Because anyone could easily catch us quoting one of our all-time favorite movies, Just Friends, I would pair the following story with this song. Michelle, this is for you.
We lie around on the sofa, letting our limbs hang like sloths sleeping on the highest, spindly branch on one of the tallest trees in the jungle.
We jump all over the living room, never allowing our bare feet to touch the carpet. Only the tops of the tables, sofa arms, chair seats, and smooth wooden benches can be our space for solid ground. Otherwise, I’ll lose the game and once again fall short of your heightened coordination and careful attention as you hop from the side table, to the sofa’s arm, to the velvet chair cushion.
We build the fort of blankets on the limbs of the tree outside, dragging the white metal table and chairs inside the structure for the summer tea party. While you run inside the house just for a minute, I manage to crash down on the metal table and eventually bounce down to the grass in a painful heap. That left a bruise. I obviously don’t do as good of a job without your guided expertise in the building process.
You’re growing out of playing Barbies with me, but you’re still nice enough to pretend for just a while longer. While I play the character of only one Barbie, you’re forced to play the characters of the rest of the fifteen plus Barbies. Including the much-needed male characters.
You start to collect and read every Star Wars book imaginable. I begin to fling my entire body in front of the TV screen as you try to watch one Star Wars movie after another, my small fingers gripping onto Barbie’s hair.
Suddenly we’re old enough to seriously worry about boys. And homework. Then college. And jobs. And money.
We ski on the slopes with the bits of snow flying into our faces; I scream out of sheer fear, and you turn around to laugh, of course. We try to split the gas and hotel fees for our summer trip to the beach, and we realize how rusty our math has really become. You flip the sausage, pour the syrup on the waffles, and stir the sugar cubes into the tea, serving all three to me as I sit at your table, one swinging foot hitting the chair rung every now and again. Our dogs sniff the floors and bark at the cars, and we lung after them when they start running full speed. You fall in a heap on the grass while we walk the dogs on the college campus near your new house, and I turn around to laugh, of course.
You’re a year older today, and I’m close behind you. Based on our past record, I suppose I should admit that we’ll be there for one another, whether it’s to lend a hand or offer an ear. And every one in a while, one of us is bound to turn around at the other and laugh. Of course.