Yes everyone has a best friend, I have had the honor of having a few over my lifetime. The one I want to talk about today saw me through life from graduation until February 3rd, 2003, but more on that later.
We met as newly junior (middle) school students. I had been going to the same school since kindergarten, Melissa and her sister were new and I was glad to make their fresh school start as easy as possible. They had come from a local Catholic school so being in a public school was a bit intimidating. Having no nuns to deal with they were not sure how to act, Melissa got in trouble a few times for speaking her mind! Little did I realize that she was pushing the teacher to see just how far she could go before she got in real trouble with the paddle. Yes my school used a paddle when you got in big trouble, in those days we behaved in fear of getting whipped with it. In my humble opinion I think that schools should still have this option, the kids would behave better, but like I said that is just MY opinion!
I truly don’t believe that I would have made it through Bible literature in high school without her. The class would drag on and on about stuff I already knew, there were days when one girl would damn us to Hell because we disagreed with her point of view. Those days were rather heated in the classroom, no pun intended.
Melissa was there with my broken heart and I did the same for her. I learned to ride and crash a moped with her and I was there when she “borrowed” her moms car to go into town. Luckily we lived in a small town where the police knew that she only had her permit and sent us back to her house without getting into trouble! She was at most of my sporting events, choir performances and musicals, I supported her through her mom making her go to modeling classes, which she really hated.
Graduation behind us, she went into the Navy which but distance between us. With a war going on I was never sure of her safety. She called one day to say she was coming home for a week of leave and that she was getting married to Mr. Right. It was a huge whirlwind once she was home to get dresses and everything put together before the big day but everything went off without a hitch. Melissa was there when I got pregnant with my first son and also when I lost him at 24 weeks.
A few years later Mr. Right went A wall and left her with a special needs child. She came home and worked to make sure her little man had everything he needed and her parents helped raise Derrick. By this time I was married and living a rough life due to abuse. She told me that she was a lesbian and had been in love with me for some time. I was in shock, my husband wanted to share me with her, go figure.
This was my first dealings with someone coming out of the closet. I learned many things but one thing I stood firm on is that we were best friends. Melissa found her a mate that matched her perfectly. She was there when my first marriage ended (she figured out he was abusing me) and when my second one began. Melissa and her girlfriend even asked if my husband would donate sperm so that they could have a child, my husband said sure but unfortunately it never happened.
The first time I went to a bar with them I was hit on by everyone even though I was 4 months pregnant, it was a hoot because both Melissa and Missy (her girlfriend) said I was theirs! I got a emergency call from Melissa one day to get her and Derick away from her girlfriend. So I got them back to her parents house safely. What I did not know at the time was that she had been abusing alcohol, so her parents and I got her the treatment she needed and stood by her as she became clean.
Again abuse was in my life and she was the one once again to ensure I was safe. This time bub was in my arms. Melissa was there for bubs 1st surgery and when I went to Nursing school to better our lives. She supported and hung by me through many a rough tests in school always reminding me “you ARE the smarter one!”
As graduation neared, invites went out and Melissa was the first to RSVP to be there. She sat with my family and held bub as he gave me flowers, it was a beautiful moment. I graduated February 4th 2003, Melissa was killed in a motor vehicle accident 4 days later. She was on her way to a Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, she had been clean 16 months when she hit black ice on a back road and hit a tree instantly killing her.
I miss Melissa more than I can ever say. Everyday there is something that I want to share with her, a new milestone, a memory, something but I can’t reach out and call her from here. Derrick is now 17, and in some ways just like his mom. He was 7 when she passed. I will never forget him showing me a picture of the 3 of us and mommy had wings.
Hold your best friend close, you never know what tomorrow will bring.