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Gabby Douglas & Simone Biles: Hop off their edges

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Thursday

"Ring, Ring, Ring/Ha ha/Hey hey"


Yesterday my phone rang with 2 separate numbers I didn't recognize. Like everyone else with Caller ID, I ignored it. It was immediately followed by a "Private Caller." Of course, my response was more crickets. Today, the stranger of the 2 area codes came up on the Caller ID again and for some reason I was moved to answer. I said "hello" and was greeted by a voice I haven't heard in at least 14 years. She called me by the nickname that only she used in a voice that hasn't changed at all. The use of my nickname was supposed to be responded to with the one only I used for her, but I was so taken aback that I forgot what I was supposed to do. It was a gift I missed the chance to give.

She asked about my family, and I instinctively knew that hers was continuing on the same path it had when we were in high school. Her confirmation of that was both a feeling of familiarity and sadness. As she spoke about her pets (hasn't been without one as long as I've known her) I could almost feel being in her room. I could imagine going in and racing upstairs to drop my things in her room, tripping over Yorkies before going in her parents' room to mess with her mother. Via speakerphone "Ma" called me an ankle biter, always on the ready with some joke about how small I am. Physically, anyway. All of our memories flooded by and rolled into a ball, much like those made of rubber bands, each memory a unit that could pop off and fling us back to that time with a laugh or familiar turn of phrase. She's as familiar now as she was then.

We were so close that if lesbians were of any concern in high schools, we would've qualified on the basis of assumption. We almost died together in the Prelude. I got kissed on my neck for the 1st time wearing pj's and standing on her coffee table. We raced to see who could take their after school constitution the fastest, cannily sharing the same body sign for being finished, shouting between bathrooms on different floors. She took detours through my house during track practice for orange juice. I lived at her house for 3 days following prom and stored my prom dress in my locker. We terrorized other motorists with Redman and Das EFX.

I was Billy. She was Frankie.

On the phone we were the adult versions of our former selves, enough recognizable ingredients to like the flavor of the dish we shared. I still sound like me. She still sounds like her. And we tried to wrap 14 years into nearly 2 hours. Her catch phrases haven't changed. Her analogies are still bad. And I still know them like the back of my hand and understand her struggling attempts to connect things I could predict she'd explain before she actually did it. It's funny how sometimes time means nothing and everything all at once. Because I couldn't fully capture 14 years, I invited her here to at least be reintroduced to who I am now, who I've always been. And now she gets to...

Watch me move. Again.

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