She dated my ex-boyfriend not long after we had broken up.
I hated her guts for it.
He bought me loads of clothes at Wet Seal.
He took HER to Hawaii.
Long over the awkward boy that made me weep, chop off my hair and dye it burgundy, I still felt a sense of ownership and couldn’t stand that he had moved on with this tiny blonde.
She was MINE.
I tortured her in the hallways, I in my size nine Doc Marten boots.
She in her size 4 sandals.
I called her names when she walked by and if you’ve every rhymed with your child, you may already be familiar with some of these names.
I peeled with laughter when their prom pictures came in, laughing at the chopsticks in her hair, their height difference, her dress.
I was out for vengeance.
Eventually they broke up.
And suddenly I stopped caring about either one of them.
It was over a homecoming game, I, a cheerleader from the previous year, she a cheerleader in that one. My left arm was velcroed to my chest ( that’s a different post all together), and I was unable to wear my uniform, let alone cheer that night. She took a risk and invited me onto her cheer podium, and I took a risk and accepted. I cheered alongside her that night, pom pom in one hand, two senior girls united by a common foe.
A stupid boy.
We became inseparable after that night. Our friendship was fast, fun, furious. We ditched buses on the way to senior events, riding instead in her red Mazda, Madonna cranked up, screaming lyrics on the freeways of sunny southern California. We were wild and she was dating a 20-something who gave her a key to his Huntington Beach apartment. We had the world in the palm of our hand.
College came and she moved away. I would go visit her up North, always coming home with a headache and fuzzy memories. We did our best to survive but life threw bad choices and mistakes, distance and heartbreak our way and soon we hadn’t talked in a very long time.
But God has a way of bringing people together.
Especially those that deserve a second chance.
And a third.
My second born and her first are three months apart. If possible, they are closer than her and I.
She is generous in her compliments, but break her heart and you pay the price.
She treats my babies like they are her own.
I know where she keeps the extra toilet paper and her bathroom scale is set 1.5 pounds higher than mine.
She has repainted the inside of her house no less than ten times.
She can bake chocolate chip cookies. Without flour. Or chocolate chips.
She asks tough questions and accepts the answers. Without judgment.
She provokes thought and change and she inspired me to teach (among other things).
She doesn’t giver herself enough credit and always gives me too much.
She was in the ER when Monchichi had Kawasaki Syndrome, or suffered a round of non-stop seizures, bringing tacos, magazines, and mismatched jammies in giant duffle bags.
She is honest, sometimes painfully so, but it has only served to make me a better person.
She loves my family because it is her family too.
On Wednesday, she dropped off enough fruits and veggies to feed the greater part of downtown LA. She demanded I go to urgent care and drove my sniffling, sweaty, fatigued butt down there herself, filling out my medical forms and forging my signature while she asked for a private room “because things aren’t looking too good right now.”
We take turns you know.
She has a bad week, I take over.
I have a bad month, and suddenly she’s back in charge.
She is more than my best friend.
She’s my wife.
And every woman should have one.
As long as you leave MINE alone.
*Love you Ethel.