When I was little there were two little girls I wanted to play with so bad it hurt. They were each significantly older than me - 6 or 8 years or so. There was a point, when I was REALLY little that apparently I was cute enough to play with sometimes and that was enough addiction to make me desperate to play with them ALL THE TIME by the time I was about 4.
But by then, they were pre-teens......and didn't want to PLAY with me anymore. Such was my desire though, that I'd do anything to play with them.
They tried strategy to get me to WANT to go away. Such as, they'd pick hard games that they thought I couldn't learn, such as Stratego or Monopoly or Life. This failed because I earnestly learned how to play to such a degree that I could WOMP their butts by the time I was six. They'd make up rules that if I couldn't memorize the words to all of a new song, then I couldn't play with them.
So I learned to memorize.
We were playmates of a sort for years and years. Most days, I'd end up running home crying because eventually they'd get bored of trying to make me GO away and would just tell me to, or would say something to hurt my feelings and I'd run sobbing home.
The worst thing they would do, when summer came, was they would walk to Standard Grocery to buy candy. This was bad for two reasons. I wasn't allowed to go out past the gardens, and you had to go beyond the gardens and across a field to reach the Standard Grocery. So this in itself was a great way to get rid of me. But the other thing they'd do is buy a bunch of candy, and stand JUST far enough away that I could SEE what they got - but that I couldn't come to them because it was beyond my limit. And they would stand there and eat their candy, smirking in that crappy way only little girls can.
What is odd though, is that when I think back about Sherrill and Martha Leigh, I don't think of those times as bad. And I remember other things that were so good. I remember going nightcrawler hunting with flashlights at night, pulling the huge worms out of the gardens after a fresh rain for fishing the next day. I remember how we were only allowed to burn those little black pellet snakes on a specific part of the sidewalk that had been destroyed years before by the selfsame 4th of July firework. (Dude I love those snakes.)
We used to lay on the ground (in the forbidden field but with adults this time) and sing WHERE OH WHERE ARE YOU TONIGHT? at the top of our lungs, until the fireworks started.
We would sneak back to the school playground after a rain and play in the mud around the merri-go-round and then sneak back home and use the hose by the garden to wash our feet so we didn't get caught.
We went barefoot all summer, as a point of pride we felt we didn't need shoes. We listened to Wings, and Barry Manilow, and KISS and read Tiger Beat magazine and cut out the pictures. We made shrinky dinks and creepie crawlies.
And I sometimes think now, that none of us had sisters, but that this must be what it would be like, to have a sister. To fight and bicker and be mean, but then to hold a dog wedding one afternoon because you realize one of you has a boy dog and one of you has a girl dog - and if you have a dog wedding you can have puppies and then I COULD HAVE A PUPPY.
I mean, how could my parents refuse?
I miss those guys. Last time I saw them, one or the other was having a wedding, and we sat at a table eating cake and howling and giggling at other people's expense. I hadn't seen them forever, but the spiritus was still there. They were teasing me asking me if I still at brown sugar by the spoon (hello I was 4 when I did that) and then we turned the conversation to other doofuses we used to know.
Sherrill's dad caught wind of our wicked conversation and giggling and snarked at us "Can I get you cats a bowl of cream?" and we again howled with laughter.
And that was when it hit me, I was finally big enough.
I wonder where they are now? And if they'd like a spoonful of brown sugar.......