Sharon commented on my last post that I "remember every detail" of my childhood, which is ironic since I've spent a lot of this week sifting through the mystery of my brain and questioning a lot of what I've been finding in there, especially the gaps.
Becky died of cancer this week. In a tiny, secluded neighborhood with very few children, she was the girl closest to my age. I cried when I heard she'd died, and cried more as additional memories of the things we did together surfaced. Little moments shared, but they were mostly quiet moments, and too easily forgotten.
Becky was the nicest girl you could meet. I called her Becky Thatcher while I identified to Huckleberry Finn. She laughed and liked the comparison. She laughed a lot. She didn't have the slightest interest in acting out with me. She didn't understand my competitive nature with board games, and didn't want to play Tarzan by swinging on grape vines.
|I couldn't get her to climb the cliff, but she went to the Great Wall of China?!|
The image I have of myself as a child is as quiet and bookish, but Becky made me look like an extraverted rabble rouser. Memories of pointless urging to get her to take risks causes me to notice that I took a lot of them. "Let's climb the cliff!" "Why?" "To see if we can!" "There's nothing up there." "But it's 'there' instead of 'here'!" She shook her head and went home because she refused to witness blood spilling. She was far more sensible than me. She was nicer. Better? Maybe just different?
We waited at the bus stop for 11 years together. We rode the bus to school both ways together every single day. We breathed on the cold windows and made handprints and pictures in the condensation together. She's part of my DNA, and I feel like I took that so much for granted that now it's like examining a wash cloth for my missing skin cells.
It's been a while since we'd seen each other. The last time she was with her mom at the outdoor market and I was with mine. As the moms made polite conversation, she seemed glad to see me, friendly... and we parted ways with smiles and waves never to see each other again. It's inexplicable to me. 53 years old and no more.
My sister has told me not to keep my "death list". It's a sorry, sorry path I travel each time one of my peers in the Glen dies, and I've really got to stop it -- but I won't. Remembering Becky, Donna, Melanie, Barb, Kenny, Timmy, Andy, Earl, even Vaughn is a way to make their lives still current and fool myself that our lives matter.
The more Becky memories that I drag out of my subconscious, the sadder I am to have lost her -- with a pile of regrets that we didn't make more of an effort to keep up with each other than our occasional adult accidental meetings.