for the formidable females
every time i sit down to write i think of all the boys i’ve kissed and it usually inspires a thousand words and a hundred unnecessary memories. and i forget all of the people in my life —the ones in bras and lipstick and faces of god—who made me laugh and cry and crumble a bit and whose stories i never tell.
but when i look back on the days of shinguards and sweaty legs and middle parted frizzhair i cannot help but see the eyes of emily, who i never call emily—only mill—and wonder how. how her tiny boobs and fierce smile and endless pursuit of pure strength pushed me to my edges and ends and built me into twiggy riggy, the almost all-star. she hugged me with her hips out and her grin wide and drove me to drive ins and dances and dinners. she made me a t-shirt for my fifteenth birthday that she gave to me in a stale weight room and i knew that she was my person, my people.
she is my people, and still i meet her people and her persons. and she knew abby who sat on crumpled bed spreads and quizzed me on history flashcards until we knew we had to get out of that town. whose brainpower reminded me that smarts are beauty and hair is curly and swimming is strength and adolescence isn’t forever.
and it wasn’t and i met maggie who drank in the forest with me and fell out of bunks with me and tumbled to a pseudo adulthood, playing Damien Rice demos on our radio show (Dead Air!) and telling me always that as bad as it was, it wasn’t our worst, it wasn’t our worst. and we listened to Matt Pond and took naps to Iron & Wine in extra long twin beds and we grew up and talked about our vaginas and our boyfriends and our books and our blankets and did you know you could make a heating pad with just a soccer sock and some rice?
And laura, who i barely know now who is a real adult with a baby and how she loved me, even when i left with our couch and moved to france and forgot what being a friend was like. and then maggie some more, with her catholic heart and westside love and the truth of stonewalling and the opposite of crying. maggie met tanner and ben and he who shall not be named and michael and kevin and michael again and pat and andy and michael again and pete and another michael and everybody in between and she loved me and then loved me some more and then taught me to how to make coffee when i was too old to be learning and watching the OC at the same time.
and jess, oh my, you typhoon —you love Typhoon, the band—you cranberry wielding magnificent mile, you straightened my hair and showed me the world and sang to Margot & The Nuclear So & Sos and let me smooch hotPhiltheClimber in your apartment and never let me forget that letting go of your wildness is not an option. we will be wild forever together. and we climbed and treaded across lakes and states and boys and we loved each other and fought and always remembered that Blind Pilot is ours, forever and always. and we heard Ben Kweller sing “Lizzie” and when you left our bubble, I cried and cried and wondered who would always wander with me.
And jess you never really met Chelsea, did you? but Chelsea! my god! When I in awesome wonder! We wore red and ate breakfast sandwiches we thought could not be topped and we dated boys we thought could not be topped. we broke rules and hearts and trust and we fought about whether or not one of us would cut the leftover breakfast pizza with scissors ( i did.) we forgot to call and we said we’d always call and we were best friends and soulmates in all of it, i think. we soared the midwest and we still do, picking dates and dresses and dissecting disasters. we are a series of indie shows and banjos and the time i told pete i loved him outside the library and couldn’t find my way home. i left you and maggie found me and we are all the people we pick up along the way.
we are infamous fridays and immortal mondays and we are only as much as the friends that we hold. i miss your michigan face and mittens and the time we tied our hair together and filmed it for no one but us. we drove to chicago and cincinnati and nashville and detroit and yspilanti and we wondered if through all of it we would be the type of breasty friends who continued to find one another through all the quickening years of adulthood. and we have and we would and we will. we will grow old together, watching The OC and drinking LaSalle gin and wondering whatever happened to Girl Talk; there were so many lights, so many lights.