My childhood memories revolve around that little white house at the end of the cul-de-sac. Her mother paid me $5.01 — two Lincolns, as she said — to mow whenever the Sergeant was on base. A stickler for the perfect lawn, he claimed any frisbees that landed there.
She was my best buddy. Summer afternoons we’d bike to the creek. I’d splash through the cool water, oblivious to her tied t-shirt and cutoffs.
Evenings I’d memorize twenty digits of pi for extra credit, and she’d dress as George Washington for rehearsal. I’d gush about cheerleader crushes, and she’d let me win at Mario Kart. Then we’d laugh until her mother came to check that the bedroom door was open.
Graduation day we hugged, cheered, and celebrated freedom. Graduation night we drank, cried, and promised we’d be friends forever. Though I met new people at college, she was always on my mind. I awaited her daily emails about Poli. Sci. class… then doctors… then T-cell counts.
That summer, silence echoed through her empty room. She had moved down the road, to a stone building, on an immaculate lawn inside a wrought iron fence. That little white house will never be the same without her.