Twenty-one years ago Mindy and I met for the first time. I don’t remember that day but I do know we were in the first grade. We became friends right away. Mindy had just moved to Bishop not too long before and her parents had bought the local doughnut shop.
One day (I don’t know what year) the entire class was invited down to the doughnut shop where Dan and Debbie (Mindy’s parents) allowed each of us to decorate a doughnut however we wanted. I kept mine simple, chocolate with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. One of the guys in the class put a little of every topping they had. He didn’t like it but Dan told him he had to eat it because he told all of us in the beginning that we would only get one so choose wisely.
Over the years Mindy and I grew as friends to the point where we were almost joined at the hip. We spent so much time at each other’s houses and running around town like the crazy kids we were, even driving up and down Main street yelling at every cute boy we passed. Mindy has always been the closest thing I have to a sister. We are so different and yet so much alike. We are the epidemy of the saying “Opposits attract.” She likes to spend as much time outside (she used to be a firefighter, what can I say?) where I’m perfectly happy most of the time indoors reading a book. I am the youngest of two while Mindy is the middle child of three.
At the end of fifth grade, my parents transferred me to a different school in the Bishop area. It was for the best since I was being teased so much in school that I began threatening suicide at the age of ten. Mindy was one of the many rocks I had at the time that kept me grounded without me realizing it until a very long time after. I feared that being away from her in a school I didn’t know would ruin our friendship. I missed seeing her every day in and out of class. Changing school destroyed a few friendships I had had for a very long time but Mindy and I stayed very grounded in our friendship. We may have even grew closer because of the separation. Then half way through our seventh grade year, her parents decided (after much begging by Mindy I’m sure) Mindy joined me at Round Valley.
We hiked Catalina island together with the rest of our eighth grade class and supported each other as we ventured into the unknown that is known as high school. We sat next to each other for graduation only being separated by one of our closest guy friends. I comforted her through all of the breakups while I was waiting for a guy to notice me and tell me I was beautiful. We’ve been to Disneyland together after spending Thanksgiving with my family. I cannot even tell you how many memories and experiences we’ve had together over the years.
She was the first of us to leave Bishop as she headed to Job Corps to become a firefighter, causing me to worry like a parent every time she left for a fire in who knows what city. We’ve each moved away and come back to Bishop. She now lives in Oregon while I’m struggling to get back out of Bishop. We keep in touch as much as we can by phone, text and Facebook. In the year and a half she’s been gone, I’ve seen her twice. I think the separation we lived through during sixth grade helps us to understand that it’s okay to be apart and that we’re actually not too far from one another.
I think I’ve run out of memories right now as I’m trying my hardest to not cry because I’m writing this while sitting at a rickety table in the High School we graduated from waiting for Act Two of Playhouse 395’s production of South Pacific to be over and I have fulfilled my volunteering duties. I have roughly 10 minutes before the play is over.
I know that all that is left to say is:
Mindy if you read this, please know I love you with all my heart and soul. You have been the bestest of best friends I could have ever hoped for in life. I truly do believe that we are friend-soulmates. I miss you and will try to get back up to Oregon this year. I love you.
The picture I am sharing with you is from our Junior Homecoming Dance taken around 1998. My hair was down to my butt and I chopped it off up to my shoulders a few months after the picture was taken.