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Thinking back, I can still feel
Your hand tugging at my wrist.
You were trying to tell me
It was okay to uncover my ears,
That the bus driver didn’t yell very often.
I can still hear you running ahead of me,
Across the backyard,
To that playhouse outside.
We played in it whenever we were sure
No bees hung around in the loft.
Thinking back, I can still remember
Hearing how your voice shook on the phone
When you told me you had put Daisy to sleep.
I didn’t understand at first,
I thought she would wake up.
I remembered when we snuck upstairs
To watch TV in your parents’ room.
Thinking back, I remember when we explored.
You and Charlotte and Rachel and I
Bravely walked through the woods.
Rachel fell in the brook and her shoe got wet.
We were both a little scared,
There was no sunlight and sometimes birds scared us.
We didn’t let anyone know.
Thinking back, I know how much
We played House together.
Charlotte was always the mom,
You were the teenage daughter,
I was your little sister,
And when Annie played, she was the dog.
We all used different names every game,
Except for you, of course.
You were always Patricia,
And liked to be called Trish.
Thinking back, I wonder.
Do you remember Lacy?
We called her the Hot Dog-Dog.
Do you remember the time Malcolm set up a jump
When we were sledding in your yard?
I tried it and went so high,
My dad said he was afraid I might fly to Florida.
We’re both Christians, and one day
We told Lauren about Jesus.
We were young and got irritated
when she didn’t believe us,
Thinking back, I remember
when we roller-skated in my driveway.
We tried yours, but it wasn’t as smooth.
We used to sing together, too,
And laughed when we realized
That both of our moms sang us
“You Are My Sunshine” at night.
I remember the wheelbarrow rides
Charlotte and Kara and Lexy used to give us.
They’d run as fast as they could.
Thinking back, I remember Driveway Lacrosse.
We almost broke a window,
playing against the garage doors.
We played Red Rover,
And lost every single game.
We played basketball,
And you always beat me.
We played baseball,
and were always on the same team.
We loved tag and man hunt.
We made up all different versions of tag.
TV tag, Color tag, Freeze tag, and a lot more.
Thinking back, I remember your grandpa.
He was so much fun and always played with us.
We used to play baseball with my grandpa,
And run races and ride our bikes and scooters.
Remember playing Spud?
Charlotte loved that game.
She used to make up relay races,
And have us all compete in all sorts of games.
When there was nothing else to do,
We would roll down the huge hill behind your house,
Or bounce on Natalie’s trampoline if we were lucky.
Thinking back, I remember all the people we knew.
Natalie, Lexy, Annie, Kara, Rebecca, Libby, Lauren.
And I remember your cousin,
When she came to visit.
She had an adorable daughter.
Carol and Jay, and my parents.
We both agreed that we had fun families.
And our favorite pets:
Chipper, Daisy, Daphne, Oliver,
Tucker, Ringo, Felicity, Grayball.
Ringo was so much fun to play with.
Thinking back, I remember exploring with you.
We liked to walk down to the Old Hotel,
The one that burned down.
We used to search around
for pieces of tile and other things that survived.
We climbed over the foundations,
Sat inside the oven and chimney.
We explored the brook.
And the woods, behind my house and yours.
We had picnics by Three Rocks.
Thinking back, I remember when we were stars.
Charlotte wrote and directed plays,
We were the main characters.
We had so much fun rehearsing,
And put on shows for our neighborhood.
We twisted fairytales a little,
Rewrote them. That was fun.
Thinking back, I remember when we fought.
Mainly about some stupid little thing
That set us off when we were tired.
By the next morning, we didn’t know what got us mad.
Assuming, of course, that we were smart enough
To remember that we were mad.
We didn’t remember very often.
We really did have the greatest times.
Who needs Disney World?
Our neighborhood was the greatest place on earth.