I was so nervous. It was the first day of school…of HIGH SCHOOL, no less. The class of 1987 was the first 9th Freshman class of Andover High School. It was a big deal.
I didn’t feel like a big deal.
I walked into the girls locker room with my new gym clothes, which would inevitably become grey and smelly.
I chose a locker at the back, closest to the door of the gym. I hoped that there wouldn’t been many others in my Aerobics 101 class that picked lockers by me. I was shy and insecure and completely out of my element because none of my friends were here to get my back.
I sat on the bench in front of the locker, or in this case, bins and stared. A tall, lanky girl with wildly curly blond hair walked over to me. Her red, cupie doll shaped lips turned into a smile as she neared. She was light and bouncy and she glowed.
I smiled back. How could I not? She was infectious.
She introduced herself. I told her my name.
She picked the locker bin next to mine.
From then on, throughout the next 3 years (she was a grade ahead of me) we were best friends.
Every single weekend, I spent at least one night driving up and down Orchard Lake Road with her, stalking the boys houses that she had mad, passionate crushes on.
We’d pass each other in the hall and exchange notes that were written to each other in lieu of listening to teachers drone on about inconsequential things like math and science.
She was the one friend who remained constant and true throughout high school. We never fought. There was never drama. It was always easy. The way a friendship should be.
Everyone in my family immediately fell in love with Lori. Her personality and warmth radiated and drew people in. She was the only friend I was allowed to stay out with past my 11:30 curfew. (I know, I told you my parents were SO strict).
When she went off to college in Arizona, we tried to stay in touch. We’d write letters, talk on the phone and we’d get together when she came into town.
Even as we got older, every once in awhile we’d still get together. She used to come over to see my babies and also hang out with me when I was going through my divorce.
We never stopped being friends.
We just drifted apart. Our friendship faded, as many friendships do. We’d see each other out and excitedly catch up and promise to get together. We rarely did. And that was OK.
I look back on my high school experience and she is there, in almost every snapshot in my mind…a huge part of my teen life, always there in my memory and in my heart.
Lori was diagnosed with cancer, over 5 years ago, 6 weeks after giving birth.
She fought a brave and fierce fight.
She died today.
I can’t even express to you how sad I am. Sad that I didn’t get to say goodbye. Sad that I will never know if she knew how much she meant to me…always.
She leaves behind a wonderful husband who took care of her like a true knight in shining armor. And a little boy who I hope will always be able to remember how brightly his Mommy’s light shined.
She was a wonderful person who touched everyone she met.
You will be so missed. Forever.
I love you, HB. Someday we’ll hang out again, passing notes and giggling while listening to Bryan Adams.