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The average adult mayfly lives for one day and dies before dawn. They are not even born with mouths. A mayfly’s whole purpose in life is to reproduce and then die. Could you imagine it? Living for a few hours have a few hundred babies and then dying? No time to really plan anything, no school, no travel, no life.
And, yet we take so much in our life for granted, I’m young I have not lived my life very much at all really. But, even living the short amount of time that I have there are still places in time I wish I could go back to. To a time when we were just kids and bad things didn’t happen and if they did we were completely oblivious.
Happy in our ignorance, in our little bubble that buffered out everything hurtful and sad, after all we were six. Amalie and I, I mean, we’ve known each other since before we could see over the kitchen counter. Anything we’ve been through we went through together.
When we were six and in our happy little bubble we liked to play in the woods, in the summer, in the spring, in the fall, and even in the winter, it was our safe haven. It wasn’t a dirt floored forest, there was sand, and lots of it. We‘d come back to the house with it in between our toes, in our jeans, in our hair. It used to drive Pam (Pam is Amalie’s grandma) crazy because we would end up tracking it all over the house.
Our woods were made up mostly of pines, maple and some birch scattered here and there. They formed a circle around a big sandy basin, okay compared to most natural land formations it wasn’t all that big, maybe an acre. The sand acted like a bowl in the spring time, it would fill knee deep with rain water, and the water didn’t leave until the heat of the summer sun forced it away.
We used to stay out there for hours upon hours at a time, but we weren’t the only ones out there, or so we thought so we never left the house without our trusty guard dog, Max. Max was a scrappy little Jack Russell mix with a big mouth; he probably couldn’t protect us from a kitten, but for whatever the reason we felt safer with him there.
In the spring time the rain water pond would fill with tadpoles and frogs and even the occasional garter snake. We’d catch the tadpoles in sand buckets and chase the frogs. When, Amalie and I would get tired we liked to sit on the top of the sand hill, we didn’t talk, and we didn’t move, we just stared. Stared at our play land, it never changed, while we and our lives’ seemed to spin rapidly out of our control.
About a year later I moved to West Point a good forty minute drive from Amalie. It broke us apart for awhile. A lot of things changed in my life, my parents got a divorce that changed the way I looked at things, and to add to that at the new school I went to I was bullied. Relentlessly.
I had no way of escaping them, and my teachers seemed to be annoyed that I was asking for help. I felt so alone. I had no control of anything that was happening. Amalie was the only thing in my life that I could trust would never change, Amalie and the sandy woods. I cried a lot with her that year. She helped get through those cruel jokes and pranks. Until, I moved to Coldwater I remember it feeling, so…so… strange having friends. Then Amie’s Dad died.
Michael was Amalie’s idol, my crazy unrelated uncle. He died a terrible, heartbreaking death and Amie knew it, we all did. When I say he died. I don’t mean that he was sick and we all knew it was coming. No, it was not like that at all, it was so sudden. It broke her in a way that I cannot even describe with words. I cried a lot more than she did at the funeral. Her face was perpetually frozen in a blank, mask. As, they lowered him into the ground, slow silent tears flowed from between her closed eyelids. I stood with my arm over her shoulders, as the others slowly left us by his grave. When they all left, she began long, loud howling sobs on her knees clutching my waist. I joined her. I have not cried since that day.
From an outsider’s point of view these events probably look horrifying and depressing. But these events have secured our friendship for the rest of our lives. The way one looks at a precious moment in time, or a horrid moment in time tells whether he or she is going to be stepping up to the challenges and living through them, or if they will sit and let the world go by without ever taking, a risk, making friends, finding love, losing it. Mayflies have a decent excuse but you, you do not.
I love you, Amie. Thank you.