Ripples In A Pond
How do I start? What can I say? Why did you have to go. You made the whole world light up with your amazing laugh. I smile when I remember. But let me start at the beginning. We were ten years old, and we had just started high school. You came into the classroom, looking so serious and only sat next to me because you couldn't find a seat. We looked at each other. We were so different, you were clever and popular, I was shy and quiet. It took us a while to understand our humour and ways, but we did. Oh how we did, we laughed and went to the park, we played jokes and giggled for hours. For six whole years we stuck together like glue until the time came for us to leave school. I found a job straight away, in an office near my home. Starting work on the first day, I walked in, and there you were! You had got the job as well! I remember the look on your face when I walked in, it was so funny I wanted to take a picture. So there we were, starting our new lives but still together.
At sixteen we decided we were old enough to go to the pub. We weren't supposed to, so we made up so many stories to convince our parents that we were at youth club. How we laughed. We started dating at the same time, going to clubs and meetings, along with our other new friend. I remember those days through a haze of rose coloured memories. Laughing, dancing, meeting loads of boys and discovering how it was to be a young adult.
I remember the first time that I cried with laughter so much I couldn't stand. I had arranged to meet you in the pub and you were late. The music was playing, we were all dancing. Then suddenly we could hear above the sound of the music, clip clop clip clip bang! Then the whole pub was echoing with your laughter. It reverberated around the room, and everybody stopped what they were doing and looked towards the door. There you were, on the floor in your high platform heels, screaming with laughter because you had tripped up on the way in. No, you hadn't had a drink. You didn't need one to laugh like that. I remember looking around at the other customers. They were laughing. but not at you, with you. I started to laugh and I laughed and laughed until I cried.
Over the next few years the three of us went everywhere together. We had so much fun, but in the midst of all the dancing and music, there was you with your laughter. We said it sounded like a hyena! That made you laugh even more. And clumsy! My were you clumsy! You would breeze into the club, yelling hello to everyone, and swing your handbag around on your shoulder, and whoomp! You knocked over everybody's drink on the table. They got so used to it that they moved their drinks when you walked in! Ha Ha. Oh and that time when you rushed into the ladies bathroom to get to the toilet, and you suddenly shot back out and fell to the floor! I stood in amazement as you burst into laughter again. What had you done? You had caught your sleeve on the door handle and it had catapulted you out the door! We three laughed so much we had to go in separate directions! The pain of laughing was too much!
I got married, then a year later so did you. We still saw each other. Do you remember the time when you fell asleep in your car with your husband, and woke up fifty miles away, because your car had been towed onto a lorry by mistake? You had both drank so much that night you didn't even wake up! But you told the story so well, I fell about laughing for a week.
And that was your talent. Your so special talent.
Not just the funny things that you did, but the way you told the story. Clumsy, jolly full of laughter, you.
The years passed and you moved to America, but I always knew when you were coming back. Oh, I didn't need the phone to tell me. I just knew.
So many times I would phone you at your mother's house when you had only just walked in the door. 'How did you know I just got of the plane?' you would say. I would just smile and say, 'Don't be stupid, you know how I knew' And she did. It was uncanny. But she accepted my telepathic ways, and thought they were funny. You moved back to England and we started on the pub circuit again. By now we were in our thirties. My son was in his teens and yours were babies. But I noticed that you had started to drink quite a lot.
The pebble dropped in the pond.
Your husband left you, and you broke. I could see it, but you picked yourself up and carried on. But the drink became your bolster. You met and fell in love again. But he wasn't good for you, but you loved him so much. I could still see the girl who was my best friend inside you, but drink was taking it's hold and you could never be without a glass in your hand. Then he died, and you shattered. You ran away for six months, until one day I received a letter.
Please come and get me. So I got on the bus, I didn't have much money, and came to where you were. I grabbed your case, your dog and you.
I took you home.
I believe if you had been left alone at this point, you would have been fine. But He followed you. He was a man who had helped you when you ran away. He was an alcoholic. I told you to leave him, but you said you needed him.
One ripple in the pond.
I never saw you. You never came. I heard that He was taking drugs and drinking. Then one day you turned up at my door. The laughter was still there, but there was an edge to you. It frightened me. You were hard. Mentally and physically. But the girl I knew and loved was still there. I should have done something, I should have got you away. But I was afraid. I had my own nightmares. My mother had died, and my dad. I was broken and couldn't help you.
Two ripples in the pond..
You had two children, a girl and a boy. The boy stayed with you, and started to drink. Last year I heard the terrible news that he had taken something, collapsed and was now in a coma for life. My hands shook as I took the phone call from our friend. I was heartbroken. But deep in the back of my mind I knew. I just knew. You could go two ways. Stop drinking and be strong.
Or drink and die.
Three ripples in the pond.
You couldn't handle seeing him like this. Who could? I started to keep in touch with your mum, tried to phone you. I got through once. You didn't sound like you. You were shattered. I put the phone down after speaking to you, and I was shaking. You ended up in hospital. No, You would be fine, they said. But I didn't understand what was wrong. I thought it was your mind. But it wasn't. It was your body. The stress and drink had taken it's toll.
You passed away on Sunday. Your mother phoned me. The family is broken. What started as four, husband wife, boy and girl, is no more. Your daughter went to America to try to get used to her brother being in hospital, she is coming home tomorrow, to bury her mum.
Four ripples in a pond.
What starts as a small pebble falling into the water, will cause ripples to grow and grow until they cascade outwards into chaos. I will never see her again. I loved her.
She was my friend.
Heaven will a happier place
With the sound of your laughter
We laughed, we played
We sang, we were loved
We had fun and music
And children and laughter
My life has been enriched, because of you.