Sometimes I confuse your high school graduation party with the one following your funeral. They each took place in your backyard, sun shining. Both times I ate potato salad and drank wine coolers we were too young to drink. At one your knee touched mine and our laughter held no sadness. At the other, my tears soaked through the paper plate.
We dipped our fingers in pools of butter at the bottom of the bowl, laughing till we couldn’t breathe, wiping the grease off on each other’s bare arms. You agreed with Bette Davis: “Don’t let’s ask for the moon.”
Nightly, we practiced. Meet you in the stars, we’d say and hang up our rotary phones. I’m still waiting, still searching.
We didn’t go. You framed the picture of us on your couch, smiling, Zoe’s hulking golden retriever body sandwiched in the middle. I wore that green dress with tiny flowers for years.
New Year’s Eve
Virgin strawberry daiquiris at Chi-Chi’s and movies on the VCR. Home before midnight to watch the ball drop with our parents but I called you right at 12. One ring, hang up, call back, so you’d know it was me. You answered.
Closed casket. Photo of you in your favorite overalls and rune necklace. Your dad said, Just call her up! I think he was crying.
Was your favorite. Plans cancelled, stay indoors. Romantic. Like Heathcliff and stormy moors. Sometimes you didn’t pick up the phone even when you were there.
I never finished reading it. I don’t want to know how it ends.
Georgia Bellas is a writer, artist, and filmmaker whose current obsession is ventriloquism. She and Dan Nielsen are the Wisconsin-based duo Sugar Whiskey (https://sugarwhiskey.com/), a post-minimalist art band. You can follow her teddy bear, host of the award-winning weekly Internet radio show “Mr. Bear’s Violet Hour Saloon”, on Twitter @MrBearStumpy.
(Next: Preying by Lucinda Kempe)
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