I met her just after my thirteenth birthday when I began to attend our shared summer camp. Since that moment she has been in my life. She has always been my friend yet, I do not remember meeting her. Her family has always been an extension of mine and she is more than a best friend. She is my sister.
"All the kids are in the dorms from General Swim. We better get to the chalet to take showers if we're going to make it to dinner on time," a wicked grin spreads across her face. She yells, "I'll race you," as she shoots out of the pool gate, leaving me to lock the gate of the pool. She scampers across the street, and scrambles up the outdoor, rusty, iron staircase. When she reaches the top of the stairs she rips her towel off in a pseudo striptease, waving it over her head, she yells "Yeah-ahhh!"
She turns her attention into the chalet. Yelling through the open door and down the hallway, "Hey you Bitches, I get dibs on the the next shower!" She hangs her towel over the deck's banister then disappears into the chalet followed by uproarious laughter.
She can be abrasively jovial. She is mischievous. She is wildly sensational. She exudes adventure. You can tell that whatever her plan is with the slightest twinkle in her eyes it is going to be righteous.
Our friendship has lasted through always living at least five hours away from each other, being middle school pen pals - I still have those letters, high school, sporadic weekend visits, shopping trips on Forbes, our Grandmothers lighting candles for our protection, spending summers together, cars breaking down on the interstate, colleges, transferring colleges across the country, her overseas adventure with college abroad, countless Mr. Wrongs, road trips, concerts, changing cities, and her spectacularly lively country RamCat wedding and marriage to her equally rambunctious, audacious, thrill-seeking husband. Our most recent reunion occurred this month when she and J2 secretly planned a hurried visit on a two-night stopover from a cross country drive. After seeing each other five years ago at her RamCat One Year Wedding Anniversary we were back together.
She is exactly as my memory holds her. One moment she debates the latest methods of pedagogy and in the next moment she is masterminding saving the world through activism and the benefits of recycling. Two minutes later she is proudly expressing herself in the lyrics of 1980's rock anthems at the top of her lungs. She lives in the moment and loves wholeheartedly.
This is Chelsea.
Although we rarely see each other, when we do, we pick up exactly where we left off. That is damn fine friendship.
|Jeep riding through the ghettos and barrios of Memphis. Alright, this was taken in Bartlett.|
|We stopped for lunch Downtown. Can you guess where?|
|Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken.|
|The extremely polite and sophisticated Ladies Who Lunch at Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken.|
|If only I had known!! We got a giggle out of the posted signs in Tater Red's Lucky Mojos.|
|Figuring out our Blues Names upstairs in A. Schwab.|
|Chelsea is a Nordic Goddess, trying on hats in A. Schwab.|
|EAT, incase you forget. Phaedra at the old-timey soda fountain and ice cream parlor in A. Schwab.|
|Chelsea and Phae on Beale Street.|
|Chelsea on Beale St.|
|Yep, it is Chelsea and I on Beale Street.|
Chelsea tells me a story over a beer or two at Young Avenue Deli in the heart of the Memphis neighborhood Cooper Young.
|"Are you taking my picture?" "Yes." "Why?" "Because you are beautiful."|