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  • One year. It seems now like it flew right past me even though I'm sure, if I think hard enough, there were times it seemed like it might never end. It seems like just yesterday we were there, in the thick of it, and then she wasn't going to make it, and then she was gone and we were saying goodbye.

    I miss the silly stuff. The lazy Saturday afternoons after we hadn't spoke in a couple of weeks and suddenly she would call and say, "Airplane is on" or "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" or "Better Off Dead." And then we'd sit on the phone quoting from them while watching together, laughing hysterically -- "Sorry I blew up your mom, Ricky." "That's a shame, folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that." "Stop calling me Shirley." "My dad has a righteous set of tools -- I can fix it.". Or the times we would call and try to freak each other out by making the ghost noise from "The Grudge". Which one of us decided it was a good idea to watch that movie late at night?

    I miss the way we bickered over the history of our shared childhood. The details of a long remembered family road trip -- did dad really turn the car around in Montana, halfway to Canada? Or did he just pull over for a minute? (He turned around. But then he turned around again.) Whose idea was it to spy on our parents in hopes of overhearing what we were getting for Christmas? (Hers, I know -- she always had the good ideas.) Who was meaner to Stacey -- her or me? (She was.)

    I miss her retelling of the Epic Falling Off the Roof Story. God damn it, she was funny. People say I'm funny, but I'm telling you, I learned it from her -- she was fucking hilarious. She could tell you the dumb old joke about the "frayed knot" and it sounded like some shit Eddie Murphy made up back in the day.

    I miss rolling my eyes over her quirks -- her hermit-like tendencies, her penchant for worrying herself sick over nothing, her insistence on driving a 20-year-old car, her loathing of small children and teenagers but the soft spot for the ages in between.

    I miss telling her what music to listen to. She had shit taste in music once she made it out of her teen years -- back then she heard all the cool bands first but in recent years, she had let things slide to the point that I had to introduce her to Disturbed, not the other way around.

    I miss the way she smelled, that perfume that she wore from Bath & Body Works. I miss the way she called my son her "little bear" because when he was born, he had fathomless dark eyes like a little black bear and she never got over it. I miss laughing with her about how she had a complete panic meltdown on the day of her wedding -- not because she was nervous about getting married, but because so many people would be looking at her. I miss seeing her dainty little fingers holding a cigarette, hiding outside during family events.

    I miss the 41 years that she was still here with me. I miss all the time we didn't get to spend. I always assumed we would be old ladies together, vacationing with one of our aging husbands at the wheel. I guess not, and I miss that too.

    So since there won't be new memories to make, the one I will hold with me is the basement in Britannia Beach -- she is four, I am two, and we are looking at our shadows on the concrete wall. Her head has become long and tall in the shadow, like Bert on Sesame Street. My head has become squat and round, like Ernie's. But she says, "I'm like a Hot Dog Head, and you are like a Hamburger Head."

    And the names just stuck.
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