1998 was the year I graduated high school,
and it was the year that I spread my wings and started to fly
towards college in a small town in Oregon called Corvallis.
I was the last child to leave the nest, it was such a good roost,
I don't think I was ready. I know my parents weren't ready.
I remember working that summer, excited, nervous, and sad.
It was hard to put myself in my parent's shoes, I know I will
have to someday, but not yet. Not yet.
They were clever, they dropped me off at the dorm,
and then left, got on a plane, and flew to Ireland for a month.
It's a good thing they did, because I would have probably
dropped out, come home, and lived with them forever.
It was a hard goodbye. I'm still mad, they should have just
taken me with them, we would have had the best time ever.
So, whatever Mom and Dad. Humph. I'm only like, 1/2 Irish,
it's only one of my homelands. Geez.
My roommate and I didn't gel, so I set out to make some friends.
But it was hard. I remember sitting in my dorm room writing letters
to friends (this was back when the internet was new, email was new,
letters and mail were still and exciting part of life). So long ago I had
the 1st generation Apple Macintosh SE, with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing
and Oregon Trail (I have mad typing skills, thank you Mavis Beacon).
I was in a hall of girls, the ones right across the hall were also
not my people, but they had 2 baby turtles so I visited for
turtle time. There were a few girls that I did like, one in particular
was funny, and clearly was there to have a GOOD TIME EVERY DAY.
I could hear her very distinct laugh from across campus.
She was always out, busy, she was on crew, had friends, was
driving home to go to raves (!) on the weekends, I was trying out
combat boots, trying a new hairstyle, trying to figure out who I was
as an independent "woman" and trying to shrug off the high school
nerd I had been. (Now, in retrospect, high school me was a lot more astute
and like-able then I gave her credit for).
So this hilarious girl would haze the crap out of me. I was trying SO HARD
to be cool! And she kept razzing me. We had Psychology 101 together,
in one of those massive lecture halls that hold 800 people. I remember
walking in (by myself) with my boots, hair done, makeup on, all of it.
Cool ice queen. Studious. Smart. Looking like I didn't need anybody.
From across this enormous room, someone yelled out:
"HEY BETH! DID ANYONE EVER TELL YOU YOU'RE UGGGGLLLLY?"
I whipped around, and there was this girl, Becca, grinning at me,
ear to ear. Like the Cheshire Cat. I think I yelled back something like
"NO YOU ARE YOUUU" but I was stumped. Why was this super cool chick
even giving me the time of day? Was it the hair? The boots?
Now that I know her like I know myself, she was hazing me until I would be her friend.
I know this, because she told me. Girl cannot keep a secret it it's a funny one.
She knows her stuff, teasing is an indestructible method when it comes to me.
I'm my father's daughter, so I love being teased. It totally worked, damnit.
We started to REALLY hang out. And realized we both hated our roommates,
and our roommates hated us. So, we hatched a plan and asked them if THEY
wanted to be roommates, and they accepted so fast, they moved out in a day.
And then, we had 9 months of total paradise. We did everything together,
we did EVERYTHING in those 9 amazing and unforgettable months.
Tongues pierced, raves, bad TV, cracking each other up in class, going
to concerts (Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love, natch).
We walked the entire town every night, raided her mom's care packages,
had "who will take out the garbage first' competitions (I always lost,
she would NOT TAKE OUT THE FUCKING TRASH BECAUSE SHE IS SO COMPETITIVE.
It would be 5 feet tall and still climbing up the wall and she would drop
someone on top of Mt. Trashmore and sail on by RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME),
I remember we were on the cover of the school paper, us sitting in front
of the memorial union. It looks like we are studying, it was a beautiful shot
with cherry blossoms, the promise of spring, the glory of higher education,
but we were really pouring mini bottles of booze into sodas and laughing
at everyone walking by. I have the picture framed somewhere,
I'll try to find it. it makes me crack up still.
I knew I had found my person. Someone who actually got my sense of
humor, wanted to do the things I liked to do. I learned so much from her that
first year. She calls it "making your own fun", and it's her life motto. If she
is having a good time, that is really all that matters. She taught me how to
stop taking myself so seriously, how to let go and just have fun, how to
really party and have a GOOD TIME, and she taught me what it was like to
really have a best friend. She put up with me listening to Dark Side of the Moon
EVERY NIGHT FOR A YEAR, so she deserves some medal (Meddle, get it Dude?)
I remember one night, we were tipsy on something,
and wandered into the middle of the quad, laid on the school seal,
held hands, and made each other laugh until we basically peed our pants. I miss our
walks, I miss us being outside together, I miss all of the craziness we used to
get into (and I think we still do, there is no denying that, LOL).
Now we are older (in age, but not in maturity level), and the bond we had
then is the same, deepened over time. I'm so proud of her for all she
has done in the world, how hard she works, how happy she is in her relationship,
what a good partner she is, how much she loves my family, how much she loves
her own family, how much she loves me. I love her beyond all things.
We save each other from time to time, from the side of the freeway with a broken car,
from despair, from bad relationships, limp each other through deaths,
even when I was sick and we couldn't see each other, she would send me
things to make me laugh, it made me feel like I had more ground (any ground)
to stand on.
We lived apart for a long time, and those years were hard, something just didn't
feel right. we were both trying to find our paths, we didn't even live in the same
state anymore. All we had were the memories we had created (so many stories
for another time, I will get there). But, now she is home. The pandemic has
eased, at least for a bit. She moved close enough to be able to get to our house
in 15 minutes. I keep trying to get she and her partner to buy the house at the
end of the cul de sac (what a weird word), but I will settle for anything that keeps
her close. I am so lucky. I love her, not just because she is one of the most
amazing humans on the planet, but also because of a story she told last night about
how during a Bingo game, she named her team "Dumbledore Dies in Chapter 28"
right after the book came out. Knowing that every time their team scored, those
words would be read out OVER AND OVER. Who does that??? My best friend, that's who.
*Puffs up bird feathers proudly*