I saw the prompt “Moment” and my first thought was a memory.
The year was 1995 and I was in France as part of my European tour through People to People International. I was 13, and I had made friends with four other girls I hadn’t known a few weeks before – Kristianna, Kimberly, Courtney, and Justine. It was a beautiful summer night, and we were watching… was it fireworks? A fountain with colored lights flashing on it? I don’t remember exactly. What I remember is the feeling. I was happy. I was with friends that I hoped I would keep for a long, long time.
Kristianna is the one I was closest to. She was a little boy-crazy. In three weeks she was into two different guys, and I envied her being able to talk to them like it was no big deal. I wasn’t too experienced with boys. To me, they were a foreign race that I couldn’t figure out. But she was a natural in the best possible way. Kristi spent the whole trip singing Whitney Houston’s megahit “One Moment In Time,” and that song always makes me think of her, and the room we shared in the hotel in Paris, and the amazing final night we had there. She is now a proud wife and mother, and works for a birthing center.
Kimberly was 14, and she was one of the funniest people I knew. I admired the way she never seemed to take anything too seriously. Life is too short to be negative. She and I had a lot in common, actually. We both ended up winning awards for our journals from the chaperones at the end of the trip, a crowning achievement for someone who wanted to be a writer like I did. She ended up going on to become a lawyer. She likes keeping a straight face while making people answer ridiculous questions.
Courtney was… crazy. I can’t help but smile when I think about her, because she was always saying and doing unexpected things. For my birthday one year she sent me a card that contained an expired metro card and a bit of unused dental floss, among other random tid-bits. She became a veterinarian.
During that three week trip, Justine was obsessed with “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Nicki French (originally by Stevie Nicks, of course). She was singing it that night, not a care in the world what anyone thought about her. She had turned 13 a week or so earlier, a few days after we arrived in Barcelona. She had a big smile and was outspoken and I never felt as close to her as I did to the other girls, but I always liked her. She passed away a few years shy of her 30th birthday. I think it was cancer. She was prepared for it, though, and at the wake her mother said she had accomplished everything she wanted to do before she died.
And me? I was probably more in their eyes than I was in my own, just like they didn’t see themselves the way I saw them. And I have grown up to be happy, and confident, and funny, and crazy, and I’ve learned that boys aren’t nearly as scary as I used to think they were. I’m a children’s librarian, I have a master’s degree, and I am a writer and aspire to publish books some day. My trip only lasted three weeks, but I am who I am today largely because of that one moment in time. And I will never forget the friends or the amazing time we had.
Sunday Scribblings is a blog run by Meg Genge and Laini Taylor that posts weekly writing prompts.