This is my best friend. Well, one of them. One of my four super-hot best girlfriends, ever in the world. Isn’t she gorgeous?
Her name is Dede, and she goes by Dee, but I have always called her Ded and probably always will.
We grew up together in Camarillo, and we were inseparable. Half of my childhood life, I spent with her and her family and her animals– I learned to horseback ride with her, and I learned everything I now know about rabbits, horses, chickens, ducks, and even turkeys from my time spent there. And violins, and piano too. Her sister, Fum (Amanda), is the reason I am madly in love with orchestras, namely their string sections.
Ded only recently created her niche in cyberspace, and I even more so only recently discovered this through Fum’s journal. It’s a joy to me to read Ded’s words because I can hear her voice, all the inflections and sarcasm and joyful glee. We don’t talk on the phone much because we’re both busy and, well, because I don’t seem to talk to anyone much these days.
It’s kind of… something– strange? different? intrinsically refreshing?– to read her entries because of the strange tie we have to each other. Growing up together, we built our personalities and our passions and our interests on so many common elements– we read the same books, listened to the same music, watched the same movies, learned the same games, drew the same pictures. There are small phrases she’ll use, in spoken word and even in this journal of hers, and I know exactly what she’s quoting.
Friday nights were spent playing with Legos, Polly Pocket, Super NES, BSC books and animated movies. She would always fall asleep before the movie was over, and I would peer over the edge of the top bunk (I always slept in the top bunk, which I had no problem with) only to find her sprawled out on top of her Aladdin comforter, "Softie," her down pillow which had been worn and loved to the point of a blanket’s thinness, clutched in her hand. There was one Saturday night– I remember it was a Saturday because the next morning we had Sunday School (her family were Christian Scientists, and I went along with Ded and Fum if only for their company, but also I suppose because religion fascinated me, as it still does)– when we found a small spider on the floor of her bedroom. Or maybe it was dangling from the top bunk. In any case, we both freaked out and, the idea of squishing it incomprehensible to us and the idea of waking up her parents to kill it for us equally unreasonable, we fled to her father’s office and slept on his leather couches.
Saturday mornings were typically spent watching cartoons, or whatever morning kids’ shows the stations began to broadcast (like "Fudge"). Breakfast was addictively-sugary cereal (Lucky Charms!) and a bagel, sliced and toasted and smothered in artery-clogging butter. I only loved bagels and butter at her house– they never tasted the same when I tried to do that anywhere else. Same with toasted frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts with butter on the unfrosted side.
One Sunday morning, we decided to make a superior breakfast involving coffee and bacon, all by our professional chef selves. We had to have been 9 or 10 at the time, at the oldest– and, oh, what an experience. Suffice to say, you cannot cook bacon in an oven no matter how long you leave it in there, and peanut butter and buttermilk in coffee a pleasant drink does not make. And then there was the time we tried to make Oreo brownies (box mix) and filled the kitchen with smoke. Once we chipped away at the rock-hard crust on top and made our way to a slightly softer, slightly more edible bottom, however, we found something vaguely resembling brownies that tasted pretty not-bad. Or maybe that’s nostalgia speaking.
We would giggle uncontrollably over scenes in Disney movies, quote word-for-word "The Lion King" and "Sleepless in Seattle." Our first upgrade to not-suitable-for-young-children material came with TLC’s "Crazysexycool" and Boyz II Men’s "II," and we had dreams of writing a book together. We actually wrote that book, save for the last 20 or so pages– we had near 140, typed, when we stopped, and we wrote those pages in the course of a rainy week. It was trash– all that exists of it now is our memories of it, but still I know without a doubt that it was trash– but we were so certain that we were going to become New York Times best-sellers, the youngest authors ever to make it to the top of the list.
And the books. We devoured books, our appetite for the written word constantly raging and begging to be fulfilled. We read crap books (Babysitter’s Club) and actual literature (from Newbery Awards to classical), and always, always, always we had a book in hand. On more than one occasion, we would take down her entire collection of BSC books along with the Little Sister series (a total of at least 100 books), pile them on her bed, and just read one book after another, all day long.
When I moved away, I felt my four months of seniority somehow morph into four years, and I became not overprotective of her, but– responsible, at least in my head. Things took some bad turns in both of our lives after that, and though I knew better then and I know better now, I blamed myself for her hardships, certain that had I never moved, had I been there, physically been there for her, these things would have never happened.
Since then, 10 years later, we’re still close, but in a subconscious way, in the way that sisters who rarely see, or call or write to each other will be close for all eternity because of the bonds they forged in their early years. That’s one of the things I appreciate most about this friendship, especially when I fall into troubled times and I begin to question the direction of my life, begin to question, as all humans do at some point, who I am.
Ded and I have been friends since I was in second grade and she was in first. That means she’s known me for 15 years, which, holy crap, is a really long time. She remembers my first goals and amibitions; she remembers my personality, raw and then uncorrupted by the world, naive and innocent and pure. And when I struggle as I’ve been struggling this past month, it’s a quiet comfort to know that someone like her exists in my life.
She has in no small way an explosive personality, and it’s an intensity we share. She has a wild giggle, a spitfire soul that seems impossible to break or diminish. The wind doesn’t always know where it’s going or how it’s going to get there, but it never stops moving and it gets to that somewhere in time, and that’s a little bit like how Ded is, and the girl has a perseverance worthy of admiration. And the end result is, when she does stop, when she pauses because something serious has happened, something serious is demanding her attention and concern and sympathy and support, the change is so drastically noticeable that it indeed feels like she’s made the world stop, just for you. And if she’s deemed you worth her time, she will do anything in her power to help you, and always unconditionally. She has a heart that knows no limits for the people she loves.
The Guy insists I can’t have four best friends because "best" is a superlative and by definition, there can only be one. I stand firm that I can have as many best friends as I want, dammit, and I don’t have four "really good" girlfriends, I have four BEST girlfriends because each is a best friend in their own right. Ded is my childhood; Heather is my Vegas connection; Natalie is my inner tranquility and so much more; and Bri is my theatre girl, my harsh reality, and my fusion of the other three. And I love all of them wholly, truly, dearly, madly, but not so much in a Savage Garden way.
Pet Peeve: People who continually, persistently, periodically ask
you, "Are you mad? Are you mad? Are you mad? Are you ok?" Well…. by
the 12th time you’ve asked me….I do pretty much feel like socking you
in the face. Leave me alone.