More Than

The Spin Doctors are playing “More Than Meets the Ear”, and I am missing you so much it hurts.

One of the last things you told me to do before you died was to watch this movie. “Have you seen ‘Waiting’,” you asked, and threw your head back to laugh. I admitted that I had not. “Oh my God, you HAVE to watch it! It is our lives!” Then you laughed again. Head back, mouth wide open, eyes sparkling. In that moment, the cancer wasn’t winning. In that memory, you were healthy, and we were young and happy.

This movie, a raunchy comedy, was more of a bittersweet trip down memory lane for me.

May 9, 1988, my life changed. And the year that followed probably would have ended me. I followed a path of self-destruction. But then you came along and became my roommate, my confidante, my best friend… my savior.

Like a sitcom, our lives took place on three different sets. The restaurant, the pool, and the small, furnished apartment we shared.

Our co-workers came over to swim between shifts and drink after work. Our apartment became a beach house. A keg lived in the kitchen, a pool chair had its place in the living room, and there were always assorted people passed out on the couch and floor.

We slept with boys, drank too much alcohol, smoked too many cigarettes, went to gay bars, and adopted a cat and named him “Fletcher”. When Fletcher became pregnant, we didn’t change his name. And when he delivered 9 kittens in my closet, we made a sign which read “Caternity Ward”, and hung it on the front door.

I celebrated with you when you became an aunt, and you mourned with me when kitten #9 died. You washed my clothes, cleaned the bathroom, called the police when I was in trouble, and made sure I ate.

That summer was as fun as it was tragic, and that was because of you. You saved my life.

20 years later, I couldn’t save yours. But I keep the memories.

You came to visit me at the pool in Phoenix last weekend. I introduced you to my friend and godson. It was good to see you.

There’s a lot going on in my world right now, but I’m alive, and I have my sense of humor, so I’m good. I’ve been trying to be the Rhonda in as many lives as I can.

I’m going to cry for a few minutes now. But I’ll be fine in a bit.

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