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I won’t ever forget you. Not ever. I won’t forget how you were always there, the brother I never had. I won’t forget how you comforted me when my dad got hit by that van in fourth grade. That was a sad time, remember? I remember how he promised to take you fishing for the first time, but never got the chance because you were visiting your granny that summer. I still wish I could’ve gone with you. It was boring at my house.
We met in second grade, remember that? That was one of the best days of my life, I didn’t know it then, but it was. I was the new girl. That was the year I had moved. I was walking to sit down for lunch, and I tripped and spilled tomato sauce all over myself. You helped me, remember? I should stop saying that word. Of course you remember. I forget how smart you are. Anyways, you were the only kid that would help me. You got me paper towels, the kind the janitor used, that were soft, unlike the ones in the bathroom, that made our hands chafe. You wet them, and gave me the spare pair of clothes you had in your backpack. They were weird for me, because they were your boy’s clothes. And I had been wearing my brand new lacy dress that my mom had told me to never ruin. That argument was scary. We were best friends after that.
In fifth grade, our last year in elementary school, we started getting teased. Especially as kids started to get meaner. They thought we were “going out”, which was absolute ridicule, because we loathed the idea of anyone going on a date. That was the worst year of elementary school ever, because we were in different classes. We hardly saw each other, and when we did, we were made fun of. I missed you then, I don’t know if you know that.
We started middle school together. That, I was glad of. You know, I wanted desperately for you to come to public school with me. Everything was so easy for you, and it was so much harder for me. Your parents were going to try to send you to a new school, one for genius kids. At least, that’s how I thought of it. I didn’t want you to go there. I was secretly singing inside when you didn’t get accepted. Instead, you went to my school. I was so easy for you there, but the teachers gave you harder work compared to the other students. Sometimes I feel bad for you going there with me. It was too easy. You couldn’t grow much, academically. Sorry. All the way through eighth grade, you were still my best friend. The other boys wanted you to join all of the sports teams. Basketball, soccer, baseball, all of them. You turned them down every time. I didn’t like the other girls. They were so glitzy and pretty and obsessive, and I hated that about them. I didn’t want anything to do with the brats. You were my only real friend, and I liked how straightforward you were. It made things fun and easy.
We also went to the same high school. I have to admit this, and you know, it isn’t easy for me. I had a little crush on you at that time. It was all the hormones. I think that was it, at least. I don’t know, really. This time was when school got really hard. Calculus, algebra, you know the stuff. The torture of classwork. I tried to get you to see how much I cared about you. Really, I did. You didn’t seem to notice me as much in high school. You were obsessed with this one girl, Emma, I think. Yes. Emma Geralds. You liked her very much. Always trying to get her attention. I hated that. She was pretty, yes. Athletic, yes. Optimistic, yes. Mysterious, yes. All the things you were drawn to. You also started to be drawn to sports. You got a lot lazier. You cared less about school. Your grades dropped significantly. Mine flew up like a rocket. I got a ton of A’s. I wished you would find out about that. Then Emma asked you out. You said yes, of course. I wanted to scream. I did, when I got home that night. I scared my mom. She comforted me. She told me I shouldn’t bother with you anymore. I didn’t agree. I wasn’t about to just give up on our friendship. A few months after you went out with Emma, she broke up with you. It crushed you. I was super happy, I just didn’t show it. Then you started to cry. I’d never seen you cry before, Sam. Never. I put my arms around you. I hugged you. It didn’t seem to help, so I left. We started talking again. It was just like it was before. Only this time, you were busier with basketball than with chess. I missed the real you. The you I had known all of my life.
College. Woah. I didn’t know it would come so fast. There were so many colleges to choose from. I hoped we’d be at the same one. Turns out, we were. You were there on a basketball scholarship. I was there to be a teacher.
You invited me to your high school graduation party. You stuck with me the entire time. We ate our roast beef barbecue sandwiches under the oak trees. We used your mom’s old picnic blanket. At night, we watched the fireworks together. They were beautiful, by the way. We kissed then, remember? It was my first kiss. I didn’t know what to think about it at first. We went out after that. We had a lot of fun in college.
When we graduated, you proposed to me. I remember how I shrieked in joy and surprise. I remember what you said. Those words were amazing, and they touch my heart to this day. I said yes. Remember my face, how blotchy it must’ve looked? I cried a ton. I only did that because I couldn’t believe that you actually loved me after all this time. Man, I was so naive.
I remember our daughter. We named her Belle. She was such a pretty baby. Her laughter killed me inside, it was so beautiful. She was amazing. Then she died. She got sick. It broke my heart. She was only a year old, and hadn’t experienced anything in the world. Only a little sliver of the gigantic world. Do you remember how she giggled when you tickled her belly? Or when we blew raspberries on it? I want to hear it again. Over and over. I wish I had recorded it. Oh, the year we had Belle was truly wonderful.
I hate thinking about how we argued. You began to get so mad at how I didn’t appreciate your basketball. And how I never finished anything, even though I was almost never home because I was teaching. You began to pick our marriage apart. It broke me. I hated it. I loved you so much, even though you were sick of me. I missed your caring, considerate personality from a decade ago. When we had Belle. You wanted to divorce. I wouldn’t let you. I thought we might have a chance. Then we went through marriage classes, and it was all fixed. We were happy again. We were happy with our marriage and lived in peace for a long time.
Then we grew old together. I missed being young and spry. We only had a few visitors in the old folks’ home. That place was miserable. You had respiratory problems. You could hardly breathe. You couldn’t walk. I could. I was stronger at the time. I didn’t want to be, though. I wished we could die together, at the same time. The way things had always been. The two of us. Rarely seen without the other. I remember clasping your frail, dying hand in mine when you passed away on a chilly November evening. I wish you were still with me. I’m still sitting here, looking out the window for you. You always loved the sparrow that sat outside. I wish I were with you. I love you, Sam. I wish I were with you now, and I know I will be soon.
With all of my love,
Your best friend and loving widow,