My mom went to St. Pius here in Tulsa from kindergarten through eighth grade. St. Pius is a private catholic school. There were 26 kids in her eighth grade graduating class. Kids she played basketball with and kids she went to girl scouts with. Kids that she’s still friends with now. The most important people in my mom’s life are the same people who were the most important when she was ten, aside from my brother and I of course. The bonds that my mom formed with Lisa, Kevin, and Dee are lifelong. These are a few of the names I hear every day, and a few of the people sitting around my dining room table every Sunday night.
My mom lost touch with all of her friends when she moved to Kansas City, Missouri with her parents when she was fourteen. In 2003, my mom, my brother, and I moved from Great Falls, Montana to Tulsa. We live in the house that my grandpa grew up in. When we first moved back, my mom would occasionally go to dinner with an old friend, but it was pretty rare.
Then my mom joined Facebook.
In 2009, she reconnected with her friend Dianne (Dee). My mom and Dee played basketball together when they went to Pius, and they were best friends. At that time, the Pius girl’s basketball team was even coached by my grandpa. Basically, my mom and Dee “go way back”. Soon enough, my mom, P.J., and I were all going to Dee’s house a few times a month to have dinner. Dee had two kids at the time, Lexy, who’s my age, and Ali, who’s P.J.’s age. We all get along great. Lexy is so beautiful and Ali is incredibly smart and funny. Now, Dee has another baby, his name is Holden and I’m crazy about him. He’s absolutely adorable, he’s three months old and just the most perfect baby in the world. My mom and Dee have been through death, divorce, and due dates together, and I hope to be as close with Dee’s girls some day.
After everyone had been friends on facebook a while, they created “The St. Pius Happy Hour Group.” Its a private group, invite only, very exclusive! My mom reconnected with Kevin and Lisa, two of the most important people in my life, but more on them later.
The craziness began around this time last year. Kevin and Lisa were dating at the time, those two and my mom were the “three best friend that anyone could have!” Kevin started bringing my mom and Lisa to The Tin Dog, a little bar between 31st and 41st and Harvard that could only be described as a shit hole. Pardon my french. They used to go out on Thursday nights, which then expanded to Thursday night and Friday night. And now, they all go to the Tin Dog Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But I suppose I shouldnt say “they.”
Over the summer, my mom grilled out every night. Lisa and Kevin would come over, and Lisa would bring the girls. We’d all sit around, eat bar-b-q, and watch Saturday Night Live or The Little Mermaid.
Lisa is one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. She has a beautiful face, a bangin’ bod, and all that, yeah, but her personality is beautiful. She’s more than my mom’s friend, she’s my friend. We text about boy troubles, school, and work. I’m really close with Lisa in a way that I’m not close with anyone else. And my mom and Lisa? Well, simply put: my mom almost named me after her.. They are attached at the hip, I’ve never seen two people get along so well. And of course, they went to Pius together.
Kevin. I couldn’t write a paragraph that would do him justice. Kevin went to Pius with Dee, Lisa, and my mom. Kevin was the most likable person on the face of the planet. He was loud, sweet, funny, and WILD. He knew everything about his iPhone and would help you buy the best camera in the store. I’ve never had a stable father figure, and I wouldnt say he was like a dad, but he was like a big, tough, protective older brother that teased me relentlessly. I chose to spend my sixteenth birthday at Goldie’s with Kevin and Lisa instead of having a big party like normal people do. I absolutely loved him. Everyone did. Lisa and Kevin were absolutely perfect for each other. To this day, I cant even see her with anyone else.
In August, my mom and Lisa went on the trip of a life time to Italy. They were they for two weeks. Meanwhile, I stayed with my grandparents in Kansas, but I came home a few days early so I could be here for the first day of school. On August 13th, at about 11 o’clock in the morning, I got a call from my mom, from the other side of the world. I had just left Kevin a voicemail, telling him I was in Tulsa and I wanted to see him. When I answered the phone, my mom sounded physically sick. “Something terrible has happened,” my mom said. “What!? Is Lisa okay? Are you okay? What happened?” I said. “Kevin has been in an accident.” Silence. I was standing in the hall way, I sat down on the floor. “Is he gonna be okay?” I asked. Silence. “He didn’t make it, baby,” my mom whispered after what was perhaps the longest pause I’ve ever heard. “Kevin Gabel? Our Kevin? Lisa’s Kevin?” I practically yelled. I immediately burst into uncontrollable hysterics. I asked her where Lisa was, and she said that Lisa was laying in the bed next to her. I couldnt even talk to my mom, I was crying so hard. I got off the phone, and called my grandparents, who had just gotten the news. My grandma was crying. I could hear P.J in the background crying. I got off the phone. I was completely alone in Tulsa. I was supposed to be staying with Mattie, but I stayed home alone until my grandparents and PJ could make it here.
Lisa and my mom spent the rest of the time in Italy laying in bed, or sitting on the porch. I bet they didnt talk much. I bet they cried a lot. I’ve never heard much about that part of the trip. Lisa and my mom got home the day before the funeral. They walked in the door, I hugged my mom and told her how happy I was that she was home, she was crying. The minute I saw Lisa, I started bawling. Lisa and I stood on the front porch, and held each other and cried for the longest time. I’ve never cried so hard. The next day was the first day of school, I missed it to go to the funeral. It was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Every pew was packed. People were standing. There were SIX priests at Kevin’s funeral. Normally, there’s one, maybe two. At Kevin’s, there were six.
Life went on. Sometimes we still cry. I think about Kevin every day. We talk about him every day. I miss him in a way that I will never miss anyone. Kevin hit a truck a 31st in Harvard on his motor cycle. He bled to death. The man who was driving the truck died only a few months later, which makes the reason for Kevin’s death even more of a mystery to me. I dont thikn everything happens for a reason, because there is no valid reason in my eyes for someone that so many people loved to just be ripped away so viciously and fast.
