Tuesday, February 01, 2005

no excuses

february 2nd.
it is, without a doubt, the one day of the year that is the birthday of more people that i know.
a dear friend....happy birthday Ally-Cat!!!
also, my most favorite aunt, my ex-brother-in-law, my ex boyfriend, to name a few others.

it is also the birthday of my best friend. Cheryl.
cheryl and i met in high school. we were both social outcasts. i was the poor little rich girl. i refused to conform to the rules, and rarely showed up for classes. i didn't care what anyone thought of me and i had very few friends. she was the harley-ridin'-wear-only-harley-shirts tough girl. she was outspoken and seemingly a loner.
we were in a family economics class together. a class project was to emulate a marriage, to learn about budgets, children and whatever. after the entire class had chosen their 'mates', the only two left were cheryl and i. nobody wanted us as a partner. so, the teacher put us together, as 'roommates'. what a pair we made. i dressed in only designer clothes (she used to make fun of all of the gold lame that i wore), and she proclaimed that we could be roomies, if she could park her harley in the living room.
we became friends fast. what a pair we made. we hung out on the weekends, closing down hank's tavern every friday and saturday night. yes, we were only 16/17 years old, but hank's was a shithole and no one ever bothered to card us. i can still hear us singing "carry on" to the top of our lungs.
every saturday morning, she would pick me up, and we would drag our hungover asses into massillon. there was a crappy little italian restaurant named "menchenelli's". for $1.99, we could get a giant plate of spaghetti (for $0.25 more, meatballs too). we were usually paying with pennies, counting them out on the table. we'd then go home and sleep all afternoon, then be back at hank's that night.
we went to dozens of concerts together. she could easily hide six cans of beer in her leather jacket, and get them into the concert for us.
there was one night when we were headed to the bar, in her broken down vw bug that had no tail lights. it was a blinding snowstorm, but we went anyhow. she had me sit in the back seat, and light her zippo in the back window to make up for our lack of tail lights.
we made all sorts of plans together. after graduation, we were going to travel the world. we knew that there was a better life outside of dalton, ohio. and we were gonna find it.
after graduation, cheryl went to broadcasting school in cleveland. i got married and pregnant.
cheryl lived our dream. she lived in london, germany, australia, new zealand, fiji and all over the united states. i would get a postcard from her sporadically. when she came home for visits, it was like she had never left. our friendship never lagged. on one of her visits home, we were at the bar, naturally, and i told her how i envied her life. and how i wish i would have gone with her. she started crying. she envied my life. i had two beautiful babies. i was in college. i had stability and love. so i guess, no one has the 'perfect' life. you make what happiness you can.
she was there for my weddings, the birth of my children, my divorces. she hated my second husband. he had forbidden me to associate with any of my friends. she wouldn't hear of it. she didn't care what he said, she would show up regardless of what he said. she also had him arrested many times when he would beat me up. it was her strength that helped me through that chapter in my life.
about three years had gone by with no word from cheryl. i finally wrote to her mother to see where she was. the next week, cheryl called me. cheryl finally landed in washington dc. she was working for an airline. she found the love of her life. as it happened, my husband, at that time, was also working for an airline. we could finally travel together and do everything that we had dreamed of so many years before.
on a spur of the moment decision, i flew up to dc that next weekend. it was just like old times. everything was perfect. she showed me all of dc. we were just like school girls again.
she was also excitedly planning her trip to south africa in two weeks. she had won the trip in a contest at work. she had to renew her passport, she was packing. i was so excited and envious of her.
we said our goodbyes that sunday at the airport. we had so many plans for when she returned from her trip.
three weeks later. i got a phone call from an old friend in dalton. he said that cheryl was dead. i called him a liar. she isn't dead, she's in south africa. i just saw her.
i was the last one from dalton (including her mom) to ever see her.
her plane landed safely in south africa, but the taxi from the airport wrecked. she died instantly.
i can only take comfort in the fact that she died doing what she loved most.
i don't remember what day (or even what year) that she died on. i don't want to remember. i think it was september, 1993. i remember the cheryl that lives in my heart and memories. i remember her birthday.
tomorrow, February 2, 2005, she would turn 43. God, i miss her.


song lyric of the day: "you my friend, i will defend. and if we change, well i love you anyway."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep writing I like reading.

9:49 AM  

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