My Life In Puzzle Pieces
Amber Cole Chapman
I have known Amber since my freshman year in high school. She is a wonderful friend. She was in my life when it was the most fucked up and I was the most mixed up. Hell this girl knew me as an addict, and a partying fool. She is one of only two friends I have ever lived with. She was with me during my best years of school, my worst years of school, the loss of my dad in 1996, my drug usage and abuse, she was there when I married the biggest mistake of my youth, she was there when I fled my hometown and she is still there for me in my sober years. I have always loved her like my sister. Even though we have not been together to hang out since probably 1998 or 1999 we still stay in touch through social media. She played a huge part in my life and I cherish her friendship, I always will.
When I think about Amber she honestly brings a smile to my face. She is a friend that just lights up your mood. She has such a great personality, she has humor, and she is always real. I have always been able to be completely honest with her with no fear of judgment. I have never felt out of place around her. I don’t have to hold back with her. I have NEVER had to hold back my bold personality around her. She accepts me as I am. The world is a better place because she is in it.
One vivid memory I have of her is from a high school bathroom. It was the year I found out my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I hid it from friends around me for months. One day I just broke down when Amber asked me what was up with me lately. She knew me well enough to know something was seriously wrong with me. Well I spilled my guts to her in the bathroom. She was one of the first of my friends I told about my dad dying.
She is probably one of the best friends I have from my hometown. I will always love her like a sister. She makes my life better being in it. Thank you Amber for being a special friend.
My last conversation with him was reminiscing about school days. We both were so excited to get back in touch and looked forward to some sort of reunion to see each other at again. He was always a joker with me. I had taken auto shop with him for two years and in those final years of school we became super close. He was one of the absolute best guys I had ever met or had the honor to have in my life. We rebuilt a mustang motor together…I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that some guy shot him dead. It is just so crazy stupid it feels like a dream or a very bad facebook prank.
We toured a school our senior year while in auto mechanics. Strange thing about that trip I only remember Gary being there because most of that trip we were together joking, dreaming, and showing up the rest of the class. OK, OK we thought we were showing up the rest of them….we were the clown posse. He made that class bearable because I was the only girl there…and well he helped me fit in. He was a great friend and support for me. Some of the guys, sometimes they made me feel inferior to them because I was a girl and fixing cars were for guys. They might not have meant to make me feel that way but they did. Not Gary. He would joke that I signed up for the class because I had a secret crush on him. Or he’d joke I signed up due to another crush on someone else. He was always joking about me being a girl in the class but he always reassured me when we’d have an assignment together that he thought it was very cool I was in the class.
I remember one time we were told by Jim Cushing to change the oil in this car. So Gary drove the car into the garage and put it on the lift. I was such an airhead that day I had forgot to put the pan to catch the draining oil underneath the darn thing before I took the plug out. Well needless to say Gary and I were drenched in oil that day. The whole time rushing around trying to get the pan under the draining oil laughing at the fact I forgot such a simple task. Man those were the best years of my school experience and Gary is a dominate memory in them. I was blessed to have had him back then.
I loved all of Gary. But there were a few things I loved most that I looked forward to experiencing again when I made a trip into my hometown for the reunion. One was his great smile. It was infectious! The other was his sense of humor…he kept things light. We had a lot of classes together but auto mechanics was the best one.
It is going to be very hard walking in that reunion with Gary gone…he was one in particular I wanted to catch up with again. He has been the third friend from my class that has left me before I got to meet up with them one more time in person. Life just isn’t the way it is supposed to be. Things haven’t turned out the way they should have been…he was taken too soon…it was a mistake…and now it’s too late and there is no going back.
I miss you Gary. I can’t wait to see you again when we can have our reunion on the other side bro. I will remember you always! 2012