Going the Distance

I have never been good with remembering dates and distances. I can’t remember much of my early years.  To be honest the years that I have a real knowledge of  being me was around the age of  9, maybe. I told you, not good with dates but I remember memories.  I remember living in a small town in Texas called  Beeville. My father was a Navy man and we were the family following him from state to state.  I remember I had 2 good friends – one was a red head with freckles and skin the color of milk and the other was a thin brunette with short hair and skin that looked like she just stepped out of a tanning booth.  Both had an energy that I just had to be around.  I was not as talkative as they were at that time in my life. I know, I know you are saying what happened, right? You can’t seem to get me to stop talking now.

Red head and I lived next door to each other and we spent hours upon hours of playing tag and making up dances to Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”, singing in my garage to Michael Jackson’s ABC as it blared from a record player and endless hours of riding bike’s, swinging on the swing set talking. I remember one year there was a hurricane coming.  Like all of the other families with kids we were all hanging outside because it was so beautiful. Often times when  a hurricane is coming the weather can be absolutely calm. It was that time. Everyone was hanging outside until our parents realized it was time to come in. We did. And we both went to our individual homes to ride out the storm.  Another time was Christmas Eve and she and I spent the night sitting outside under the street lamp looking into the sky waiting for Santa’s sleigh for hours at a time. We looked up for so long and talked about all of the things we wanted Santa to bring us, we looked up with our necks stretched for so long that we actually saw the sleigh! You talk about excited.  We could hardly contain ourselves. Then we both realized that Santa was on his way and we both knew that he would not come while we were awake, we had to go to sleep. We both went to our individual homes and crawled quickly into our beds. We lived on the Navy base and there was no fear from our parents thinking that we were in danger. Remember we were outside across the street from our houses and no one was out except us. Our parents were in their homes unafraid for our safety.  Those were the good old days.   

My eyes are so heavy.  I realize that this is the week that my cycle would be coming.  I no longer have one since the surgery. My back is hurting, my stomach is grumbling and my legs are a little wobbly.  I guess this sensation will be my lot for he rest of my life.

My other best friend was a small brunette with the cutest of smiles. We spent hours at her house – she had everything a little girl would ever want. Every toy, every shoe, every dress, every art project, every earring, every thing that she wanted. She was an only child and her parents were some of the nicest people in the world. She was a little spoiled however not to the point of being obnoxious. We got along great. After a few days and months of complaining about her ankle hurting her mom took her to the doctor. It turns out she had cancer that had progressed rapidly and there was nothing they could do but amputate the leg. They did amputate it right below the knee. She was sad but not unhappy. She didn’t dwell on it. I came over every day that I could to see her. She then began chemotherapy. Her hair fell out. She was still beautiful. We were friends. She didn’t want any help and she didn’t want any special treatment, that made her very angry the special treatment. After several months the cancer came back above her knee and they ended up amputating the leg. More hair fell out and she actually began to flourish. She was a very pretty little girl. We would sit in the front yard and she would be wrapped up in a blanket so that none of the boys that walked by could tell that she only had 1 leg. It worked.  They would walk by and she would either stand up and they would see a one-legged pretty girl or she would take her wig off and laugh as the boys ran away scared. I lost contact with her; however I would give something or other to find her just to see how she is doing. She was a bad- in -a-good way little girl and I suspect she must be one bad-in-a-good-way  woman.

These are some beginning memories that have in fact gone the distance in my life. These 2 very important women images and the feeling of friendship,  has never left me.  I may not know the actual distance of something to something else however if you want me to write and read about going the distance – I can tell you about it. It hurts, it is painful, it is not fair, it is too hard, and yet it is what it is. I go  from one challenge to the next challenge. I can’t tell you how long retiring at 55 seems to me right now.  I know as I experience it the years will fuse together until the day before it is my last day of work.  There is nothing traumatic about my memory only that I can’t remember. Some times that is good and some times that is bad. It is what it is. 

Yolande Barial, exhausted…

“Through her inspirational writings and spiritual poetry, Yolande Barial empowers all sisters, young and seasoned, to become on-purpose for themselves.”

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