Thursday, January 28, 2010

Growing up- Part 5

I remember defining moments of our friendship and our lives came when we lost someone we loved. Our freshman year our friend Andy died in a car accident. It is hard at any age to deal with death but we were just kids. We cried together and talked about what it would be like to die or to lose someone even closer to you. The summer before junior year while Leigh and her parents were in Ohio and I was staying with Joanne, our friend Clint died. We were even closer to Clint than we had been to Andy, Leigh especially. Again we discussed life and death, never knowing how close to home it would hit us both.

I moved out of the Gramlich’s towards the end of junior year and into my sister’s house. Leigh would come visit me there sometimes with friends, sometimes without. I remember a party at my sister’s house in April of 1996 where I met my ex fiancĂ©, Chad. Leigh did a quick assessment on him and deemed him quality goods; he was wearing Tommy jeans after all! He drove a hot little red car like Jake Ryan from 16 Candles and she just ate that up. Leigh might be one of the main reasons that I dated Chad and, oddly, the relationship fizzled just after she died.

Chad and I moved in together very quickly and I still remember my conversation with Leigh about it. She was wise beyond her years and she said she felt like I was moving in for lack of a better option. She was right but I didn’t know that at the time. She wasn’t being offensive and I didn’t take it that way. She understood my dilemma even though she could not imagine being in my position, she empathized with me. In the end she supported my decision and visited our little apartment frequently. I went to school and worked full time while Leigh lived out her dream of what high school should be. Again our lives were in completely different places but we managed to stay close.

After graduation Leigh attended the University of Missouri at Columbia. My focus was survival at the time so college did not feel like an option. I lived vicariously through Leigh and her college experiences. I love to hear about her sorority, classes, life on campus and parties. She met some completely amazing friends on her journey there and I felt like I knew them all even before I met them. She was always willing to listen to me complain about unpaid bills, lazy boyfriends and working too hard.

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