This Is How You Remind Me


I'm sure I've already told you this or surely you've figured it out by now, but I'm kind of an asshole. I've lost touch with a lot of friends and the rest are around only because they won't let me forget. It's not (usually) intentional, but I just lose touch.

So I had this friend. We met in pre-school and although we were pretty much total opposites, we quickly became friends. So at some point, it ended up that I was her "best friend since pre-school!!!"

Our relationship suffered highs and lows but we always considered each other as a best friend.

And of course, we've mostly fallen out of touch. But for some reason today, I remembered something that I had totally forgotten. And which I can't believe I had forgotten because it was so incredibly tragic. Maybe I blocked it out.

She was her daddy's girl. He spoiled her rotten. And then when we were freshmen in high school, he suddenly had an issue with his heart.

One night, we had a music program. We belted our songs out at the top of our lungs and I left with a friend to hit the Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. She left with her boyfriend.

At home, I finished up my homework and then went to bed, just like any other night. Everything was normal.

And then the phone woke me. In the darkness, I heard my mom get up and answer the phone.

"Hello?" My mom's voice was tinged with both fear and annoyance. And then anger when she thought it was perhaps a wrong number or prank. "What? I cannot understand you!"

And then she sounded concerned. Saying things like "Calm down." Asking "Where are you?"

I had forgotten all of this and now I can only remember bits and pieces. It was my friend. They had called the ambulance to come help her dad. She thought he had a heart attack. She didn't know what to do.

So my mom and I went to the house. All the lights were on and the doors were open, but no one was home. We went to the Emergency Room and they were there. I don't remember who was there. I don't remember seeing any faces. Not even my friend's. I remember people praying. "Our Father, who art in heaven . . ." "Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death . . ."

I remember her mom clutching something. A Bible? A hand? I can just remember the clutch. Like maybe if she held on hard enough, he wouldn't leave. But he did. And I remember the wail.

I can't remember what happened after that. I don't know if we went back to the house. I don't know if I tried to comfort anyone or said a word. I remember making it home and heading straight back to the bed where my dad was sleeping and grabbing a hold of him and bawling.

And so what kind of a prick am I? This girl, who called me--for some reason wanted me to come be with her while her father was dying; she cared that much about me and I've just let it go.

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