We were best friends in the second and third grade. Too young to know that it’s hard for three. My grandma would warn me of this years later when skating with my two cousins, but it came too late for Jan, Shari and me.
We did everything together — not that our everything consisted of that much, but it felt like more than enough to equate to BFFs! It was mostly Chinese jump rope. Sleep overs. Giggling. Soon to be illegal clicky-clackers that my grandma brought to us from Florida. Birthdays. Bedrooms. Pinky swears. American jump rope. A lot of, well, just jumping – from bicycles and jungle gyms. From car doors into freshly mown grass. From the pages of Archie comics. Maybe we should have seen the warnings — it was always Betty and Veronica. Never Midge. Never three.
I don’t remember the date. Nor the reason. My mom dropped me off at Shari’s house. There was no Jan. Something about a phone call. A fight. Tears. “Never again,” she said to me. How easy it was to say never at 7 years old. Within minutes the first surprise would be exceeded by the second. If there was no three, she explained, there would be no two. She had decided for all of us. I sat at the end of her driveway and waited the long two hours for my mother to pick me up. I thought of the last time we jumped rope together. Having no idea that when I was singing, “Vote, vote, vote for Shari…knock, knock, Jodi at the door, she’s a better woman she can do the wibble wobble, so we don’t need Shari anymore…” that it would be the last time.
I suppose the “last time” always comes too soon. I could not foresee living this lesson again and again. But I would. I have. I will. Again.
Some days I miss my mom so much, the weight of that driveway’s end seems unbearable. But I wave as I pass by her picture. Put on one of her blouses. Recall a memory of a trip. Jumping from store to store. See her dancing the wibble wobble. And I smile. The wait is never long. She continues to “pick me up.”