To my dearest Emma,
Now you and I both know I would never start a letter like that and neither would you. I think I’m trying to be politically correct because this is a public forum but still it sounds so wrong. You and I both know it should read;
Yes, that sounds so much more like it!
It’s been a long time since we last wrote each other a letter. Today seemed fitting to do one again. Last night as I drove home the sky lit up in a brilliant pink. As I recited “Pink Sky Night, Shepard’s Delight” and remembered how you taught it to me as the sky was painted pink one morning as we rode our bikes to junior school, I smiled knowing heaven was getting ready for your birthday party today. I hope your cake is big, bright and colourful and I hope with all those candles they don’t blind you for too long!! Haha! I can hardly believe you are celebrating your 39th birthday today.
So much has changed in our world since you made your way to heaven and I can’t help but wonder how amazing it would be with you here now. With email, cellphones, selfies, whatsapp, facebook and twitter we’d be constantly in touch and we’d never miss a beat.
Sometimes all it takes is a familiar smell or a certain taste to evoke an old memory, making you feel like you are back in time in that moment where it was created.
Remember how we used to ride our bikes to school in the morning, you’d drive by my house and then we’d head off together. As we grew older and headed to high school, I’d walk to your house and we’d head off to high school together. We were so innocent and carefree and all that mattered was giggling at the boy in choir who would pick his nose. We called each other so many names, it was as natural as our parents callings us Emma and Lara. I remember the bean and banana salad your mom used to make and your dogs, Max and Candy like it was all just yesterday. Remember when they moved your swimming pool from the back to the front and that day I dived into the pool and dived to show you something, I dived a little too deep hitting my head on the bottom. A bit confused, water-logged and bedraggled I eventually surfaced and you were looking at me like I was mad. You asked me “what was that?” I said I dived a bit too deep and hit my head, you just laughed and replied, I was wondering what was taking you so long to surface!!
Three words: John-Paul Meyer. Lol, I wonder where in the world he is today and if he still has that wild hair. The guy we loved to hate. Lol, how many times did we run and hide from him. Remember the ridiculously green swimming pool at this house and endless prank calls we used to make with him. He was such a nerd (in our terms) but what fun we used to have!
On the odd occasion I drive down Cross Road in Table View. The minute I turn into the road I think of you. Good old Canary Crescent and the cute blonde boy with the dark-haired friend who lived there. I can’t for the life of me remember their names but if a police sketch artist had to ask me to describe him, he’d be drawing him in no time. You two had such a crush on each other! It was just too cute. I can’t drive down Cross Road and pass Canary Crescent without thinking about you and smiling at the memories and all our drives by’s on our bikes!
Posters of Madonna and Morten Harket from A-ha in your room. I just need to hear one of their 80’s or 90′s songs and I’m flooded with memories again. The blonde chick from The Bangles still makes me think of you even though you look nothing like her. Danced we did and sing our hearts out into our clenched fists. We were so well on our way to become those famous singers one day. I hope you still practicing up there, I sing at every opportunity I get. I bet you have the voice of an angel now. I, however, am still no good! I will endeavour to keep practicing…
Don’t even let me get started with Chesney Hawks! I will never forget the day I told you something about him and your reply to me was simply “Are you mad? Have you seen him up close?!” I still listen to one of his songs in my car when I drive and sing my heart out (you would be proud) and I can see you shaking your head in heaven “Oh no, not again!” What do you know, I still know all the words. I will never forget your absolute horror and then laughter at what I said! Moments like that I treasure deeply.
Top of the Pops! We were always putting it on then running outside to swim again. When our favourite artists came on we’d race to the window to watch through the window. Long live the 80’s! Remember the coca-cola song we loved so much? We knew all the words. I still do! I never hear that song anymore but sometimes the tune comes out of nowhere and starts playing in my head. These little reminders are the best! Sometimes now, when I think of you, I call up the song on YouTube and it takes me straight back to Hawk Crescent.
Queue wobbly knees and scrambling for the window again to get the best view… It was your man’s turn next…!
This morning on the radio they were having a debate about smooth or crunchy peanut butter. This then led to talks about what everyone got for school lunch. It made me think of our school lunches, you always had the best lunches with awesome goodies that made me drool! Playing red rover on the school field, jumping through the skipping rope, and sitting on the stands catching up with our friends during break time. And how many hours did we spend writing and passing notes around classroom to each other hoping the teacher didn’t catch up. Trying to stifle a laugh and remaining undetected by the teacher was always difficult but it never stopped us. How we used to cringe when one of our notes got confiscated.
Those were the days!
