We have plenty of time
That’s what my mom said when we were at the pool together. It was second grade. We’d met 2 weeks before and were already inseparable. You were wearing a ladybug swimsuit and we laughed at the ruffles that made you look like a fancy cake. I got so cold that my lips turned blue, but when mom said we were leaving in 30 minutes we both rioted in protest.
“We have plenty of time left,” she said, “now let’s go get some ice cream.” I got strawberry, you got chocolate and we both got it all over our faces. Your mom took a picture of us together with our messy smiles. I hadn’t seen that picture in 7 years. It made me cry for longer than we spent at that pool.
We have plenty of time
That’s what you said in 6th grade, lounging on your couch. You were tossing a tennis ball up and down, skillfully avoiding the project you were supposed to be doing half of. I’ve never met someone so good at procrastinating. We submitted that project 2 minutes before the deadline. I almost had a heart attack. I hated doing projects with you, but no one else would take you, and your lack of work ethic, so the duty fell to me.
“We have plenty of time,” you said, “stop worrying about it.” I went over to your house 3 times that week and I swear we didn’t do a minute of work the first two. The only time I got anything done was when you were in the bathroom. You could distract me for days. It didn’t matter if there was nothing to do, you would pull something out of your bottomless mind and we’d be laughing for hours. Our project on Mars turned into making a cardboard mansion for your cat, dressing up and making a play about an evil British man, and making a blanket fort that you promised me we would finally do our project in. That blanket fort was amazing. 2 couches worth of cushions, 6 blankets, 5 chairs, all of the pillows from your bed, a mattress slide, and a grand total of 4 hours. Your mom was so mad when she saw it, but once we got her to look inside she did admit she was a little impressed. The next day when I came back, the last day we had to work, we crawled into our fort and finally got to work. I was surprised how helpful you could be when there were only 20 minutes left and we still had 5 slides and a script to go. We pasted pictures and wrote bullet points like there was no tomorrow. We got an A on that project. I only remember that because I would have killed you if we hadn’t. I’ve missed 5 projects. I haven’t been to school in two weeks. Maybe I’ll try to build a pillow fort today.
We have plenty of time
That’s what we said when we wrote up the massive list of things we wanted to do that summer. It was our last before high school, and the Disney Channel shows we watched had us terrified we were going to grow apart. Our remedy was to spend as much time as we could together before school started. We ate ice cream, went biking, had sleepovers, baked cakes, and helped each other with chores. I bet I cleaned your room more times than I cleaned my own. Once you even asked me where your nail polish was and I texted back, smiling, Only if you let me use the blue next time.
“We have plenty of time,” we said, “we can do it all.” We were wrong, of course. We might actually have been able to complete the list if it hadn’t been 3 pages long and included things like riding in a hot air balloon and silly string party, whatever that meant. We imagined doing so many things. We got busy, though, and a lot of stuff didn’t happen. That was the summer that my hamster Zippy died. She died, like all hamsters do, tragically and oh so unfortunately. I woke up one morning and she was laying still between her wheel and the side of the cage. I thought she was sleeping at first but when she didn’t respond to my voice or my opening the cage I got scared and yelled for my dad. I called you right away, you were her godmother after all. We had a big funeral for her. We wrote eulogies and wore all black. We decorated a box with flowers and lovely words and put her inside. We cried hard as we lowered her into the hole that we dug in my backyard. You told me you didn’t want to be buried in the ground like zippy, with the dirt and the worms. You wanted to be cremated and spread somewhere beautiful. Preferably at sunset with lots of butterflies. I told that to your parents but they decided to bury you. I wasn’t going to argue with them. I hope you aren’t angry.
We have plenty of time
That’s what I told you when you said you wanted to hang out. I was busy with semester finals. You had them too, but you didn’t take them seriously like I did. We were juniors, though, and I needed perfect grades if I wanted to get into an Ivy League. I knew if I went over to your house I’d be there the whole night. You’re too good at distracting me. Looks like I won’t be getting into Princeton now. It’s not like I care anymore. I would have a good entrance essay though.
“We have plenty of time,” I said, “we can hang out after finals.” I was wrong. I was wrong because 5 days later there was no time left. There was nothing left but your unbelievably ruined car and a scene I vomit just thinking about.
There was no time when I sat there on the floor, pieces of the plate I had been holding moments before shattered around me. I cried into that phone for hours. Your parents only stayed on for a few minutes, but I clung to it even after they left. At some point, I must have fallen asleep because that’s where my mom found me the next morning. Passed out in a pool of salty ceramic shards.
I wish we had more time
I wish we had more time. But we don’t. And it’s been taking me a long time to come to terms with that.
I wish we had more time, but I’m thankful for all that we had together. I got someone that made me laugh so hard that I snotted on the lunch table, even when I was on the brink of burning out. I got someone who was so skilled at distraction that they could make me forget about anything for a few hours. I got someone that sang an original ballad to the hamster I’d only had for 4 months.
I got you. And I wish we had more time. I know you do too. But we don’t. So next summer, when the pool opens up again, I’ll go get two dishes of ice cream: chocolate and strawberry. I’ll find a beautiful place and wait there until sunset. The ice cream will be melted by then, but I’ll wipe that stuff all over my mouth. Tip of the nose, fingertips, the whole shebang. With a sticky smile and salty eyes, I’ll spread your chocolate ice cream in that beautiful place. Sorry, but I feel like the butterflies might eat it. Actually, that sounds pretty cool. I’ll get back to you on the butterflies.