My posts for the next few days will likely be sporadic as I do not have regular access to an internet connection. However, a nurse was kind enough to let me in on a little-known place on the third floor where I could publish this today.
This post was composed in the earliest hours of this morning.
Sleep eludes me as I sit in this distant hospital room. All around me is silent except for the rythmic breathing from the bed beside me. I am lost in thought.
I am reminded of so many wonderful wonderful childhood memories over these last few days - memories of times past which bring me much happiness. Yet one memory seems to stand out among them all today; it is the memory of confetti.
Julz and I first met in the Bay Village apartments on the corner of Anza and Spencer. We were both quiet, shy young girls who enjoyed devouring good books. I do not recall the exact circumstances which led to our meeting but I will never forget the subsequent years which made us inseparable.
There was the summer that we took turns reading from Stephen King's IT until we were both so completely petrified that we could hardly walk near a sewer grate without the hairs on the back of our necks standing on end. Or the times we would drive endlessly back and forth on the local beach's esplenade in my parent's brown van, hoping to catch a glimpse of certain persons of the male persuasion. We would occasionally hang out with the nighttime crew from Albertson's grocery store or spend late nights just playing Pictionary and laughing at Julie's kitchen table. And these memories are just the beginning.
There were also the nights for confetti.
One integral aspect of our friendship was that it was so much more than just that. Friendship does not quite describe the association between Julie and I over the years. Somewhere amidst those late nights and laughter we became family.
It was not uncommon for Julie and I to have late-night cravings. We habitually wanted fresh donut holes or tall, cold milkshakes but we were not yet old enough to drive. This is where Julie's mom came in. She was always more than happy to get us to our destination - sometimes even when the rest of the world seemed to be asleep. We would wake her, make our request, then off we'd go to Dunkin' Donuts or Norm's at 3:00 a.m. We would return home and need another player for a round of Win, Lose or Draw and Julie's mom would happily step in and join us. These days are where the division between my life and Julie's began to meld and before I knew it I had a new sister and another mother.
Before the days that either of us could drive Julz and I would spend weeks at a time on the floor of her bedroom, cross-legged, cutting large pieces of colored paper into small pieces of colored paper, filling garbage sacks with millions of little treasures as we spoke in eager anticipation of the Big Confetti Day.
I will always remember how comfortable I felt in Julie's little apartment. I could talk to her and her mom about anything and everything. Julie's mom was always happy to teach me any of life's lessons that I didn't quite understand or needed some help with. They noticed when I was in need or struggling and offered helping hands, loving embraces, and of course there was always the food. Grilled cheese sandwiches, home-fried chicken, make-your-own-microwave-burritos, there was never any shortage of vittles. When I was at Julie's I was fed... and I was fed. Nourishment for the body and soul. And that's how it has always been.
When the Big Day came, Julie and I would sit, crouched, behind the bus stop in front of Bay Village. The veil of darkness would help disguise us from the view of occasional cars which would speed down the street. When the coast was clear, we would dash onto the road and scatter a few bags of our homemade confetti all over the intersection, laughing out loud, then run back to the shelter of the bus stop and wait expectantly for the show to begin. As the next car would come speeding past, the air currents would grab the tiny shreds of paper and throw them into the air, a rainbow of color cascading in all directions, whisked every which way; a paper rain-shower in shades of pastel and white littering the street with a surprising beauty - a sight to behold and worth every hour spent creating our spontaneous street party.
Last weekend I received unexpected and difficult news. My husband, understanding this extension of my family, encouraged me to fly 'home' for a visit. For hours here we have talked, laughed, reminisced and been fed. And now, here I sit in mom's hospital room, the dark earliest-morning before the Big Day, in anxious anticipation. I do not know what tomorrow will bring for my 'adopted mother', but I have had opportunity to gather up many colorful memories and recollections. And this morning I am scattering them about, hoping that this evening brings news that is cause for celebration. But regardless of what the day has in store, for me there will always be the splendor of the swirling, colorful confetti.