We started bonding at the beginning of 5th grade and hung tough until our massive falling out, the kind that only teenage girls seem to get caught up in, midway through the 9th grade. I only partially remember what we’d been fighting about, but gradually grew up enough to realize it was more my fault than hers.
I think of her every time I hear a ditty from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and still prominently display the monogrammed piano-shaped music box she gave me. Some of the gold plating has worn off, but the song (“Memory” from Cats) still plays on command.
She killed herself when we were in our early twenties. I found out months afterwards, when I was back home on a break from school and someone handed me a clipped-out obituary blurb from the local paper.
Her dad worked for the hospital where I candy striped. Post-fallout, when I semi-regularly ran into him in the hallways, he never treated me any differently from when I used to rock out at his house or he used to drive me to school. Details about certain people, places, and politics from that era have become hazy, but I’m pretty sure today’s his birthday too.