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You can't fake voice

Wednesday 6/28/23

It's real or it isn't. This is from a story called "Just Lace," which was begun this morning.


***


I’m not sure if I believe in God (which both my parents are okay with, by the way, because we have talked about it, thanks for asking) but I do have a habit of saying “Oh my God” a ton which is hard to break (to all of the teachers I’ve annoyed with this, I’m sorry), and if you asked me one word to describe my best friend Lacey, it would be godsend, because it’s like she comes from somewhere else. The world wouldn’t ordinarily produce someone like Lacey.

She’s like a shot life makes from one end of the basketball court (pretend that life looks like a point guard who just caught the inbounds pass under the basket) to the other after doing a monster heave with all its strength. You aren’t going to make that shot again if you stay out there all day and neither will life (no offense, life). That’s gonna be Lacey.


I also owe big-time thanks to the alphabet and for me being Justine Abban and for her being Lacey Agglio which has meant that since Kindergarten we have sat next to each other at the start of every school year (I guess you can say the alphabet counts for a lot where we live) because not a lot can get between Ab and Ag.


I’ve gotten super confident at times and felt like waving my fist and saying, “Just try it!” but you also don’t want to dare the universe too much. Still It would really take something and what are the chances of there being an Ac or an Ad to come between us when we already know the other kids already?


Someone would have had to move to town during the summer, and I always learn who the new kids are quick, just in case they might end up in the middle of Lacey and me and who knows, they could really hit it off.


What am I supposed to do? Try and talk around this kid when we’re at our desks? She’s going to be able to talk to me and Lacey equally and if a person has a choice…it could be a boy, too…which would be…complicated…they are going to want to be friends with Lacey more than me and I don’t blame them.


Life just works that way sometimes (fingers crossed that it doesn’t in this case), but we have been best friends for many years now (which sounds like something in a book, but whatever…) and our story is still being told, which is a saying of my dad’s that he wouldn’t mind me using when it comes to me and Lace, which is my nickname for Lacey, just as she calls me Lady Justice…partially because of my name, duh, and partially because I was the Statue of Liberty one year for Halloween (Halloween first grade: fact!) and the people who know me best say that I do try to be fair—emphasis on try—though there are others who think I’m too sensitive and dramatic, but it’s hard for me to help it because sometimes I just care so much and I care about Lacey as much as my mom and dad and my brother Trevor (okay, I admit it), which they all know about because we have talked about that, too, and Trevor is the only one who isn’t cool about it but that’s what you’re going to get from a boy his age who wants everyone to treat him like a celebrity (lame).


What I like to say is love is love and you don’t rank love. That doesn’t mean you love everyone despite what people say because you’d have to be pretty gullible to do that, but I love Lacey and I’m proud to stand here today in front of you and say what I just did, which is a joke obviously because I’m not standing before anyone (I was at my desk in my room writing at the beginning of this and now I’m in my bed, if you must know, and I am just going to take as long as I need to each night until I have said what I want to say about my friend Lacey).


One of the coolest things about us is that people are so used to us being together that they will refer to us as Just Lace, like a term. They don’t mean Just Lace as in only Lacey because you couldn’t put a word like only in front of Lacey and come across as any other way than like a dumbass. Which is a person’s right. My dad says that. He doesn’t say dumbass. He says if you don’t want to think then that’s your choice, just as it’s everyone else’s choice not to take you seriously (translation: clown).


My dad puts a big weight on being taken seriously. Which is funny because both my mom and my dad are very funny people. But try to keep this straight, please. (I’m joking.) You can be funny but you don’t want people to think you’re a joke. That’s all it means. Well, that’s everything it means.


But what Just Lace means is people know me and Lacey are there for each other and we always will be though we are still separate people. I would never claim to be like Lacey. I said she was a godsend, but I’m more like an earthsend, or a personsend, which aren’t even words.


I’m being a little funny but the point still stands, which is something my mother used to say when I got timeout when I was little even though I hadn’t done anything wrong which was actually some of the time (though I get that everyone needs a break also).


My mother would get all serious when I pleaded my innocence like she was this judge who was hearing a very important murder case, then she’d look at the palm of her hand like she was reading something there and nod her head a bunch of times before saying, “The point still stands!” and off I’d go to my room for ten minutes. See? I told you she was funny. Don’t make me fight you (joking obviously).


I am honored of course that I get to come first in Just Lace while also understanding that it can’t be Lace Just which sounds like a commandment about how to take your time tying your shoes. Hopefully we get to go to the same college and then be roommates for a while when we’re adults and live with our families as close to each other as we do now which is a fifteen minute bike ride for me and less than ten for Lacey because oh yeah, she’s the best athlete you have ever seen and you know who is going to agree with me? All of the boys our age, that’s who. (Hate the game, not the girl!)


I know what you’re thinking: pretty big deal. But that isn’t the half of it. If Lacey was someone else that’d be like the seventy-five percent of it, but there are these people who cause you to look at them really hard because you’re in disbelief that they’re a regular size but there’s so much inside of them. You’re almost trying to figure out how it all fits and where some of it gets stored.


Is there a secret invisible compartment behind the ears and that’s why old women are always checking there when you’re a kid because they know what’s up? I used to be an inch taller than Lacey but now she’s an inch taller than me, but I know that that inch isn’t the answer since she has been this way the whole time I’ve known her and I can’t say that I’m expecting to meet anyone else this way again. If I do, though, I would have to introduce them to Lacey, even if that would change things between us.


My dad took me and Trevor hiking this past summer when our mom went to visit her sister in Providence after she had twins and the birth was what doctors call tricky (IOW: a baby almost died but didn’t, though it was in a little baby coma for the first two days of its life; horror) and the wind was howling.


I thought it was going to knock the trees over and we’d be crushed by one of them because what are the chances of getting out of a forest alive if a bunch of trees are falling all around you? He said we’d be fine and to pick up the pace. (Not a fan of walking slowly.) Then he gets all weird or funny because it’s like he catches himself and realizes that here’s an opportunity to say one of his quirky things, and he goes, “There was never a wind that got stopped that didn’t want to be stopped.” He said it like he was proud, and Trevor goes, “It’s freezing,” and I know he wanted to swear (It’s f---ing freezing) and would have if it was just us.


Lacey is like the wind that way, just as I can be like the wind when it comes to Lacey. I’m also confident that she’d get herself out of the forest of the falling trees. Sometimes I imagine myself running to the woods to make sure she’s okay, and when I get there she’s already come out and is standing at the edge with the forest having collapsed behind her in this giant pile of wood with the dust and the dirt still rising from the explosion but this amazing smell of fresh pine in the air.


I exclaim, “You got out” and depending upon how tired I am when I think this, because it’s usually when I’m falling sleep, she either says, “I wasn’t going to stay there” like she’s making a joke and being both modest but also so cool at the same time, or “I didn’t want to keep you waiting.”


But I also think there wouldn’t have bene a happy ending if I’d gone hiking with her that day because I can’t move like Lacey moves and I know I wouldn’t be awesome at dodging falling trees. I’d be that person with a tree on top of them that the other person was trying to pull out who’d say, “Leave me, save yourself,” and if Lacey wouldn’t go, I’d pretend that I had already died so she wouldn’t have a choice.


That would be the one of the only ways I could save someone like Lacey, not that there are people like Lacey, as I hope you have been able to tell so far.




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