My bracelet sags loosely around my wrist catching my attention as it forces me to re-adjust it back up higher around my forearm. The words embroidered haunting me with my every look at it, “In Loving Memory, Whitley Ann”. Its then in that moment I am taken back fifteen years. The blazing heat from the glow of the translucent rays of the sun beat down ferociously on my face. I lay sprawled out the on trampoline next to her, Whitley, my childhood best friend. Her golden yellow hair shines brightly, almost white in color, as if bleached from the long summer days in the sun. Her eyes in all their bright blue wisdom make her seem much older than she really was. The tint from her tanned skin was so dark that it was if she could drink in the rays and instantly surface the pigment to her skin all in one instant. She wore a cluster of strategically placed freckles across the bridge of her nose that brushed out to the edge of her cheeks in such a beautiful way that it would make you jealous not to have freckles as your own. We always referred to them as her “angel kisses”, and decided she only had so many because I could not show them on my face so she had double the kisses for me on hers.
The lacing of elastic that weaved in and out like a wicker basket on the trampoline was withering along the edges, and the heat that radiated off the ebony color swarmed us like we were trapped inside a sauna that had been turned on high. It was one of those days that you were thankful to the heavens that the whipping whirlwinds of Nebraska were something that could be counted on. The sky was the lightest baby blue, like the reefs of the ocean, so perfectly clear that you could see right through to the ocean floor. Smells of the freshly cut grass lingered in the air, mixed with the dusty waves that came in from the dirt road leading up to the house.
We lay, faces toward the sky, watching the clouds pass by at incredible speeds, as if they were remote controlled sail boats you find racing on ponds. Every so often one of us would point toward the sky, and without even having to say a word, the other would see the exact same thing, whether it be a rabbit, or a fire-breathing dragon. We once even made out a peacock, feathers and all right before it floated off down the stream of clouds and changed in its form. In a second it was gone. We had formed such a bond that we could do things like this. We need not speak to each other to know what we were thinking. We had been best friends since kindergarten. Since that first day our moms took us to the interview to get into the school at the same time. We spent the entire time competing against each other. Who could make the better plastic dinner dish? We went back and forth for twenty minutes trying to bring our mothers the most exquisite forms of food that we could concoct with what we had before us. From gourmet hamburgers, to freshly sliced pizza topped with just the right amount of pepperonis. Until finally we warmed up to one another and made one fantastic plastic meal for our moms to share. A tossed salad with black olives for an appetizer, followed by a spaghetti and meatball entre. Ever since that day of competition that built into a friendship, we were inseparable. There was no time that you would find us apart, unless of course we had to be forced to go home with our families for the day, until we could be reunited again the next.
I point up to a cloud passing by and we look at one another, a star. In a brief mischievous glace shared between us, wide smiles plaster against our faces we jump up in an abrupt hurry to rush inside. We enter the front door through the dark mass of…