At about 1:15pm today, I woke up and looked at my phone. Mostly notifications of random email but two things caught my eye. A call and voice mail from one of my best friends, and a Facebook message from an old acquaintance from high school. Something made me check the Facebook message first. It was a good thing that I did, because even though it came an hour after the voice mail, the voice mail would not have made sense without it.
Skrizz was a girl I have known since my sophomore year of high school, so it has been about twenty-four years now since I met her. I do not remember how we met. It probably had something to do with choir or the theater. No! Wait! I know! We rode the same school bus (occasionally). She was pretty in a Hermione Granger sort of way, and by that I mean the way that the character is described by J.K. Rowling. Not Emily Watson. She wore glasses. She was bookish. Her hair was frizzy and not always under control. But she was friendly. And she had read the Hitch Hikers Guide books. And she liked Monty Python. So she easily fit in among my friends. She was dramatic, but that was what you expect from a thespian. She was one of the first to call me “Tigger.” And she always knew what to say.
In her sophomore year, my junior year, we were in choir together. She convinced me to try out for the school musical, Hello Dolly. Since we lived relatively close to one another and my parents were always working, she arranged it so that I could catch a ride home with her after rehearsals. I think that was the origin of the crush that I had on her. But she was seeing someone else. And later that year, so was I. When we both broke up with our SOs (well, actually they broke up with us) we consoled each other. And she always knew what to say.
We looked out for each other. We went to lunch together. We would make up silly songs like “Chipmonks Roasting on an Open Fire” and came up with new meanings for “April is in my Mistress’ Face.” She came up with a lot of the funniest bits.
She moved to Australia with her family soon after high school. I missed her terribly, but we kept in touch. For a while anyway. I lost track of her a few years ago, although before that she did visit the US a few times. We always looked each other up when that happened.
We re-found each other on Facebook a year or so ago. She had been in a production of Les Mis as Madame Thenardier. She had met a guy ten years younger than her and they had really hit it off. She was a bit worried of what I would think of the age difference. I told her all that mattered was whether he treated her well and whether she was happy. She was very happy, and he was a great guy. They had a daughter about three years ago and a son two months ago.
A few days ago, she was not feeling well. She posted something along those lines on Facebook. I did not think much of it. I was busy with working third shift. I idly thought that I should really start talking to her more. Maybe I would send a nice gift for her birthday next May.
A couple of nights ago, I saw a note from her partner that she had been admitted to the hospital to check out what was wrong. Again, I did not worry. I sent a note, wishing her well.
The Facebook message from my acquaintance was to let me know that she had passed away last night, on her daughter’s third birthday. Pulmonary embolism. The phone call from my friend was a message checking on how I was, it was obvious that he was concerned about me, but I would not have known why if I had not read the message.
And now I don’t know what to say other than, “I miss you, Skrizz. I am sorry we lost touch. I am sorry that we never truly regained it. I am thinking of your family: your brother, your sister, your parents, your partner, your children. You touched them all. You touched us all. I hope that you knew how much you mattered to them, and to me. I wish that I had told you while I had the chance.”
I look at the contacts in my phone and see her name and realize that I will never have another chance to talk to her, to tell her that I love her and really appreciated her friendship. I see her name and it hurts, but I do not want to erase it from my contacts, because then … she’ll really be gone.