Roz, Fred and Randi was published in the Willamette Writer, a monthly newsletter in July 2015.
She was my best friend. I knew she had other best friends besides me, but that was okay because I had my sister. She was my best friend and her mom, Roz, was my mom’s best friend. My mom would drive up the long graveled driveway and we’d enter the house, ranch style I think, not too tall and spread out lengthwise. I’d enter the front door, there was big living room to the right hand side that we never played in. There was a huge painting of game birds with big breasts that hung over the fireplace. I didn’t know until later that it was an Audubon engraving, I just thought it weird to see breasts on a bird. I’m glad that we didn’t play in that room. Instead I would head to the left into the smaller living room that had a couch and stuffed leather chairs. This room held a coffee table with a piece of glass on it. Under the glass were rows and rows of arrowheads that Fred had collected. They were grey and pointed and chipped up. Sometimes he’d let us touch them.
Behind this room was a kitchen and to the left was a long, long hallway that had a guest bathroom on the right and a guest bedroom across from it. I know this because sometimes I got to be the guest and sleep in this room.
Then down the hall on the right was another bathroom. This was for Fred and Roz and Randi to share. I loved this bathroom because it had two drawers in it. The first one that I pulled out was filled with little glass bottles of pink, orange, and red nail polish. Sometimes Roz would paint our nails. But today we went to the second drawer that held lots and lots of lipstick tubes. I really liked to play in this drawer in front of the mirror. There were even eyelash curlers, mascara, and black and brown pencils. My mom didn’t have any of these kinds of drawers at all. We stood in front of the mirror and put on red lipstick, curled our eyelashes, used the mascara, gooey blue eye stuff, and to top it off red rouge after the pink powder on our cheeks.
Across from the bathroom was Randi’s room. She had a big bed that she didn’t have to share with anyone and lots of toys scattered around the walls; dolls, doll houses, clothes, books, and big light filled windows. But today she had a new toy for us to play with—a typewriter. One that had plastic round keys with an alphabet letter on each, attached to a metal bar. Somehow she knew how to roll the rubber round bar to make a piece of paper go in and then we started typing. We took turns. Hit. Plunk. Type. Push down. Splat of ink on the paper. Fast slow. My turn. Her turn. Back and forth, pound, pound, until we got lots and lots of lines of black ink on white paper. She yanked the paper out of the typewriter and we raced out to Roz, our bright red lips glowing waving our prized piece of paper. Kindly Roz of the curly gray hair, took our paper, held it in her hand, and miraculously started reading to us from that piece of paper. She said there were two little girls, each of brown straight hair, one wearing a red sweater and one wearing a blue sweater. (I was wearing a blue sweater, and Randi’s was red that day) and that the little girls looked so pretty with their blue and green eyes and smiling red lips. Wow! I was floating. We had just written a story. I don’t know how because I hadn’t learned the alphabet yet, but we skipped back to Randi’s room to compose our next piece. And as I glided through the hallway I repeated Roz’s words in my head. I am a writer. My first memory of writing, my first memory with my best friend. I tucked that memory away, the way one does, with happy moments. And then those moments resurface later, at various unbidden times, to be reviewed from an older, more mature perspective. This memory, tucked away, surfaced sometime when I was in my forties, and that’s when I realized the magic of that moment. Kindly Roz had made up that story for us— but I was still a writer.