"I will remember you. Will you remember me. Don't let your life pass you by. Weep not for the memories.." Sarah Mclaghlan's I will remember you
She was the Angel who saved me from disaster because she was disaster herself. There will be many people you will meet throughout these chronicles who in one way or another, made a lasting impression on me. Some were good, some were bad. All were lessons well worth remembering...
The first time we met was in choir. I am chuckling to myself right now at the irony in that statement.. she loves music, but cannot carry a tune to save her ass ;) She sat on my right side, not realizing I'm deaf in that ear and so began a timid friendship. She smiled, was polite, but refused to talk in more than one or two syllable sentences.. and people thought I was shy! It was the only class we really ever had together. It was through our short, but growing longer, conversations that I began to really get her. To form a friendship that is as strong as ever today. She introduced me to Pamy, Misty, and Danielle. I introduced her to Missy, Christina, Christina's sister Melissa, Inger,Sandra and my brother. Now there was something I didn't see coming..but that was because of how I viewed him.
We all ate lunch together( not my brother, he stayed well away from me), we all had a bond in common. Pam was our consistent one. She struggled with homework, but always made the grade. She would get so furious with me and Triana because we never had to study like she did in order to get the concepts. Misty was the thoughtful one. Danielle was our gothic chic. Christina & Inger were our "alternative lifestyle" couple, and Missy was chatty and Melissa was the little sister who was always standing around listening into the conversation saying, "Whatcha doing?" Not a one of us was alike, but most of us knew something about the pain that life sometimes brings.We never talked about those pains though, I think that was our common bond. That understanding.
It's a little nostalgic thinking of those days right now, Melissa recently passed away last October. She had been battling severe heart issues since she was 22. 4 major heart surgeries- 2 of which involved transplants. I was one of the last people to get to speak to her..all because her and her family had come into Habitat asking how to apply for a home the year before. I hadn't seen her since the day I graduated.
Soooo, back to the story. These were my friends at the high school. We laughed, we passed notes all the time. I did try to talk to a few other people in school, people who I thought were nice. One of the girls I graduated with I sat with one time at lunch.. I don't know how the subject came up, but it never, ever came up again. I learned a lesson about people from her. We somehow got on the subject of why I didn't talk all that much and I explained to her my short version of changing schools all the time and a few of the things that happened in my childhood. I learned very quickly-a reaffirmation of what I already knew but wanted to believe differently- that people don't want the truth because the truth is too hard to believe.
I could tell from the rapidly changing expressions on her face that she at first felt pity (like anyone needs that) and then after realizing she couldn't handle the words of the conversation- she assumed that somehow it was all made up, that somehow I would lie about those things. It was a sad assumption to make and it made me very aware of why it was important to not share too much with people. I could never bring myself to lie about anything you see, so the only thing I could do was simply not say anything. To be watchful and mindful of what to say and how to say it.
At home, Phil and Mom finally got married. I was still depressed and spent 90% of my time in my room. I even got into trouble for drawing a huge mural on my wall. It was beautiful, one of my best works during that time, but they went and got paneling to cover it up. Brown paneling with bears and forest scenery on it. My sister got to pick it out.
We constructed the barn. I had to use a manual post hole digger to dig 4 feet down, 2ftx 2ft, for nearly 16 square Amish cut posts. I was so mad at Eddie and Amy because they did not help much with that aspect of the building. We did the entire barn by ourselves. You should have seen me trying to carry a few sheets of shingles up a ladder and onto the soon to be roof. It was probably a sight to see!
Once we got the barn done, Phil bought us our first real live pony. Star was his name. That damn pony was the most fiesty thing I ever have encountered. But it was the gesture that meant so much. I was really wishing for a driver's license, a car, a way to get away. But the pony worked for now. I learned how to bail hay that summer- 50-75 pound bales, slinging them up on the wagon. I learned how to clean a horse stall. I learn how to clean out their feet. I learned how to ride-well ok somewhat, I admit that I was not very good riding at any rate. You would have laughed your ass off at the sight of me trying to ride bareback. It was like slow motion, watching me slide off from one side to the other. But that pony's belly was fat I tell you! How in the hell do you expect someone to keep their short ass legs wrapped around a horse who I'm sure felt smug at the fact that I could not stay on him without a saddle?!
It was that summer I took driver's ed. Phil taught me many lessons that I will forever remember, but this one still stands out. Mom and Phil didn't have the money to send me you see, but I asked him anyway. He made a deal with me, I find the money for the training course- he'd buy the car and insurance, as long as I paid it back. He looked at me and said after that "Always remember April, the worst anyone can ever tell you is no." He was telling me that No was not the end of the world and that there was always a way- you just have to find it yourself. He was always pointing out valueable life things. He once told me that I will be able to call few friends in life true friends. "You'll be lucky if you can count them on one hand." he said. He garnered much respect from me for having shown me how to do things myself, rather than doing it for me.
The start of my 11th grade year,was also the beginning of Triana's 360 degree personality change( her 10th grade year).The first was she chopped off all the long hair and it was now shoulder length. Second, there was no trace of shyness anywhere. She tried out for every stinking sport event there was I think! Not me, sports was not for me. I am hopelessly clumsy. We didn't live very far away from each other and soon, she riding her horse over to my house across many neighboring fields. Leave it to her to turn American life into a past time western show...
But it was when I got my driver's license and car that things really got interesting.....