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My Best Friend


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Cali was 15 when she died, I was only 10. I was a very shy, very sensitive girl and was very close to her. When I was 7, my mom had a babygirl that was born dead. Ever since, I felt guilty and angry... had I done something wrong? was it my fault?

Cali was very nice to me, so understanding and... real. She didn't treat me as a crybaby, she treated me as a little girl who was in grief.

Cali and me used to go to ballet class together. I was a top student at my school and to be beaten by her talent made me jealous. I started to feel uncomfortable around her. I wanted so bad to be the best at everything.

About two days after I became aware of my jealousy her mom had planned a small bday luncheon for her. It would be small because a month after it would be her "quinceaños" the equivalent to a sweet sixteen party.

My mom asked me to go, it was a sunday, I remember that well. I said no, I said I was too tired and I would see her in the next class we had together. I am so sorry of this.

A few hours later my mom returned still carrying this big fluffy white teddy bear that had a small ball in its hands and was inside a plastic bag with a big red ribbon. Cali was sick, so her mother took her to the hospital.

I was shocked but I calmed myself with the idea that she would be just fine. After all, she had successfully battled  hepatitis the year before (and therefore she had to repeat 8th grade).

But this time was different.

At first, there was a slight recovery. "She ate a small piece of papaya!" announced once my mom after we picked her up from the hospital where she visited her  almost everyday. "She asks for you" she would say "She wants so bad to come home to have another sleepover with you".

I could only feel disgusted from being jealous before. She was still nice to me, even though I had missed her bday party.

Then, around the date of her "real" party, about a month after her birthday, on the first days of march... she died. I have blocked many things of this event... her birth date, her death date.... Everything in my mind is such a mess.

I'm so sorry that the last time I saw Cali, she was dressed in her quinceañera outfit, inside a coffin, where I could see a tiny streak of white around her hands of the glue used to place them together. Her gown was pink, a nice shade of pink, she even had a small flower tiara...

I didn't cry. My mom hates tears so I didn't cry so she wouldn't get angry. I couldn't even smile. I was there. I stood near the grave when they lowered her into the ground, when they put the big cement plates on top, when they poured in some fresh cement, when her mom drew a star (her name in nahuatl meant "star") with her name on one side, when we all let go helium balloons while listening to a song that is about a girl that waits under a rainbow to be reunited with a long lost love.

But I never cried.

And I never came back to visit her.

Once, we went to the cementary but we couldn't find her grave... About six months ago we came back, and we found her. But still I didn't cry because the person next to me was my mom and she still gets mad if I cry.

I want to go back, on my own, just to visit her. Just to cry there because it was so unfair. She was only 15, for God's sake!

Sometimes, I wonder if she by now would have kids, she would be 24 you know... And on really bad days I wonder if we would still have been friends.

My first poem was about her, so I owe to her the talent that has made me pursuit my dreams.

I cry alone sometimes... If I see a nice flower, if I see a particularly great sunset...

The worst part is that her memory is fading. I can't recall her voice, only the high pitch she reached while whining when her older brother tickled her. I didn't kept any pictures, so I was almost forgetting her.

But then, not so long ago, I found a great picture. I'm looking towards the camera, a fashion mess at ten looking shocked by the flash, and she's looking the other way. She looks bored and is sitting only like a bored teen girl would do. I love that picture, it shows her that she was not perfect, she was just a girl...

I plan to live long enough and to have good experiences... to live enough for both of us. I've been class president, I've been newspaper editor, actress, aspiring filmmaker, writer, designer, missionary... all the stuff she never had the chance to do...

And maybe someday, (if it just happens like most of the stuff in my life) I wind up with a baby girl her name will be Cali.

I enclose the poem I wrote when I found the pic I talked about.

In Another Life

Today I found a picture of you,

almost ten years have passed

and you're still part of me

even if I don't want.

While I'm looking at your face

I realize you were human after all

that you weren't the idealized image

that time in my mind has fo... see allrmed.

You are in every of my tears

and all of my smiles

And I wonder if you would be proud or simply fear

what now I am.

Because I have sinned for so long

and prayed almost as much

since I've lived what you could not

I'm young but I feel so old.

And I know I'm too evil, too loose,

to meet you at the gates of heaven,

so I dream of catching up with you...

but maybe in another life.



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