Pencil Sharpeners and Kool-aid

November 7, 2007
We never used the phrase “Through thick and thin” but that very well could have been our motto. There was hardly anything that wasn’t funny. Call us idiots, because that’s exactly what we were and we knew it. We were like sisters, or at least sisters that actually got along.
I’ll start where we first met. Mariah’s older brother was friends with my next door neighbor’s older brother. Turned out his younger sister, Mariah was the same age as my next door neighbor, so they had a play date. Seeing as my neighbor and I were also of similar age I was invited over. Truthfully I was such a shy young girl I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to. What if she didn’t like the same games as me? I was an animal lover, and I went horse back riding with my neighbor, so we loved playing “horsey.” We weren’t doll girls; we were like the tom boys who loved to play in the mud and pretend our stuffed animals had super powers like Pokemon. Though when I met Mariah I didn’t hold back my inner animal and went about on all fours as I always did. To my surprise, she also loved being on all fours like an animal. We immediately connected. Turns out she had been as nervous as me.
Not only was Mariah just like me in several ways, she seemed to be my better half at times because of her curiosity and lack of fear. For some time we met only at my neighbor’s house. Whenever I would go over, I would beg my neighbor to invite Mariah. I think, in time, she got so irritated I would have to make excuses for Mariah to come over. Like the time we wanted to use the dog house for a club house, but it was full of earwigs. Well my neighbor and I were terrified of earwigs so I came up with “Well we should call and see if Mariah can come over so she can kill them; she isn’t afraid of bugs.” Thus Mariah had come over and fought against the nasty things. Several excuses were produced after that, creating moments just for the three of us.
One thing I will always remember most between the three of us was our Pepsi shots. We took out shot glasses that were my neighbor’s, and got out a can of Pepsi. Sitting together at her old wooden table we poured small amounts of the fizzy beverage into the tiny glasses. The party began. I don’t quite remember what had started our party, but within minutes we were acting like eleven-year-old drunks. Between incessant laughter we would slam down our glasses and declare we needed another shot. We would belch in unison, sing, slur our nonsensical language, and laugh some more.
I was always a nervous child, especially when it came to new surroundings. Therefore Mariah usually came over to my house instead of hers. In my house though, it was difficult to play when my parents made us involve my little brother in our games. I would tell my nine-years-younger brother that he was our pet dog. I would put a leash on the boy and walk him for a moment then tie him to a doorknob or the leg of a chair, then leave him. Mariah never thought tying my brother up was a good idea and my parents didn’t appreciate it, I on the other hand found it to be exceedingly entertaining.
On one of my few expeditions to Mariah’s home, we drank some Kool-aid. You know the old bottles with the strange caps that you twisted off? Yeah those ones. I had twisted off the cap of my sugary red juice and realized, hey you know what? This looks like the horns or crown of the Power Ranger Transformers! So I placed that small piece of plastic atop my head and started singing the Power Ranger theme song. Mariah got a kick out of that. So, that got me started. We goofed off and laughed some more, and in the moment of hilarity I picked up a rounded object and stared at it with a furrowed brow. It was a bit larger than my fist and was full of wood shavings. It was then I thought it must be a small house for one of Mariah’s hermit crabs, but nothing was to be found. So I then announced in an impossibly obnoxious voice, “Who’s in there? Are you in there?!” The laughter started ten fold. I laughed along, until Mariah blurted out, “Meaghan, that’s a pencil sharpener!” A small pause and I understood; my laughter increased to the intensity of hers. I managed to gasp out that I thought it was a small cage for one of her hermit crabs and the laughter continued ever more until our stomachs hurt so bad we were crying.
Another ridiculous moment at Mariah’s house had to be the dreaded jumping bug war. There we were minding our own business, playing with our Beanie Babies on top of her bunk bed. Upon her window sill were several little brown bugs and a few green ones. Her window was closed, so how they got in we never knew, but once we noticed them, the chaos began. It was like a war jet launch or a synchronized dance team. The bugs went a flyin’ and we went a squealin’. We combated them with our bare hands and an occasional stuffed animal. We squashed a few and gave them a burial or a stuffed animal over their body to hide them. One remained. There were a few times we swore we destroyed that retched little bouncing bug, giving it a good smack, but it was only stunned. It then disappeared and we thought it was gone for good. Moments later it returned and the final battle was in session. It flew, we swatted and it went down on the sill, squish. A high five was all that was needed; hopefully it wouldn’t turn out to be a zombie bug. This was one of the last hysterical events that happened in Mariah’s home before I moved from Woodbridge.
By my sixth grade summer, my parents made me migrate to Stafford and leave all my friends behind. Once I started school I couldn’t seem to find a place of my own to fit in and all I had was Mariah. My time at home was spent talking to her whenever I could. Every weekend I would ask her to come over. I usually got away with it when we were going to visit my grandparents at Lake Anna, where we would swim, hike, and tube. Which brings me to another tale: My father was pulling us on a purple tube on the back of our ruby jet ski, flying around the waters at a near fifty miles an hour. It was then that we hit a wave that sent me sprawling; grabbing for dear life at the end of the tube. Mariah yelled my name and me, well, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t pull myself up. Seeing me, she began to crack up so she was unable to help me up. I refused to let go as I was dragged around the lake, my swimming bottoms threatening to fly off. Just imagine it; yeah I’m sure you have done something similar with your best friend. Eventually I let go unable to hold on any longer and my dad nearly left me floating in the middle of the lake! At least until my dad heard Mariah’s voice and turned back to save me.
Other amusing occasions of course continued as I had Mariah visit me as much as humanly possible. We even considered writing down any moments we could remember in a little memory book of ours. Though as time dragged on we both began to make new friends and we eventually split apart. Her father even mentioned we wouldn’t stay friends long after I had moved to Stafford. We were determined to prove him wrong, but instead we only proved him right. It started with the phone calls, only coming at occasion and then stopped completely. Although we did stay connected online for a while, that diminished as well. At first it was hard, but I found new friends and a new angel to watch over me. We rarely talk these days, and when we do it often feels awkward.
Our friendship taught me to live life at the fullest while you have it, that sometimes people move on and you will make new friends. My mother would always tell me, “There will be more Mariah’s,” but I wouldn’t believe her. Like most mothers’ advice she turned out to be right, and I’m now surrounded with people who care about me; but I’ll always think back on those things I did with Mariah and laugh, “Good times, good time.”

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