This is a love story. Plain, simple, pure. A story of the person in my life who out of pure choice, I love more than any other.
Her name is Jessica. I know that now but when I first met her, I kept forgetting her name. My forgetfulness was so persistent that Jess wore a black jumper with her name written in glitter puff paint and fireworks. I still remember that. But there's a lot I don't remember. You see, we were very young when we first met. In fact, I was five and she was four. It was early 1991.
Both our dads played football and were on the same team. At the first game of the season, Jess' dad said to her "why don't you go play with that little girl in the park?" So she did. And other than the fact it took me a while to learn her name, we soon became inseparable. Our families became friends and we soon spent all the time we could together. I wish I could remember what we talked about. We went to different schools but I came to learn all about her life outside of the time spent with me. I knew all her school friends' names. She would talk about Jason and I would talk about Thomas - our "boyfriends".
For a while, every year we would go to the Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols. I would bring my school best friend and she would bring hers. The four of us would dress up like idiots and sing all the carols. We made up "Daddy-Daughter Ekka Day". That's how we pitched it to our dads and they totally fell for it - taking us to the Ekka, handing over money and rolling their eyes as together we yelled "Thanks, Dad!" and took off, leaving our fathers to wander the Ekka together. In 2001 we made going to Leyburn an annual tradition! We actually spent a lot of time at motoring events with my dad.
We made up our own secret language. We wore matching clothes - but with Jess in purple and me in blue (Glitter fairies?). We learned how to put on make up together. When Dad taught me to drive, I taught Jess to drive.
"Sam, you're going to hit that tree."
"No, I'm not."
*hits the tree*
"I told you so."
We started a band called M & M (we can't explain it to this day, but it was before Eminem) and wrote our own song...
"I work on a milk run for $12.10It don't but much but it pays the rent.I work all day and I work all night.Trying to make a living, it's an endless fight.
It's liiiiiiiiiiife! It's liiiiiiiiiiiife! It's liiiiiiiiiiiiiiife. It's life!
I work as a babysitter, minding someone's kidby the end of the night, I've flipped my lid.I work all day and I work all night.Trying to make a living, it's an endless fight.
It's liiiiiiiiiiife! It's liiiiiiiiiiiife! It's liiiiiiiiiiiiiiife. It's life!"
Lyrical genius, right? Yeah, we were like 12. We knew nothing about life.
In 2001 Jess' family decided they were moving to Townsville. To say I was devastated was an understatement. I cried. I told Dad I was moving to Townsville with them. Jess cried. She told her family she was staying in Brisbane and living with me. Neither plan eventuated and they moved anyway. She came down to visit me in the school holidays - her flight was booked with Ansett (remember them? But they collapsed just before she left!) Then we caught the Sunlander to Townsville. It ended up being over 24 hours on a train. Super fun! But for us, it really was. We rocked Townsville.
Her family moved back to Brisbane before school went back in 2002 and her family said she could go to any school she wanted. She chose mine! I could not have been more excited but Jess is almost a year younger than me so while I was in grade 12, she was in grade 11. Naturally we sat together at lunch time and my friends all became her friends. Sadly, that meant the grade 11s assumed she was snobby and did what bitchy teenagers do.
We'd always planned to live together in an awesome unit in the city and have awesome city jobs. That... never quite happened... But we worked together at two jobs. Jess got me a job as a waitress at 'The Tavern'. I got her a job as a waitress at 'The Hotel'.
In the ultimate demonstration of our love for each other, we got matching tattoos. We have four leaf clovers. Jess has it on her left hip (as she is left handed) and I have the mirror image on my right hip (as I am right handed). How do I know Jess is my BFF? She volunteered to go first. a) She was 100% on board with the idea and b) she trusted that I would do it after her.
We've been on holidays together. She came to stay with me in Bundaberg when I moved there for uni while she finished grade 12. We've shared almost every birthday with each other. I threw her a surprise sweet 16 birthday party. We've even spent Christmas day together.
Today is Jess' 26th birthday - the 21st birthday I have shared with her. I have a million stories I could share - the time we went to Rainbow Beach and watched the sunset from the dunes. And the dolphin jumped over the sun. Oh, wait. That was a dream - the time I had a grooming and deportment photo shoot at school and I convinced the teacher to let Jess come even though she went to a different school - the time we went to a movie marathon to watch three movies we had no interest in just to watch the fourth movie, Harry Potter, because we got into Harry Potter just after the first movie finished screening - "Hey there good looking!" "What?!" "...Want some chicken?" - the time we nearly lost my puppy down a storm drain and Jess, quick as a flash and with no regard her her own life (and the fact it was a gross storm drain) leapt in after him and saved Cujo - the time we were part of an actual world record breaking game of 'cram people into a mini' - the time we went to Goomburra for two nights and got completely lost and then when we finally found it we had no food and the lady who ran the place had to give us her own frozen steak and the next day we stole a sunflower to thank her and then proceeded to melt her tupperware while trying to cook microwave popcorn - but instead, on this auspicious occasion, I'll tell you about the time we went to Toowoomba.
I was meant to be on the absolutely compulsory senior camp. So naturally I didn't go. Instead, Jess' parents let her have the week off school too and we went to stay with my mum in Warwick. Mum had an appointment in Toowoomba so she dropped us off at the local shopping centre. We watched Dracula 2000 and wandered around the shops. When we finally got bored, we decided to explore Toowoomba - a pretty small little town. We ended up at a school.
Now remember, we were meant to be at school so students were there and we were dressed for shopping. At 15, 'dressing for shopping' meant tight jeans and tiny, sparkly tops. So there we were ambling around this school when we saw what looked like the office so we brazenly decided to go in. With much flourish, we pushed open the double doors and took a step in. Only it wasn't the office. It was a classroom. Full of students. Many startled, staring students.
We hightailed it out of there. We were giggling and breathless when we saw a very determined and official looking person. And he was clearly looking for us. We decided to face him. I mean, we weren't students, what could he do? We hurriedly chose our cover story.
"Can I help you girls?"
"Yeah, hi! Um, we're new to the town and Mum told us to go have a look at schools we like the look of. So maybe we would like to enrol here?"
The man, who we figure was the principal, looked us up and down.
"Well this is a grammar school. And it is an all boys school. I suggest you leave and enrol elsewhere."
Miss SAMawdsley xx
- Do you have a best friend?
- How did you meet and how long have you known each other?
- What is your favourite story you've shared with your best friend?
<3 Happy birthday, my Adam. Eight years old. Gone but never forgotten. <3