As I write this, your bracelet delicately taps the keyboard. I have been avoiding writing this for too long – placing self-looming dates on my mourning. I’d be ready come Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, our birthdays. And now, shockingly and horribly, it has been an entire year.
I have been avoiding writing this soul-crushing piece for weeks, months, decades emotionally. I’m scared that writing it all down will remove the beautiful sing-song of your voice from my head. I am so terrified of forgetting your voice.
You dance throughout my room. Your picture hangs at every corner, your jewelry on the wall. Your clothes are mixed with mine, in a different way than when we 16, ie: folded. The other memories are in a box, airtight. I’m so scared of opening it and no longer smelling you.
You are everywhere.
The last thing Brynne sent to me was the Gypsy NYT article about how no one in our generation was ever happy because we had unrealistic expectations that well, we should be. Brynne loved that article, as it simplified her suffering and put to words the old mantra we were stricken by, “you cannot have your cake and eat it too.” This was on Thursday; right before that Saturday. We texted, bailed on plans to go to the dog park. You told me you loved me, and to keep my head up, I disgruntly said I’d try.
January 3rd was the first time I lifted my head and realized that I had been forced to start a chapter marked by Brynne’s disappearance. Although admittedly, that term is far too heavy. She has not disappeared, but rather taken the form of energy. I feel her everywhere. She is every song on the radio, and every soul crushing memory. Her physical being is gone, and I cannot help but mark it as the next, how-could-this-be chapter of my life.
A year ago, I had never really mourned. Loss was something I tragically knew at a young age, but never in an adult sense. Never was I able to cognitively feel it in every single one of my bones.
I first met B at the bus top in 4th grade. As 8 year old girls, Brynne was kind while others were cady. Even then, she had an intrinsic glow that attracted people to her; she was self-aware. Boys, teachers, parents, peers: everyone was so drawn to her innate energy and radiant smile. And, whether by circumstance or the fact that we were soulmates – she chose me to be her friend. Blonde and brunette, sweet, wounded, curious and excited – we were a team.
For years, we had the same routine: depending on the year, it alternated
who was on the bus first. We would share the burnt buttered bagel (she liked them that way) her mom packed her daily. We’d gab, (about who knows what, as we had spent the entire evening prior on the phone as well) parting at school, only to reunite for lunch and for the ride home. Occasionally, intentionally missing the bus, for boys, of course. Every weekend, we’d meet at the bus stop (the ½ way pt) and walk to Ajs, getting diet cokes and salad containers filled mostly with croutons – always a bit beyond our years, trying to figure out our simplistic, adolescent lives.
In High School, we were typical girls. We were emotional, still (read: always) trying to figure out ourselves through a mess of hair dye, radical clothing decisions, and testing our parents. We were always distraught about something that wasn’t significant, creating drama as an escape from our lives. We’d have sleepovers and stay on the phone w boys all night, standing up and wrapping ourselves like burritos in our blankets, and yelling, “burrito blankets!!” the whole damn time, deciding the fate of our relationships by how 14, 15, 16 year old boys pronounced Ramen. At some point, our teenage angst went down different paths. Brynne never needed to rebel like I did – she was undoubtedly filled w questions about herself, but she always knew to stick close to loved ones, she always stayed true to herself. While our friendship ebbed a bit in our late teens/early twenties, we were always unified. We could always pick up the phone and catch up within a second, and whenever that happened, we were always surprised that even if on extremes, we were going through the same things.
The truth is that I will never have another friend like Brynne. People just aren’t made the way she was. When I meet new people and have to explain to them who Brynne was, the best way I can explain it is by saying how Jen, B and I were all in a group chat for months and months. Often, I would look at my phone after having it face-down at work, only to find that I had seriously 35 text messages, all between Brynne and Jen. Brynne and I would do the same thing to Jen; Jen and I, to B. But Jen and I were the only ones that would react. We would get so mad when we would see that string of texts we weren’t apart of and we would always ask the other two to take it to a private chat. We would beg. Brynne and I would tease Jen for her desperation, refusing to move the chat elsewhere. I would get bitchy, but Brynne never once asked that we take it to a private chat, that we go away. She just would say she loved seeing them, and they made her smile. She was pretty perfect like that.
I’ve learned that mourning means it’s okay to take a time out. That mourning is physical and emotional state of being. That it duly occupies your heart and mind (normally so at war.) While mourning, you learn that rather than the typical appreciation you have for your over-active brain, you find the times you forget to be the closest to peace. You are thankful you can forget. More thankful that you can still remember. Sad, at the prospect that there will be no new memories, a thing that was once in abundance is now a treasure chest filled with this rare, obscure substance. The way Brynne made me feel is now only mimicked in dreams and flashes of reminders that she will always be by my side.
I’d be absolutely full of it I stated that being Brynne’s friend was easy. No one persevered quite like Brynne and there was absolutely no one more stubborn, more opinionated. It wasn’t enough to score the job or meet a cute, smart guy, no, Brynne wanted the whole kit ‘n caboodle. She was tough as hell on herself, and on her friends, but with reason and intention, and while at times (many, many times) it was hard to take, well, she knew what she wanted and that was the absolute best for herself and for those lucky enough to be loved by her. She would get frustrated by how much she cared about us, by how annoying it was when we’d make the wrong decisions. She’d throw up her hands and make an inaudible noise, rolling her eyes – a bitchy comment shortly behind, “whatever you think is best.” She just wanted everyone to be happy, before even herself. As my workout partner, I would text her when I was feeling weak, “I NEED a salad from AJs!!” (yes, this was still a thing) and she knew what I meant – I merely wanted the croutons. She would text me back w the calorie count, stating that I could have 5. We both knew, I’d have 25, for which, I’d get that side-eye glance, yet again. No one else had taken the time to figure out the calories in each individual crouton, no one else could ever be that formulated, passionate, and slightly out of control – a beautiful mess, as she’d always say.
September’s will always be terrible and my heart will never be full. I read and re-read your blog, knowing what a private person you were and seeing your pain, written so candidly and so freaken positively that it hurts. But that was you, positive and smiling. I look at the pinterest pin you saved, “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.” It hurts, in that I don’t know any other 25 year olds, well, besides you and apparently Taylor Swift (who you hated by the way), who think of their legacies. Who feel so deeply. My heart aches at your absence. It hurts to breath and yet I think of what a fighter you were, what a true badass, and I just know you love me. Your love is everywhere and I suppose the whole wide world is just going to have to live off of that, as if it was enough.