Ephemera of Crystal

I know some genuinely lovely ladies and lately I've been feeling the urge to write about them. Recently I blogged about my friend Vanessa and over the last week, I've been running into images and things online that remind me of my best friend Crystal (pictured with me, above left).

The summer before grade ten, I was home alone on a hot day when I got a frantic call from the sister of my neighbour, who had lived alone in the big house next door since his lovely wife passed away a few years earlier. I'd known and loved the Howards all my life - the older couple were always sweet to me, and I spent some wonderful days playing with their visiting grandchildren every summer. The call I received was worrying - no one had spoken to Mr. Howard for a few days, which raised their concern. They asked if I would go next door to check in.

It was late morning and I can remember the heat had already settled in. I got to his door and rang the doorbell. After no answer, I opened the screen door and knocked on the inside door, which caused it to open slightly. The house was dark and still and it was difficult to see anything beyond the sliver of bright sunlight just inside the doorway. Against all the voices in my head (similar to the ones most people experience when watching a horror film - "DON'T GO INTO THE BASEMENT!") I went in and the only happy ending to the story is that, a few months later, Crystal's family moved in.

The worst part probably wasn't finding him (he had been gone for awhile at that point and it didn't look like it had been a struggle) but the part afterward. I am pretty sure I called an ambulance (just in case) but then I had to call his sister back and tell her what I'd found. My own family was about a half an hour out of town at our cabin and, at the time, we didn't have a phone out there so I couldn't get a hold of them. The ambulance took him away and his sister and some family members came to the house next door - I'm not sure why. And I made them sandwiches and things because that's what one does, or at least it seemed so to me.

So this incredibly sad thing is how Crystal and I came to be good friends. I already knew who she was (we went to the same relatively small high school) but when I randomly got a phone call from her that summer asking me if I lived anywhere near her new house and we discovered she was moving in next door, there was barely a blip between her changing from a girl I knew to someone I loved.

We spent our last three years in high school figuring out ways to thwart her mother's rules - often unsuccessfully - and dancing to oldies in the attic of the big old house she lived in. Our friendship hasn't been perfect and we've fallen out in the harsh, horrible and hurtful way that only good friends can do - but, even thousands of miles away, I know she's one of those stand-out significant people in my life.

Since moving to the UK, I don't often get to see my ladies (with the exception of Jackie - the only one who lives close by from the short list of women I would put into this category) but distance and time never really matters with that special category of friend. I'm hoping to see a few of these gals during my travels over the next few months (and some of them have been kind enough to offer us a place to sleep en route - thank you!) and will even get to see one of them get married (swoon!).

So, my lovely Crystal, here are some things I've come across online lately that remind me of you:

Image Credits:

Movie Still from Heavenly Creatures, found here
Moleskine image from here.
John and Yoko image from here.
Tavi image from here

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