Tomorrow a good friend of mine is getting married.
She was the daughter of one of the ministers at the church I grew up in. They moved to Tulsa when I was in fourth grade.
I guess our parents wanted us to be friends, so we went to go see The Lion King together. When Mufasa died, we looked to each other for support, tears streaming down both of our faces.
Her mom did her hair every day, usually in really intricate braids with huge bows. I thought she was beautiful. She still is beautiful, even though her mom stopped doing her hair a long time ago.
The first time I went over to her house, I was delighted to find that she had awesome art activities that I had always wanted, such as a pottery wheel and spin art. We spent some time in the kitchen making a mess with both of these things, but then severe weather swept over the town, and we had to take cover from tornadoes in a closet under the stairs.
When the sirens stopped and we crawled out from the cramped, dark closet, I turned to her mom and said, “May I go home now?” I remember her later relating this story to a friend at church and laughing at my polite fright.
Kari and I, along with our friend Deborah, whom I have known since I was an infant and whom also attended our church, became inseparable.
We considered ourselves BFF and kept BFF notebooks that we would write notes in and pass to each other in the hallways of school during passing periods. We would get into arguments over who got to keep the notebooks once they were full, but, in the end, we filled up three, so we each got one.
Boys inevitably began to take center stage in our lives at a certain point, and the cutest boy at church asked Kari out when we were on a seventh grade church choir trip to Washington, D.C. We thought he looked like Leonardo DiCaprio.
They broke up after a month, and then a few months later he expressed interest in me, so I began dating him, which began a love affair that spanned most of high school and part of college.
I never asked Kari if it hurt her that I dated him, though I’m sure it did. He was her first boyfriend. But she was gracious about it. She wanted me to be happy. She was a good friend.
We spent a lot of time wondering aloud about our future husbands. It seemed inconceivable that we would one day marry and have families of our own. But we couldn’t wait for that day to come.
I saw my first PG13-rated movie with Kari at the age of 13. Romeo + Juliet. We, along with Deborah, became obsessed with it.
Kari kept a calendar hanging on the wall in her room on which she wrote down every single thing she wanted to remember. I think she is even more prone to nostalgia than I am. Every once in a while she would look at me and say, “We’re making memories.” I would grin back at her and say, “Yes, we are.”
One time when I was staying at Kari’s house for the night I glimpsed her calendar, and on that day’s date, I read, “Spring spins the night.” Kari is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and she thought the phrase was “spin” the night rather than “spend” the night, like a misheard song lyric. I’ve never mentioned this to Kari, but I’m much more fond of her phrase than the real one.
When I was a sophomore in high school, our dear church began to crumble because of several unfortunate circumstances, and Kari’s father took a job at another church in Texas. Kari had to move away.
We threw going-away parties for her, and I got in the biggest fight with my mom that I’ve ever been in because she wanted me to go on a retreat with her company that would cause me to miss one of Kari’s parties. I remember yelling at her, “THIS IS MY BEST FRIEND’S GOING AWAY PARTY,” but because I cannot yell at someone without crying, least of all my mom, it sounded more like, “THIS (sob) IS (sob) MY (sob) BEST (sob) friend’sgoingawaypartyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.”
It must have been really pathetic, because I ended up convincing my mom to let me come to the retreat after the party.
Before Kari moved away, we made a promise to each other that wherever we were, whenever it was, even if we hadn’t spoken to each other for years, we would each attend the other’s wedding. We referred to it as “the wedding promise.”
Kari, that day is finally here for you, and I am so honored and excited to be a part of it. I wish you all the best in starting a family of your own. And I can’t wait to make some more memories tomorrow.