I still laugh really hard when I think back to that day we were walking down the street to the shop and the park. We were so engaged in our conversation as we walked next to each other we were not watching where we were going. Next moment you are no longer next to me and I heard a vibrating sound of metal. I turned back to see where you had gone to only to find you standing in front of a pole looking slightly dazed and confused. You had walked into the pole so hard the pole was still vibrating! I laughed so hard I cried. Within minutes you were sporting a bump the size of Signal Hill on your forehead and it was as red as Rudolph’s nose! It was impossible to look at you after that without collapsing into a completely uncontrollable raucous laughter.
The case of the missing sandwich still makes me laugh out aloud. We searched for it for ages only to eventually find it stuck to the back of your leg. I mean really!!
The game we used to play with others, where one was blindfolded and the other one was seated on a bar stool with one leg tucked under them and an arm hidden under their clothes. It was the story of pirate; we told them how he’s lost his arm and his leg while leading their hand over the ‘lost body parts’. Remember how we told them how he lost his eye and promptly stuck their outstretched fingers into the insides of a soft-boiled egg with them thinking it’s the eye socket!! Hahahaha, the looks on their faces got us every time! I still remember when you did it for the first time!
I recall with a smile the photobooth photos we used to take. Whenever I walk past one of those old photo booths now, I long to climb in and pull funny faces with you. We could never walk past one without popping our money in and climbing inside to pull some faces for the camera! More than anything I wish we could be together in the today’s world where everyone takes selfies and I could have one with my best bestie.
Out of all the words to describe you, I think the word that is most accurate is kind. And no wonder being friends with you all these years has made me someone I’m proud to be. Words are insufficient, but you need to know how awesomely awesome you still are to me. I promise to always be here, somewhere in the background to remind you every day, lest you ever doubt it.
You and I grew up together. You and I learned about life together. We saw each other move from clueless pre-pubescent kids with colouring books and crayons to teenagers with embarrassing obsessions and truck loads of school work. We waded through life together, through the laughter, the illness, the heartbreaks, the memories we were making, only to find ourselves so much stronger. You taught me about courage, hope, dreams and so much more.
It’s so hard to forget someone who gave me so much to remember. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little piece of infinity that we got to share. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
I miss you, I miss us, I miss every little moment that created our friendship. I miss your smile, and the times we would laugh insanely for many hours, I miss the sound of your voice and how we talked on the phone for endless hours even after we’d spent the whole day together, I miss the sleep overs, the singing and the silliness. I miss laughing so hard we’d end up snorting cool drink out our noses because the laughter would just not stop. I miss the pet names we used to call each other. I miss dreaming up ridiculous dreams with you. I miss when we were an indestructible force. I miss the quiet moments when words were unnecessary for communication between us, when the stare between our eyes spoke of many beautiful thoughts. The truth of the matter is I don’t think I will ever let you go, your spirit, your heart, your friendship, how can I? …you are my true soul friend. We talked about CF often and I can still breathe in the smell of your nebuliser but you never told me what it would be like without you in my life. We never talked about death because we were far too busy living, and even though we both knew, we expected and dreamed like we’d live forever.
It was you and me against the world and the world didn’t stand a chance.
We had a ball!
We are more than friendship or a piece of history, we are the epitome of what unconditional love, friendship and understanding is. You had a higher purpose and you showed me mine. We will always have an indestructible destiny, you and I. This is why even when great distance put you so far away from me, I can still feel you and hear you clearly, keeping faith and hoping my next lifetime comes more quickly…
As I drove home from work today I wanted to stop at the beach and just spend some time close to nature where I know I will feel even closer to you. But true to Cape Town’s winter, a Cape Storm is currently in the throes of lashing out and it’s pouring with rain and I know in my heart of hearts that you would hate to see me looking like a drowned rat just for you! You’d laugh for sure but I know you wouldn’t want me to get wet. Lol, gosh how I miss you!
Blow out all your candles on your cake tonight with those beautiful new lungs you have in heaven and know I carry your memory in my heart every single day. I am so thankful I met you in the 3rd grade because life without you would’ve totally sucked.
It appears I’m still taking the long way to heaven my friend… But one day when the time is just perfect, I know you will be waiting at those pearly gates for me. Until then, keep watching over all of us who were blessed enough to share in your wonderful life.
Thank you for teaching me how to dream and how to live.
Happy birthday my beautiful best friend and soul sister in heaven! Today I’m loving you and celebrating you from this side of heaven.
I love you ALWAYS…
Thank you for so many amazing memories!
Your best friend forever and ever xxx
~ My best friend, Emma Walker, is the inspiration behind my blog Walking4Air and my inspiration to climb the Seven Summits of the world to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. I still miss her every single day. ~