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January 10, 2016
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Now Billy, Billy Don't You Lose My Number...

January 10, 2016

Today's prompt is this: Homies. Friends are our chosen family. They have the wonderful capacity to make us laugh till we cry, to hold us up in dark hours and to keep our secrets under lock and key. Tell a friendship story.

So, I will dedicate this post to one my favorite people...

To my friend:
I knew the only way to ensure I got your attention was to title this with a Phil Collins lyric. I’ve been thinking a lot about the things you’ve loved lately; drives with your sun roof open blaring Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5, pretzels with cream cheese, spray butter, vodka tonics, using funny voices to attribute nicknames to people and our regular hangouts. I’ve been thinking how it seems impossible to sum up the impact you’ve had on me, the unique imprint you’ve made year after year for 20 years, and impress upon you the indelible mark you’ve left – a mark whose foundation was mostly etched while we were in college.

I knew we were destined for the long haul as a Freshman, watching you hobble across the treacherous cobblestones of Charleston’s campus from party to party with a giant cast on your foot, and as you called it, your “dude haircut” – the same one I had gotten that we spent years lamenting.

As housemates, we bonded over the Wednesday night ritual of seeing the reggae band Ras Bonghi at your favorite bar Captain Harry’s – a place that looked like it was out of a Jimmy Buffet song with large barrels of peanuts whose cracked shells littered the floor. And you ALWAYS wore the same type of outfit; heeled boots, your black skirt, and one of your favorite three-quarter length tops.

There were our inside jokes, such as the many conversations about our landlord’s “long flowing locks.”

There were late night discussions about your horoscope and the reasoning that much of your personality could be chocked up to the fact that you were a “Pisces/Aries cusp baby.”

There were hard truths, such as the time I had to point out that a pizza box containing a handful of mini liquor bottles was in fact not a romantic birthday gift from the guy you were seeing.

There was comfort, like when we would share a room – one of us helping the other nurse the occasional broken heart.

There were the thousands of thoughtful gestures, like the care package of Hershey Kisses you sent me on Valentine’s Day while I was studying abroad, because I was single and you knew I wasn’t getting anything from anyone else.

Maybe most importantly what I learned in those years is about your strength, your unapologetic belief in what is right and how people should be treated, your integrity, and selflessness, your very ability to consistently exude passion in life…in living.

These traits served you well these past years as a true friend, a compassionate counselor, a loyal sister, a loving daughter, an honest wife, a proud and devoted mother. They were the same traits that served you these past 18 months as you battled for your life against cancer and what turned out to be devastating odds.

For me, and so many others, January 2 will no longer ever just be the day after New Year’s.

I want you to know that when I think of you, firstly, I will always think of your laugh – a bright, clear laugh that could infect a room of people and on so many occasions made me feel way funnier than I am.

I hope that I was as good to you as you were to me. I hope I was the friend you needed me to be. I wish I had answers as to why this had to happen. I pray your oldest, a four year old, is able to have memories of you that are his own and not just told to him by someone else.

I thank God for knowing you; I am better for knowing you; I would not be the same without you. I thank God for blessing me with someone that truly got me, who grew with me through so many impressionable experiences, and will embody some of the best years of my life. I could go on and on about what you mean to me but I won’t, I was fortunate enough to be able to tell you before you left.

What I will say, though it seems vastly inadequate to state it so simply, is that I will miss you.

Goodbye for now, my sweet, beautiful, hilarious friend.

#emilystrong

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