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Wanderlust... Hungry for another adventure. Navigating uncharted lands by the way of the sea, my eyes are set northward towards God's beauty. Majestic portraits from far and wide. I thank the heaven and the stars that you will always be by my side. Gypsea.
Words have meaning and often invoke emotions—that's one of the many reasons why I love to write. A phrase. An affirmation. A chant or even a prayer; letters that form words that form phrases have power. Have an ability to change the word or evilly control the masses. Lucky for me, I had settled onto one that raises awareness in my subconscious and roots itself in my physical being. "Gypsea."
My best friend for the last 23 years has a social media page and every time I had came across it, the word "Gypsea" was used to describe her. When I had seen the word, my mind would creatively see images that would essentially be what I thought she was. Strong. Magical. Driven. Free. The very same way that I had seen her since the day that I met her.
When I was 8-years-old and had been dropped off at Milton Hershey School, I met her. Shorter than me; however, how can we actually judge what short is when you, yourself are a small child? I was tall in my class but at 8, she was what a 8-year-old child would be. What intrigued me about her is that she wasn't like the kids that I was surrounded with, growing up in the city of Philadelphia. I had been around all kids that were from the "hood," black kids or various shades BUT not someone who was Hispanic. Come to think of it, she was my first friend that was different than the ones that I'd, at the time, grown up with. Her thick curly hair and her youthful smile are what drew my eyes to her direction. She was different and little did I know, our difference is what would make our relationship what it is now; exciting, long-lasting, and exhilarating. Later, she had left the very place that our relationship started and I had struggled to continue the whole boarding school routine. It was a way of life and she wasn't there anymore to be the aid, yet the situation prevented the final good-bye. She lived in the area and as we got older, she would always come back to the school.
I had taken a different approach. After leaving high school, I had begun my own adventure. She was always there, with every personal encounter or life changing event. Whether a phone call or periodic visit, she was always there. Two 8-year-old girls, now women on the brink of 30. Time had truly played a tale in our voyages.
Now, I'm sure you may be wondering why "Gypsea" as the word that I would be sharing with my best friend. It's simple. We have always been free "wild-childs" in various parts of our lives. Lives which lead in different directions as we continue to grow older. I have gone off and explored various places, people, and experiences that have made me me. She was born already with a free spirit and a mind that hasn't been restrained by societal norms. I remember her as a teenager, a rebel, and at times would drive her mother crazy. I wanted to be like her; however, I was like Peter Pan, scared of my own shadow. It wasn't until I was out in college that I had started to discover myself, whereas she was already certain of who she was and is. Yet, it didn't matter how we both got to the point of knowing who we were as women. She laid the groundwork for me years ago.
20 years later, I'm still marveled by how much of a woman that she has become. With adversity that she has faced and the heartbreak that she had endured, I've never seen a woman THAT strong, that withstanding. When I want to be jealous, it's replaced with sheer honor. The 8-year-old girl that befriended an awkward, fat girl was still friends with me. She hadn't left my side, no matter how my life had played out. We had always come back to each other, like a lost ship needing a lighthouse. She was indeed my lighthouse on the shores of life. My boat had been wrecked, docked, stolen from, and deserted yet she stood there, waiting for me to come back home.
When I speak about her, I always have a beaming smile and my heart feels lighter. People have walked out of my life, yet she has always remained constant. When my heart would break with any encounter of potential possibilities of "Love," she was there with the voice of reason, along with her hot, Latina temper to avenge me against the wrong-doers. Even when I have done wrong, she is real quick to remind me of who I am and the consequences of my actions. She is my diary of years of secrets and my photo albums of memories, adding the births of her kids. She never made me excluded of my beliefs and rose the lid off of some of my closed-minded thoughts. Come to think of it, she had always managed to direct my thoughts in a manner that would help me, instead of allowing the thoughts that didn't serve a purpose to fester.
I look at her, catching glimpses of her as she tends to my nieces or handles her job and I'm gleaming with joy. The holidays are happening and I can feel emptiness from her, as she is missing a piece of her. Her mother passed away this year and it's been a feat for her to continue to move on. I see it in her eyes. As much as she misses her rock and no matter how much I would like to be that for her, I can't. I'd turn back the hands of time if I could just to see her smile again, the very same way she had when her mother was around. So, in my efforts, I joke and kid and play around though conversations and recap the happier times. When we would be driving in her small car, down the country roads and jamming to the latest hits. Watching her with her daughters, I ask myself, "Where has the time truly gone?" Never did I think I would be around to see her have kids. My wish would only be for her mom to be around to see all four kids grow up. She would be gleaming with the same pride and proud of who her daughter had become as I was.
We have seen various parts of life and after it all, we're still standing together. Where time and situations would pull people apart, even the strongest relationships apart, we have withstood the test of time. I couldn't imagine what my life would have been like without her. I can't imagine what life would have been if I didn't say "hi" that fall day in September. She has been everything I could have ever dreamed in a best friend. I cannot bring myself to even describe her as such. She was the sister that I had wanted for the longest time.
I look at my hand and seeing her handwriting etched in my skin, like the way her soul has branded itself into my heart, I shake my head in disbelief. How she could love me enough even when I don't believe i'm capable of loving myself? SO many questions of how, yet, it's quieted when I see my handwriting in her skin. There's love. She loves me. Believing that itself, still leaves me just as shocked as to see it on my hand. What did I do to get so lucky? What would the next adventures in which we would both be embarking on. One thing is for certain, however, I wouldn't have anyone else to help me navigated the waters of life than with my sister.
Gypsea. Couldn't have picked a better word that truly embodies everything that is us.