and you too caring not to help. Truth is, I had become so lazily conformed to my velcro-strapped Mary Janes, I had no use for acknowledging those pesky strings until the new white shoes with flashing soles were now forcing my steps.
I also recall the days of piecing together primary hues of blues, reds, and yellows to solve puzzles--puzzles not so complicated. You know, the ones that only contained seven large pieces and took about five minutes to figure out. Those that didn't take all the time in the world to solve and pull back together, effortlessly. Memories swirl around in my mind about the girl who had the answer for everything back then, or so it seemed. Remember when you told me the constant shaking of my heavily adorned ponytails would soon result in a rattled brain, lest I soon quit? You probably don't remember that I never shook those ponytails another day after, either.
I think back on your sharp mind and your mastery of rote memorization. You memorized Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech way back when we could have been no more than 8 years old. How you did that, I would never know. In fact, I never could get that speech down pat like you. I guess I could have been the smart one. But you were the visibly smarter one.
We shared stories, sympathy, and even a bit of empathy, laced with hugs, tears, smiles, and laughter. We were so giving of ourselves then. I knew it was okay to drop off a secret or two with you, because you would care for it, and never tell a soul about it. The emergence of my secret would not change my overall appearance in your eyes either, and that in and of itself was a gem. For some reason though, looking back on those days are a painful reminder of presently sharing little to no feelings, hugs, tears, or laughter. There are rarely any stories shared, which is a shame. Because you knew better than anyone else, how much I loved them.