Anke & Ushi

      The new girl with the long, wavy dark hair and the powerful legs.
      She and her brother, a tall blond boy dozens of girls would eventually crush on (though never me), both had amazing cornflower blue eyes, long faces, and freckles. I didn’t know him, he was older. But she was in my class and I got to know her name. Over the next ten years, she would become my best friend and my near constant companion.
      Shannon, that crazy chick.
      We would talk on the phone for hours, even after we had spent most of the day at school together. We had this weird, shared sense of humor. We would listen to Oldies and make up filthy lyrics (often about the hunky professional wrestlers we watched on the WWF) and sing.
      Back in the olden days, long before podcasts, we recorded ourselves being silly on cassette tapes. Thank Goodness there was not a “World Wide Web” available at the time – for if we were thirteen today I’m sure we’d be curating a Tumblr together with a YouTube channel and oh Dear Lord, it would be awful! Awesome, but awful.
      Whether it was watching the Mariners games (she was much sportier than I, though we did eventually play in a church basketball league together) or watching Terminator 2 & Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves & Predator & Stand By Me about a thousand times one summer; whether we were skipping school and eating pizza, or playing Contra for hours in her basement; whether we were gossiping about cute boys or discussing Nixon, politics, and feminism – we were close as two friends can be.
      We took German classes together in High School and had to choose German names to use in class – she was Anke, I was Ushi. Granted, we did not learn much German – we spent a lot of time using the school’s internet to chat with boys on IRC – but the nicknames stuck and to this day, I often still think of us as Ushi & Anke.
      Friendship is a funny thing.
      We met in the third grade – or was it the fourth? No matter. We met as children and we were best friends until we graduated High School. The last year there, we grew apart; different priorities, different friends, different lives. Her parents had divorced, my mother had become a widow. She had boyfriends, I just dreamt of boyfriends. We both worked after school jobs, but she was into clothes and make-up and sports and I was into writing, anime, and music. Life just happens.
      I haven’t seen her in person since the summer after graduation. We were supposed to go to WWU together; but my financial aid fell through and I had to switch gears in August – ended up at CWU, living off-campus with my cousin (my other bestest friend, my platonic soul mate).
      In the past couple of years, we’ve reconnected online a bit. Had a few conversations. Liked each other’s photos and status updates, congratulated each other on marriges or child births.
      And some how, despite the years and the distance, despite the changes in our lives and our outlooks, our faiths and our stance on Nixon (hah!) – I still feel her in my heart.
      We don’t have Skype dates (though I guess we could) and we don’t even talk on the phone, but somehow I know that we could and that our friendship endures despite that.
      Its a comfort, and a blessing. Shared memories, shared childhood, shared history.
      Maybe I’ll never get to Texas to meet her two little boys.
      Maybe she’ll never get to Pennsylvania to meet my husband and Venna.
      But no matter what, we’ll always be friends.
      Anke & Ushi.

Signed, Josie
Note: Image is “An Ugly Collage of Old (bad) Scans” by (ME!)

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