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I Want to Go Home

When I was in Grade 12, I was elected to student council as the Minister of Publicity.

At my school, it was a good thing to participate. I have had many discussions over the years with people about the "status" of people who took part. At other schools, they seemed to be considered the geeks. At my school, if you weren't participating - in drama, yearbook, sports clubs, spirit clubs, the Audio-Visual club, the fencing team, pretty much anythign extra-cirricular - you were the geek.

It was to become an interesting year as not only was every single member of the council in Grade 12 but we were all female and we were all friends.

There is a classic picture of us in the Grade 12 yearbook, in a hallway peering out through a railing, like caged animals, laughing and making funny faces as our staff advisor stood above raising a gavel over our heads, as if that could tame us. I remember when it was printed looking forward to looking back at it as one of the best moments of my life.

Our Prime Minister - C - was the most beloved person in the school. She had been dating the same guy since Grade 7. She was nice to every single person. I never heard her utter a bad word about anyone.

She loved our school. She loved putting things together for the students. The summer before grade 12, she rallied us all together to go into the school and paint murals all over to make it look for sunny. We also painted the bleachers blue with white lettering which read "Blue Bombers". You could see it from the cafeteria and the sky. It was our way of bringing the life back into the school.

I spent many a night with her at her house, putting sparklers on posters for events, preparing candy bags for prizes. I spent many a morning setting up tables and stations for the outdoor fairs or writing speeches for assemblies.

She was often the host of pool parties for our friends, Calculus tutoring sessions, informal school club meetings.

I haven't seen her in probably six years. But the oldest friendships never fade. My emotions today have proved that.

I got an email from her today that makes me want to run to her bedside, make her chicken noodle soup, do her laundry, create pretty pictures to put up around her room, be that smiling, shiney, upbeat beam of light she has always been for so many people.

She is having difficulties health wise - ones that were almost fatal - and I want to go home.

It's not a homesick feeling - one that makes you cry and want to see your mom. It's more just wanting to be able to go to her house with a bunch of flowers and a card, sit with her, chat to her, keep her company.

To be with my friends as we all try to figure out what we're going to do for C because everyone knows she would go to the end of the world for any of us.

And I want to be close to the people I care about so that I can see them after work, go round their houses for dinner, make plans for an afternoon matinee and shopping, watch my friends shop for wedding dresses or grow larger in the stomach in anticipation of wee ones, be there for people when babysitters back out or grandparents are busy or simply when mom just needs an hour or two to herself because she just can't take it anymore.

I don't want to go home for a funeral. And perhaps that's what her email made me realize.

That I almost did.

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