Hello, It's Me

Todd Rundgren came on the radio,
and there you were too.
More than forty years gone
and I still see your third grade smile
as we walked across campus laughing.
Our friendship was fast, but never furious
and in the pre-internet world
it was easy to drift apart and lose contact.

I had the luck to meet another friend
who hailed from your neck of the woods;
she found your address the old-fashioned way--
in the local phone book.
With pen in hand, I wrote pages
filling you in on all that had happened
in the three years we hadn't connected:
I was 24, I was married, and we bought a house!

Not too long after I found a letter in my mailbox.
The elation I felt was soon followed by despair.
You'd passed away in your sleep two years before,
due to causes still unknown.
Your mother's letter broke my heart.
You were only 22, had a life and dreams ahead,
were planning a trip to Finland with your mom—
and then you were gone.

I wept
for you and your life cut short.
I wept
for your mother and making her revisit
her pain two years after that devastating blow.
I wept
for myself and the loss of my friend.

You used to love Todd Rundgren back then.
But his words have new meaning
when viewed with ancient eyes.
You know that I'd be with you if I could,
is possible only in memory.
Hello, It's Me will always
make me think of you, smiling your third grade smile.

~Elise Skidmore ©2020

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  1. I always have to stop and read your stories, I’m addicted. So personal and touching. Memories always make me smile at first than cry. Keep writing your special way.

    1. Thank you so much, Lucille. You have no idea how much comments like yours mean to me. Knowing others are reading and can relate is a big part of why writers write in the first place. I’ve had a bit of a lapse in writing since the new year started but I’m going to try to do better. Thanks again!

  2. Memories of an old friend are often filled with a variety of emotions. Memories of long ago and simple times makes most of us smile. Last week I got together with two high school friends. We reminsed. Your memory of your friend is beautiful. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend at such a young age. Thanks for a nice story.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. This particular friend and I only really knew each other for a short span of time, but we bonded in some fundamental way and I’ve never forgotten her. Maybe that’s because of the tragic ending to a too short life–I don’t know. I do know that every time I hear Todd Rundgren, I see her smile. Maybe that’s a good enough legacy.