Enter Scott. Scott is amazing. He didnt go to Pius, but he went to Bishop Kelley, so my mom has known him for years. Scott really saved my mom and Lisa after Kevin died. He comes to Sunday dinner, he plays ball with my brother, he takes my mom out on the weekends. They stay out ridiculously late, and act like they’re 17. They’re best friends. After Kevin died my mom stayed in her room for days, she cried a lot and once I heard her ask herself, “why do my friends keep dying?” I’ve never seen her like that. Now that Scott is around, I see the color returning to her cheeks. She laughs more, she started cooking again, and she’s not sad. We joke that Scott is the “community husband.” He’ll come over and fix the fence, mow the lawn, take out the trash, troubleshoot the wifi. He helps out my mom, Lisa, and Dee with all the handy-type tasks around the house, since they’re all recent divorces and dont have a guy around to do that kinda stuff. I love Scott. he stayed in the hospital with my mom and I for my surgery for 22 hours, after he got off work, no sleep. It’s just little things that make a huge diffence. I hope I can become as close to Scott as I was with Kevin. But we’ll have to put him in a plastic bubble so that nothing happens to him.
I have a big family now. A big family made up of little pieces of other families. Every Sunday my mom cooks a big dinner. Scott and Lisa come over, and Lisa bring her girls, Ella and Lex, sometimes Dee comes, she brings all three of her kids if she’s not too busy at home with the baby. Michael is always there. My mom refers to him as her other kid, he practically lives at my house. And sometimes Mattie comes, my mom loves Mattie more than she loves me, hahaha. We eat good food, listen to good music, and talk about all the crazy things my mom, Lisa, Scott, and Dee did when they were my age. I think they’re all reliving it right now, and I’m loving being a part of it. We all still miss Kevin. But I can feel him there on Sunday nights. As cheesy as it is, I know he’s with us in spirit.
The last place I ever saw Kevin alive at was Joe Mama’s Pizza downtown, where we all had dinner before my mom went to Italy. Last week, on my birthday, I went back there for the first time. It wasnt that sentimental, until Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd started playing. I cried in the restaurant. I talked to Lisa though, and she made me feel alright, she has a really good way of doing that.
My mom knows the best people.
I want to do what Augusten Burroughs has done. The challenge I’m facing right now is that a lot of my stories are a little questionable for a school project. Maybe in 20 years I can write a really powerful book like he did and it will be made into a succesful motion picture and it’ll be made into a motion picture and I will be Stalling favorite student ever. Hmph.
To be quite frank, I actually feel bad for my mom sometimes. The fact that she even puts up with some of the things she does from my twelve year old brother is completely astounding to me.
P.J. is twelve (as of last Tuesday), but mentally he’s about four years old. I love him to death, he’s funny and sweet when he feels like it, but the poor boy just has no common sense, and he never considers the long term consequences of any of his actions. God love him, but I dont know if its a boy thing, a twelve year old boy thing, or a P.J. thing. He’s already been in trouble this year for stuffing the toilets at his school with paper towels and gotten forbidden from the mall for throwing rocks from the top of the parking garage.
Today was a day at my house packed with first day of spring yard work and sunday cleaning. After an intense struggle with the lawn mower, P.J. was extremely worn out and just HAD to go in his room for a three hour long conversation with his VERY serious girlfriend… Relationships between twelve year olds are very trying times, you see. Poor P.J. lives in constant fear of embarrassment by my mom and I. He will hide out in a closet, the bathroom, the garage while on the phone to avoid any mortifying comments that the “love of his life” might hear through the phone. Today however, must have been a very confidential conversation, because he his in the backseat of the locked car in the hot ass garage with the windows up. I dont know how he didnt have a heatstroke.
Anyway, we hadn’t heard a peep out of P.J. since his battle with the lawn mower and out twelve inch tall grass earlier that morning. After he’d been hiding out for about an hour, he calls my mom. She asked him where he was and he said he was stuck in the car. My mom went out to the garage and I didn’t hear anything from either of them for about fifteen minutes. I thought surely someone had been killed, but couldn’t get my lazy self off of the couch to ensure the liveliness of my family. My mom then comes barreling through the back door, screaming for Michael. “MICHAEL! I need your boy scout expertise! P.J. is tangled in the seat belt!!” So Michael goes out and gets in the car, and I followed. So here’s the three of us, jammed in the backseat of my moms Honda Accord, and P.J. has the damn seat belt wrapped around his ankle so tightly that its cutting off his circulation. We’re trying to free his foot for about ten more minutes. Mind you that P.J. has been in the hot car for an hour and half, so it smells like sweaty pre-teen boy, (much like the halls of TSAS after lunch). We had to end up cutting the seat belt in half with the hedge clippers because seat belts are thicker than you’d think, and the knot that idiot was stuck in was tighter than we’d thought. So now, not only has P.J. broken the automatic locks, pulled off the back of the passenger seat, but has also managed to destroy the seat belts in the back of my mom’s car. Needless to say, she was thrilled. She took fifty dollars of his birthday money to help pay for the seat belt replacement. I just dont understand how he managed to get so tangled in the seat belt of a PARKED vehicle.
I’ve been having a hard time finding a story with a really good, deeper meaning like the other ones I wrote, so I think tonight I’ll just treat you to a few select quotes that are within earshot tonight at PJs birthday dinner.
Over break I spent some time with my grandparents and recorded a story they told me so I could write about it later.
My mom just told me that she wishes she would have saved all my baby teeth, and made a necklace out of them, and Lisa said that it was cute an she wanted to do that with her kids. I personally think wearing the teeth of small children is weird.