For Michael

Summer, some random year in the 80s, and I am on the old wooden front porch at Mamaw's house. I look up to see a mess of blond hair coming my way. I'm 1/2 excited to get to play, and 1/2 dreading what torture he's going to put me through this time....hoping it doesn't involve being chased by chickens or the dog. We were pretty sure we were going to take over the world back then. The school didn't know what hit them having us together. I remember him being moved to the corner in math class (6th grade) and he even talked to the wall. I have no idea how Mrs. Eicher survived us both at the same time. She has us 3 times a day in 7th grade. She tried to sit us in a line, and we picked on each other relentlessly. Sit us on opposite ends of the class and we threw things at each other. Sat us side by side by side and Michael ended up in the floor thanks to me pulling his desk out. Our names seemed to have stayed on the chalk board, but put together we made one heck of a team. I'll never forget chasing each other around mamaw's trailer, or digging up dirt for our social studies project. We sat for hours building our Vietnam War battlefield, complete with real dirt and "bloody" casualties. He took up for me when bullies started, and he put himself through a week of karate just so I wouldn't be alone when I wanted to start classes. I saved and saved and looked for weeks for him a new metallica CD for Christmas one year, and he was so excited I think he thanked me 10000 times. Of course, he had to get through about that many layers of paper and tape to get to it. An hour later he was sure it had been worth it. We took up for each other when a certain teacher had it out for both of us. Sitting side by side at graduation, we took for up for each other again when the Small brothers kept annoying both of us. I even laughed and said how fitting that my son was born on his birthday-more than a month earlier than his due date. Life took us in different directions, and the times together were few and far between. But I always looked forward to getting together. I will never understand any of this, but I guess understanding really doesn't matter. They say only the good die young....
While my heart breaks, I look back with fondness over the years of memories we shared. And while I am hurt and angry right now, I know one day I'll look to those memories with a smile and happiness.