As a little blonde haired girl, I walk down my street just two houses down with my mother. It is time to have coffee and visit with the neighbor lady, Maxine. My excitement is high because I will play with Maxine's daughter, Shelly. This is special because Shelly is older and smarter and plays more fun games than my other friends, like Jason across the street who makes her play Star Wars action figures or Kristi who always cries.Over four years had passed since I saw Shelly this month. Living on the same street, so many of our childhood lives mirrored each other. Our older brothers were partners in crime and made it their quest to torture and commit acts of childhood cruelty upon us and any of our friends. Our mothers coffeed together until we went to school and then, worked at the same business. Our fathers enjoyed the pride they felt standing by their grills most summer evenings outside in our front yards. Shelly is present in most of my vivid childhood memories.
Shelly makes up the best Barbie stories. I dress them and she narrates. She likes to pull the cushions off the couch downstairs and make a fort. She isn't afraid to climb the trees behind our houses or argue with the boys. Where I might not want to join the wiffle ball game in progress in the middle of our street, Shelly jumps right in.
There comes a time when my mother and I go to Maxine's for coffee, but Shelly is not there. I am told that she is at school now and won't be home until 3:00. So I wait. I wait for two whole years until I can go to school with Shelly and ride the bus with Shelly and have after school snacks with Shelly.
Since Shelly was older, she had a ten-speed bike a few years before I did. Shelly was there the day I finally received by baby-blue Schwinn 10-speed bike. I am sure she was there the day that I got my hot-wheel when I was a pre-schooler. Shelly shared her wisdom with me throughout her life since she was two years older than myself. I recall my first junior high dance where there were so many unwritten rules and so much anxiety. I am not sure if Shelly shared the etiquette of teenage dancing with me, but I am sure that I felt better having her there.
After four years passing and 28 years of knowing each other, we connected with old stories and new laughs.