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For Coletta, days before her wedding

Part I

On Friday, my long-time forever friend Lauren is getting married. And so I’m packing for a trip to Massachusetts, thinking about the past 12 years of Coletta, and getting all varieties of giddy and emotional.

There’s a line in the movie 500 Days of Summer that reminds me of my friendship with Lauren. It’s when the little sister (the best female character in the plot, because, well, let’s not even get into what a b—- Summer Finn is) tells Tom “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soulmate.”

False, little sister. False.

Yeah, we’re going to go ahead and ignore the whole romantic premise of the line and get down to the obvious truth — the little sister was wrong. That ‘bizarro crap’ is exactly what makes Lauren Marie Coletta my soulmate. That bizarro crap is just the cream rising to the top — a latte of proof that we are kindred spirits — that has been confirmed over and over by process of mutual identical thinking.

Coletta was the easiest friend I’ve made. We were 14, and we were sitting in Earth Science. I couldn’t see the overhead projector slides (because I needed glasses and didn’t know it), and she had (has) perfect vision, so I started copying her notes. Those who knew me in high school, or yesterday for that matter, know that this is a big deal. I’m a bit snobbish when it comes to study buddies. Coletta’s notes were perfect. She abbreviated what I would abbreviate. Which is nothing.

 Coletta our freshman year, sitting across from me in science. Look at that face and tell me it wasn’t destiny.

Pretty much from that point on, Coletta and I were together, from the 7am student council meetings, through the exact same class schedule year after year, to field hockey after school. In retrospect, it’s a pretty good thing we got along. I remember back then feeling like she was the other side of my brain — the part that could actually do math in a reasonable time frame. We loved Harry Potter, thought throwing an invisible ball during class was hysterical, found deeper meaning in the Disney Channel, and spent entire sleepovers creating new flavors for Ben & Jerry (“A Wok to Remember” — an Asian ice cream novelty). I remember thinking how odd it was that I could have so much in common with someone who had lived so far away my entire life.

 

 

Nearly all of my happiest adolescent memories include LMC. The two weeks spent wearing the same “good luck” field hockey sweats. Dressing up like the  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Halloween, dressing up for dances, ‘dressing up’ for ghetto nights at Applebees. Hiking, white-water rafting, midnight practices, weekends at the Cape. Late night AIM conversations. We learned to drive together, and her house was one of the first places I remembered knowing how to get to by heart.

Part II

Over the years, there have been visits. Summers spent travelling Route 66, eating Mexican food, and roadtripping to San Diego. Sleepovers in dorms and nights out on the town. There have been long phone calls and late night email catch-ups. There have been big announcements, big disappointments. One thing has been absolutely apparent — though I only lived in the same state with Coletta for two and a half years,  soulmates stick together. Every time we talk, we just pick up where we left off.

As I sift through old photos and the memories float up, I’m most pleasantly reassured that, at the core, we’re still the same couple of 14-year olds we were back at Nipmuc. I think about all of the milestones and life changes and obstacles that have fallen across the pathways over the past decade, and I’m so, so proud of you, Lauren Marie. I’m so excited to get on the plane tomorrow and watch you take one more step in your fated direction. I’m so happy to share this time.

Part III

This is the part where I talk about how lucky (and awesome himself) Dave is and how happy they’ll be. I talk about their huge future and how their dreams are just starting to come true. I tell you I’ll cry as she walks down the aisle, and admit that my plan is to mainly watch her future groom’s face as he takes her in. And her Dad’s, too (Hey, Mr. C!).

And all that is true. But it’s getting late. My suitcase is packed, bedtime is long past, and all I’m hearing is her cackling laughter and the way Jeff Buckley sounded the first time I heard his voice in her parent’s Volvo. I’m shaking my head at the way she’d get so nervous before vocabulary quizzes that she’d physically tremble. I’m debating who is ultimately better, Johnny Tsunami or Zenon, and I’m wanting to chant, “What makes the grass grow? Blood! Blood! Blood!” I’m thinking about that August some years ago when we crammed ourselves into Miley’s princess tent, and the hours a couple summers back we spent at her then-new duplex eating bruschetta and playing Wii. I’m laughing at the journal we used to mail back and forth across the 3,000 mile span in order to “pass notes” to each other.

Mostly, I’m looking forward to watching more unfold. I’m convinced that we had it right from the start: bizarro crap is solid, sturdy ground for a lifetime.

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Forever Young.

This little boy is having a puppy-themed first birthday party in a few short weeks.

A whole year passed.

He’s so beautiful, it breaks my heart. Every little part about him. How did I ever deserve this magic?

My musical soulmate, forever, for so many reasons, including this one:

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Smells like teen spirit. And body odor.

I haven’t been faithful to you. The summer romance we had, updating two to three times a week, those days have long past.

You’ve been replaced by kids. Tadpoles. Whippersnappers. Fourteen-year old boys who don’t shower or wear deoderant. Daughters with clumped mascara and insecure hearts. Cheerleaders, band geeks, track stars. Acne-ridden adolescents with angry appearances (that struggle with alliteration).

You’ve been benched in lieu of staff development and SMART Board lesson plans. The soft clicking of late night typing, no fear of early waking, has been replaced by overstuffed tote bags of poorly-written 9th grade narratives and the looming drone of a cell phone alarm clock.

But this week is spirit week.

Spirit days are consecrated. With each comes glitter, blue jeans, and the chance to pull out all of my inner student council nerdfare. I’m not sure when my love for these sanity breaks bloomed, but there have been many, and I have loved them all.

Sophomore year, 2001. I had numchucks.
High school again. I wore my mom's old prom dress and masqueraded as Cinderella.
Girls' State the summer before I was a high school senior. I think it counts as one giant spirit week.

Many of the pictures from my high school days are buried in some deep abyss. After brief consideration, this is probably for the best. My days of dressing like a lunatic for school ended nearly a decade ago (Seriously?? For the good love.) But then I became a high school teacher, and the spirit day floodgates opened once more. Here’s a small sample of years gone by.

Two years ago, as Karl Malone. This was clearly childhood hero day.
Color day. Yeah, yeah, let's play a rousing game of find the teacher.
80's Day 2010
Musical Genre Day 2010. Ok, mostly I'm posting this for my coworker's outfits. So, so good.

…which brings us to the current Spirit Week. A Disney-themed spirit week. Much to my husband’s dismay, I am a Disney child forever. As I’m starting to feel weird with so many photos of myself littering one post, I’ll restrain my desire to post a gazillion from this week — but it was by far my favorite. Hence the need for my resurfacing.

And not a single **** was given the day I was Malificent.
But I've got spirit, yes I do.

At any rate, in case you were worried that I was six feet under a stack of paperwork, considering trichotillomania as a form of stress relief, or consistently waking an hour and fifteen minutes before my alarm and staring at the ceiling, reviewing All That Must Be Done — I am. But I’m also dressing like a complete crackpot and enjoying it.