Cookie Jarvis Where Are You?
by Nicole Freire
The photograph accompanying this article has nothing to do with the subject, but rather is an awesome example of how cool the super macro feature on my new camera is. That spring is so tiny - this font size could crush it.
Also, how do you take a picture of grief?
Not to get too heavy on you all, but it's been on my mind. And how do I talk about it without sounding like a cheesy greeting card?
When I was 12, I made a three-year foray into the wilds of public school after many impressionable years at a Catholic school. I was terrified. On my first day at my new school I spied a girl wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Cookie Jarvis on it. I was enthralled. Not only was Cookie Jarvis a character I only saw on television - television that was seen at my grandmother's house - PBS being the only channel allowed at home - but I had no idea you could actually wear clothes like that. Years of plaid skirts, white shirts, red sweaters, and only red or white socks will warp your mind just a little bit.
The girl wearing the Cookie Jarvis shirt became my best friend. She was one of the funniest people I knew and always made me feel at ease. She didn't have the most stable family life and our family welcomed her into our lives wholeheartedly. There were years when she lived with us as her life went up and down.
There were years when we weren't in touch and as much as I hate to say it - because it sounds so trite - we really could just pick up right where we left off.
Boyfriends went in and out of our lives, we lived in different towns, different time zones, there were marriages and babies and we fought and made up and we got older and wiser and through it all, I could always call her up and say "Hi! It's me!" and know she would be glad to talk.
Five or six years ago, in a seemingly innocuous email exchange, I somehow offended her. I think I challenged her on a situation I felt wasn't a good one and that was it. I remember her furious response and how it was like being punched in the gut.
And that was it. We never spoke again. I don't even know how I would find her again - and if I did, I'm not positive she would talk to me.
The worst part is that I don't clearly remember the details of what we fought about. It must not have been that important to me, but it clearly was to her.
I miss her. I miss her a lot. I have other dear friends, a wonderful sister, a great spouse, entertaining children, a large and full life and yet there is still a gap where she used to be.
I'll read something hysterical and automatically want to tell her about it and I can't. I'll be frustrated by some situation and need to talk to her and I'm dialing a phone number that doesn't work anymore.
She was my friend and now she isn't and it puzzles me still - years later. I think it's more than puzzling - it feels like she's gone, really gone and dead to me and there are no cards that say, "Sorry you and your friend had a fight you can't remember the details of and now you don't speak anymore and it hurts."
I think of her often when I'm driving, mostly because I'm by myself and I can let my mind wander. Will this be what it's like to really lose someone? When does it not hurt anymore? When does your mind fill up the slot that used to be the friendship? Why doesn't it just scab over like other injuries - physical and emotional - that I've had. Why this particular one?
I don't have any answers to these questions.
I want to say, if you're out there Angelica Maria Malbas, I'm sorry for whatever stupid thing I said. I hope you can forgive me. I miss you so much.
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Nicole Freire is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara.