Just after Pulp Fiction was awarded Best Original Screenplay the phone rang. I didn't much like the interruption, didn't want to leave my nest of blankets, but since there was a commercial anyway I answered. A voice, empty as a theatre on an early Tuesday morning, spoke only a few, hollow words--He's gone, friend. Rick died this afternoon.
I remembered the time, five years ago, when we were seventh graders at Bair Lake. Tradition dictated a serious game of Capture the Flag every Wednesday night, at dusk. That summer, dressed in colors of night, I prowled the tree line on the southern edge of the playing field, near no-man's land. Too intent on a clump of pine trees ahead of me, I didn't hear him creep up behind, and when he clamped his hand over my mouth I panicked, tried to scream. I still couldn't see him, but as he threw me to the ground in a slow-motion tackle his clear, tumbling laughter gave him away. If you ever do that to me again, Rick Laramore, I'll...well...just don't-- but as we wrestled in the dirt I caught his joyful laughter. I never could stay mad at him.
Ricky was strong, looked like a sapling waiting for the spring rain to thicken him up a bit, ate like a condemned prisoner. He played soccer, ran constantly. He had perfect curly brown hair even though it usually looked like he just rolled out of bed, blue eyes that always laughed, a mouth that told me I was worth something, and Hodgkin's Disease.
I don't remember who won Best Actor the night he died. All I remember is the sound the telephone made when I threw it at my bedroom wall, the smell of dusty earth that filled my senses when Ricky tackled me on that dark summer night, the dampness of the pillow I buried my face in to cry.
I'm mommy to the Monkey (formerly knows as the Little Mister, currently five years old!) and Boo (two years old), and Army wife to the Sergeant. We are one year into a three-year stay on Okinawa, Japan.