Gumby Rules.

I remember the first day you spoke to me. We were sitting at the table closest to the classroom door. There were three kids per table- myself, Bonnie, and you. It was the second week of school and our science teacher had already showed us a cat spine and a raccoon’s brain in a jar like a mad scientist, opening the way for many possible conversations. That day we were given an a project to do and Bonnie wasn’t in school that day.

I don’t remember the assignment. I don’t know what we were doing but as I was trying to figure out the directions, you had already created a drawing of a car and pretended to drive it over to my side of the table. It looked like a Herbie VW Bug and the window was cut out. It stopped in front of me and Gumby came out of the window. “Gumby rules!”you said and I laughed. We giggled while we were scolded, which made it worse and we had to BE QUIET for the rest of the class. That proved to be impossible. We laughed all day.

We discovered we both loved to read, draw, and many other similar things 11 year old girls liked at that time. You were different, you saw things very differently than most people. You saw me and you didn’t mind my inability to finish sentences or the weirdnessI seemed to carry around. I was your friend for life.

On a sunny day during recess, I said “As long as I am your friend, I will always be there for you no matter what. I will always be here for you I will never leave you alone.”

I know you felt alone that day and I meant every word until the day you left this earth 21 years ago.

After we went through the car accident that almost took my mother’s life, we used to say that pieces of our souls broke off and went into each others’ bodies. Every time, when I needed you the most even if I wasn’t aware of it, you would just be there. It was magic. We used to joke about how crazy it was.

I do miss you. I close my eyes and sit in silence, trying to remember what your laugh sounded like. Not a day goes by without me thinking about something you would have said, a fun day we had, or a laugh that made my heart burst. I tell my girls that I had the most amazing person as my best friend who was so creative, artistic, funny, and talented.

I used to think I broke the promise I made to you. Some days I still feel like I did. You were alone the day you died. You came into the apartment and I was mad at the mud your boots left on the rug. I threw away the note you left me. I didn’t see that moment for what it was. You were saying goodbye to me.

I drove over the bridge in October when my cousin Jason had asked me to bring Izzie to be in his school film project. The location was in Rhode Island and Apple Maps directed me to go on the bridge. As I approached it I stared at the license plate in front of me. I could feel my heart coming out of my chest. I glanced in the mirror to see how Izzie was. I knew she was nervous about being in the short film. She was fine listening to her music in the backseat and enjoying the view out of the window. She looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and turned back around quickly. I relaxed a little and noticed how beautiful and perfect it was. It was so you.

When people kill themselves, they leave behind so many questions for their loved ones. I had many for a few years after you died but as time passes, I start to understand a little more. I do my best to quiet the voice that tells me I broke my promise. Most days I can’t hear it. Each day I strive to be a good friend and person. I remember the person you saw on that day in September 1984. I miss you every Christy, I pray my girls find an amazing friend like you who sees them perfectly like you did for me. A friend like you is a gift.

Happy Birthday. We love you.

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