I remember like it was right now. She would take me by the hands and swing me around in the air. I must have been around 6. We would swing in the flat grassy yard across from their house. I could swing forever and always asked for more. She would laugh and fake a hillbilly accent, “Toni, I’m tared. Time to take a break.” She was Marry’s big sister. And Barry’s and Kelly’s. Not mine. But she was almost one of mine she was so present. Eventually, I grew too big for her to swing me.
She complimented me by teasing me for being messy, lazy, lucky or skinny. She bitched up a storm when she needed to. She busted us all when we were too proud, loud or reckless. She liked keeping things clean. She had beautiful hair. She talked about how to be smart. Smart with money. Smart with life. And helped pick up the pieces when you weren’t. She reminded me of the rules and the strategy while we played cards, instead of just after I lost.
We were never girlfriends. We never went to movies together. Or shared the same friends. Or called each other up just to say Hi. We never sat together swapping love stories over a glass of wine. She simply walked a path ahead of me. Not for me, just ahead of me. Now as I’m walking I’ll miss looking up and seeing her there.