She was my best friend in 5th grade. She loved bandanas. And I loved her.
She was the first friend whose home felt like my home. We swam in her pool and looked up alien languages on the Internet. She was my first and only “practice” kiss.
That year was long, but eventually, it ended, and we both changed schools. We began to drift, both finding different friends, but I missed her. I didn’t know how to communicate that without sounding needy.
Years went by.
I heard secondhand about her struggles with depression and when my own mental illness worsened, I thought often about her. If we had met at a different time, we might have walked that road together.
From Facebook, I read about her adventures, going to England, visiting cats at shelters, comforting strangers, and dreaming about India. She loved fiercely and without apology. She wore her heart on her sleeve and it was open to everyone. Through her grueling experience with depression, her optimism and strength shocked me. I envied her ability to not let her illness hold her back.
Her life was short – much too short – but she lived it to the fullest.