|L-R: My brother Matt, Kimmy, Me|
I guess it's been almost 30 years! Hard to believe. I still call her Kimmy. She still calls me Ann-marie. That's how we knew each other back in the day. Considering I don't remember much of the first twelve years of childhood, she is the largest portion of that, which ain't saying much. My memory sucks. I didn't remember she came to my wedding! (embarrassing) "I brought my boyfriend at the time" she says, chastising my memory, "...a horrid guy that talked and walked like a mobster! And....I spent $33.00 on a beige vase that looked like this (forming the shape of a woman with her hands). I don't know why I bought it. But I sure remember how much it cost. I couldn't afford it." I look at her apologetically. "It's still sitting on my kitchen table!" I blatantly lie. She laughs. Knows it isn't true.
We order our food. Her daughter got to order the perfectly sized portion of Fettucini Alfredo because she's a kid. We have to order the overly sized-pay-too-much for it portions because we're adults...only we aren't. We are both kids...she still...me becoming. My polenta was disgusting. "Send it back" Kimmy says. I sigh. "I'm not the type to send food back" I say. "Well..." she says, "lucky for you...I am!" My food goes back and the price is removed from the bill. I am watching Kimmy's facial expressions, and the timbre of her voice...the way it rises and falls, the way her hands move across the table. It is all so familiar. I consider that she really was a lifeline for me at one time. A strong, immeasurably assuring, solid girl...firm in herself. We are the same age. She always seemed older. Even she thought she was.
"I don't remember any of the other mothers", Kimmy says, "...but I remember Lucille." I ask her why. She thought, thinks, remembers, knows, my mom is "scary". She remembers always being in trouble at my house. "You don't remember us dancing around the bedroom with only our shirts on and singing?" she asks. No. I don't. I was four. Does anyone remember four? Kimmy does. "You're mom was just beside herself that we would do such a thing. She yelled at us and sent me home right away."
Kimmy remembers driving places with us. She and I would always be in the back seat. She said, "You don't remember how your mom would always look at you in the rear view mirror and say, "Smile Ann-Marie?" No, I don't. I was four. Does anyone remember four? Kimmy does. "You would always smile obediently", she said. I say, "I have so many pictures of me as a child where the smile never reached my eyes." Kimmy's daughter questions this, and Kimmy explains that you can tell when a smile is not genuine. Her daughter nods. She is almost nine. Does she remember four? Nobody remembers four. Right?
I do remember Kimmy and I singing on the swings in my backyard, legs pumping, arms straining, singing and singing and singing. We talk about this and wind up breaking into song: You Are My Sunshine....two parts. We finish a few verses and the whole restaurant claps. "Are you two sisters?" the waitress asks. We laugh. Kimmy says to me, "I love you, you know! I wasn't sure what you'd be like now. But I feel like we just picked up where we left off." I nod. It's true. I trust her. Hard to imagine that I do, but I sense she had my back at four. I sense I wouldn't have made it through those years without her. I sense she'd still be there for me if I needed her.
"We can't go another 30 years!" She says.
"No, we can't."
|Me and Kimmy now|