[If you’ve clicked this link and plan to read, please note this will be a story that develops in stages. Sadly, I have no idea how long it will be or how frequently I will be able to add on. If that’s not annoying, I hope you enjoy it!]
Two things you need to know about the girl who died last week: number 1) she genuinely believed eating a red Skittle and a yellow Skittle simultaneously would produce an orange flavor in her mouth, and number 2) she wore sweatpants around the house that had the word JUICY emblazoned on her ass.
One thing you need to know about me: I loved both of these things.
Her death was accidental and texting-related; there’s not much new about that these days. Before you shape the wrong idea of her, though, please know she was the victim and not the offender. It was the other driver who, the police said, was texting her own babysitter to tell her she was running late when they crashed.
Lexi is not short for anything, which was something she always had to explain to teachers on the first day of school. People who only saw her at school probably used words like “bubbly” or “cheery” or “she was a constant smile.” They were right–at school, she was just that. I had other insider information though. When we were eleven years old, our parents started taking ballroom dance classes together and we ended up being dropped off at each other’s house on alternating weeks. At eleven, you believe everything your parents say, so it wasn’t odd to either of us that they sometimes came home at nine and other times at 11:30. Either way, Lexi and I eventually warmed up to each other and did what other kids that age did, we assumed.
She made me increasingly nervous once school started that year, though. We were beginning sixth grade in the new middle school, and our first teacher of the day, someone who ran our Study Period, had been hired just a week earlier. I remember he wore a thin black tie and a cardigan. I remember this because Lexi couldn’t stop talking about him the whole walk home. She was also getting stares all afternoon from the boys who had made fun of her hair/teeth/laugh/shoes just a few months earlier in fifth grade. The stares were due fully to her development of breasts.
And her mother had helped her with make-up that morning too.
Lexi was growing up, and I was becoming just another stupid boy in her grade. She never said it in such a way, but it was apparent to me then–though I was too naive to admit it–that this was the beginning of a downward spiral to our friendship.