Friday, September 25, 2015

The days that make the memories

It’s Monday and we are sitting in our corner suite of the Kappa house. The music is quiet and the window is open. Sometime in the days prior, the heat of summer finally broke and it is starting to look like fall. We are sitting on the two beds laughing. 

Laughing.

The buzzer buzzes for supper and we kill the music on her computer before hustling downstairs to sing our blessing and eat with our housemates.

Thursday with a football game at home in two quick days; I borrow her black pencil skirt strapless dress and she flips through my closet for a green silk camisole and black pants. She tells me to wear my hair down. I pull it back. She grabs the pins out of my hair and throws them. Running down the stairs, we have boys picking us up for a date night. 

It’s Monday night and we have chapter. I want to skip. She agrees and we sneak out the back door and head to Flannigans where we run into half of the Chi Phis who decided that this day was too beautiful to sit in a room discussing the business of Greek Life.

Saturday and we are donned in red sweaters, having been shopping that morning for the unexpected cold snap. There is a chili cook-off at a house in five points, The Mansion. The guy who knew he would win made the biggest batch. She was on the panel of judges. He came in last place. I can't remember who we were playing, but oh... Was it so cold.

Friday and her father has driven up I-26 and I-20 to highway 78 and booked a hotel room for the weekend with club level season tickets. He and her youngest brother are waiting for us at the restaurant. I am running late. She is sitting there with her brother- at least ten years her junior and the love she has for him is palatable. She is the oldest of her siblings. Dinner, hugs, and a thanks for the meal, we round the corner and head to our watering hole and make our way to the back of the bar where we shoot pool and laugh at the evening. The bar is filling up with young college students from both schools playing the next day, Tennessee… maybe?

Tuesday and we are at the fraternity house of friends. They are playing flag football on the front yard. We are sitting on a couch they moved outside, watching. It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I am reminded of some song that escapes me in the moment. The chorus is about all the 3 o’clocks we experience in our lives. It is in the moment that I realize that these are the days. The days that I will forget, but the moments I will remember.

Friday again- football season is over. We were winners of some and losers of others. It’s December now. We are in my little red convertible traveling to a college in another state. There are dresses tucked in the trunk with high heels and hair dryers. We have jackets on, the heater fully cranked, and the wind ripping through our hair. The music is too loud to hear the wind. I drop it into fifth gear and the two lane highway makes short time of a big goal— the weekend. 

Another Monday and her mom calls from a state away. I answer- and thank her for the stamps and goodies she sent us. Her mom was always sending her packages letting her know how loved she is. We are.

Sunday and our hair is a wreck. We need to brush our teeth. Donning matching uniforms of a sorority social t-shirt and pair of loose shorts, she crawls into bed with me and we hide under the covers and pillows until we can fight the hunger no more. I find flip flops; she finds keys. Two pair of sunglasses. A few phone calls and we are crawling out the door for breakfast at 11:15. The Mayflower is open. We are in the back booth and Lucy is our waitress. She orders something with egg whites and Lucy raises her eyebrows at her. I go for my old favorite of a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.

It’s Wednesday and she needs a ride to class. My car is getting the oil changed. In her Explorer, I drive to the English Dept building on the corner of North Campus. We high five each other and she is off to class. Back in the our corner suite, I am watching a Lifetime movie when she gets back to finish her homework before the night begins.

Springtime and the rain has set in. We are back in her Explorer and headed to Thomson for a fox hunt. The car is loaded down with clothes, picked over from each other’s closet, makeup, and CDs. The backseat is full with more girls and we are in a large caravan coming from Athens- careful of the speed limit as the State Patrol has their headquarters on our route. 

Some Tuesday and Digital Underground is playing at a music venue as the guest of a fraternity. It seems like something that might be fun. We go. The lights are dimmed and we realize that we know not one song that they sing. It was not the place we were that made the night, but the people in that night. Sometime around 4am- we found our way back to our sorority house.

We were always going. We always wanted to be where the fun was. I look back now and realize she brought the fun with her. She was the fun.

I met her during rush. She was a grade younger than me and two years my junior. We were so very different. She was outgoing and I was quiet- but she made me outgoing. She was so much smarter than I was and I cannot look at a Vonnegut book without thinking of her. 

Our lives took very different paths after we moved out of 440 South Milledge Ave. They continued down different paths. I don’t remember the last time I saw her. We lost touch and track. A few weeks ago, I found a handful of college pictures and there she was.

Young.
Beautiful.
Blue eyes.
Red hair.
Freckles.
Laughing.

Caroline.


She has not crossed my mind in many, many years- but she died on Wednesday night and I miss her as if she still slept in the bed right next to mine. 

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