My brother's 1 year birthday was a momentous occasion. My parents had invited a slew of people and my mother had cooked up a storm. I remember our dining table being laden with traditional Korean food and having to pose for pictures behind it. My hair was short back then, much different than the longer length that I wear now. I recall getting it cut short after having long hair for many years mostly for ballet. First time I debuted my hair was at a football game my sophomore year, my best friend Lisa, telling me I looked like my mom.
I had a few friends over during the party, Lisa whom I was best friends with at the time. I remember saying hello to her mom Cookie and her dad Kevin as they sat in some chairs that had been set up all through out the house. Cindy, who I had been best friends with in elementary school and her mom…and then there was Wendy.
Wendy and I had met in 4th grade. She was a tiny little thing with these huge glasses. Well I had huge glasses too so I really can't make fun. I even have a picture of us sporting our huge glasses in sweat suit outfits….mine was at least pink. Wendy was a tomboy - there was no doubt about that and even though I was about as girly as you could get we hit it off right from the start.
I've always been the kind of person to welcome someone new into a group and well when Wendy was new in 4th grade, I went about to be friends with her. We became best friends easily, as kids that age do. I remember Wendy gladly following my instructions in my ballet classes that I conducted on the recess playground. We even took tae kwon do classes together. The demise of our friendship must have been when she gave back the other half of the friendship bracelet I had gotten for us. She wrote that maybe I should give the other to this girl named Sara that I had been growing close to…oh there were tears and hurt feelings. I wonder what happened to that friendship bracelet.
I can thankfully say that Wendy and I remained friends although not as close as we were in 4th grade. We continued on to middle school and high school together. The thing about Wendy was she never changed….and I mean that in the most positive way possible. Wendy was always the same - she loved anybody and everybody, she wasn't partial to certain people and she never ever forgot to give a smile or a joke. Her laugh was easy to remember, infectious and full. She was kind, unbelievably kind and goodhearted to the core and I think that's why my mom chose to tell her what she did that day of my brother's 1st birthday.
"Always be Jenie's friend"…
Wendy and I talked about it years later after I had spotted her at Nordstrom's one day. As I sat across from her at lunch, I saw her mom and I wondered if she saw my own in me. She was ever still, the same old Wendy…
Maybe out of all the friends I had had through ballet, tae kwon do and school, she chose Wendy for a reason. If the story is true, my mom knew that her life was coming to an end, sooner than later. Maybe it gave her some comfort to know that I would have a friend that would be steadfast, unwavering and ever the same. I hope that as we stand together at her grave that she will see that her daughter had always had her friend, Wendy.