My beautiful best childhood friend has found me! She walked me to my first day of Grade 1. Arm in arm. She helped me learn to tie my shoes. We made little houses from shoe boxes and figured out when the new shoes showed up. We smoked a false cigarette made of prairie grasses. Danced ballet in the back yard and dressed up in real glass high heels. Spit sunflower seeds like perfect ladies. Almost 10 feet! Dressed the dogs in ruffles and lace and same with the little brothers. Hopscotched everywhere. Even when there were no hopscotch squares. Skipped and learned to double dutch and pepper. Became blood sisters forever by cutting with glass and rubbing fingers together.
She started to feel sick and I wasn't allowed to visit. The disease struck her heart. Scary during times when polio still existed and things like rheumatic fever were still common.
I sat heart broken on my porch and watched her house for hours in perfect vigil. I had already experienced the terrible separation that death meant. I stopped sleeping altogether.
I was called to her bedside when the priest came for last rites. Tiny me. Her mother begged my mom to let me be there. A life altering experience to say the least. They prayed over her which scared me. She had a little flowered nightie on and was not conscious. I was asked to hold her hand and tell her I loved her and I wanted her to come back. She didn't even look like Linda. And being me I talked and talked and she squeezed my hand. I would come back tomorrow.
Her mother kissed and kissed me and I saw her father cry hard. She wasn't going to live through the night. Whispers from all the adults on watch. Call day or night. We are right across the alley.
I didn't know kids could die.
I did come back and every day for a long time. At first she just lay on the bed. Sunken eyes and very sad, exhausted little face. I brought her drawings and paper dolls I made. I saved every penny I found and managed to buy her a paper doll with real hair. I scrounged all the Eaton's catalogues I could. So we could do cut outs. And we did. Read books. Did dot to dots.
One day the visit came and the door to her room was closed. I was lead away and made to sit on the chesterfield. The door opened and out she walked. More like a trembling stagger. All the way to where I sat.
We lost touch in adolescence. On the radio I heard she won a prize of money.
Miracle of miracles. Facebook finds my beloved cousin Jeff who was missing to me and others in our family. And then Jeff goes to an optometrist where a very lively Linda works. She looks at his name and asks if he knows me. He gives her my information and voila!
On Facebook is a picture of the lovely Linda. Full of life and love. Same beautiful eyes. Pink cheeks and happy family.
My blood sister.