Catherine Fisher: October 26, 1991 - July 14, 2011.
On July 14th one of my best friends growing up was shot while sitting in a car with two friends, and was pronounced braindead at Stanford hospital later that night. She was only 19 yrs old and had a million dreams. She wanted to be the first female president of the United States. She wanted to be a teacher. She wanted to be a mother. She wanted to live to the fullest, and I know people hear that a lot, but with Cate it really was true. I've never known a person who lived more each day than Cate did. I mean really lived. Not at a computer screen and not in front of a T.V. but out there, dancing, and exploring, and going to every parade and every party and every concert, bedecked in every color of the rainbow. Especially pink though. Pink was her favorite.
I knew Cate from when she was small and at first we weren't all that fond of each other. I remember the first time i met her she was this little kid with dirt on her face and a giant smile, and I cannot for the life of me remember why I didn't like her right away. Perhaps as a small child I had an adversity to openly offered friendship. But one day about a year or so after we met for the first time, Cate approached me and announced that she was determined to not only be my friend, but my best friend. I had no idea why. I wasn't popular. I wasn't unpopular either. Just a neutral child who disappeared into the background of school life. But not to Cate. Cate had a way of making me feel like the most important person in the world even if I had done nothing to deserve it. And Cate proved day after day that she truly cared about people, and that she would be the most loyal friend no matter how many times you messed up. She would always forgive you.
I hate to say it but I messed up a lot as a kid.
But Cate was always there.
In many ways Cate was my first love. My first best friend and my first awkward crush and relationship - though to this day I can never tell our parents just how much Cate meant to me. I think it may be meant to be our secret until the day I too go to the grave. But i'm alright with that because the memories I have from this friendship are more than worth the secrecy.
The day I got the news about this tragedy, my first reaction was disbelief, and refusal to accept that someone like Cate could ever be taken away. She had been a part of my life for so long that immediately there was a hole where she was supposed to be. And I started trying to think back to my earliest memories of her, something to patch that hole up with. At first I landed on a memory of her in a pink princess dress on what I believe was the first day of school long long ago, though what grade it was I only wish I could tell you. But the more I dug, the more I found myself digging up the memories of that ittle girl with dirt on her cheeks running around the playground. And I may not have known her that well then, but she definitely left an impression on me right away. That’s what Cate always seemed to do. She’d come into my life with that big smile and that vibrant lust for life and I would be left with a whirlwind of memories. I believe she did that for everybody. I remember how the walls in her room were painted the same colors as the powerpuff girls, how her birthday parties were always halloween themed and we would fight as hard as we could to stay awake all night but end up collapsing in the early hours of the morning, and every year we would try to gather up all our money for the Nativity Carnival so we could play the balloon popping game for the biggest stuffed animals. I remember she really wanted a spongebob. I still have my giant unicorn that she helped me win. And I will always remember how when Cate wanted something you could always be sure she’d do everything in her power to get it.
I remember how even when we started going to different schools she would still show up on our doorstep with her bike, or ring at the gate each time she had something new and exciting in her life that she wanted to talk about. And we’d walk over to the park near my house and just sit for hours talking about whatever the big news of the day was. A crush. A high school scandal. Sometimes just catching up on the small things. And some things changed between each reunion. Her hair was cut short or mine had gotten longer, or maybe we had started hanging out with new people. But we still recognized in each other those friends that had known one another since they were small and obsessed with magic and princesses - and of course spongebob. And after a while our communication became more limited. Senior year of high school and the beginning of college it was phone calls and IMs. And by my second year at Lewis & Clark mostly just a facebook comment or two.
And now it will just be photos and memorabilia to keep company with when I miss that loud chipper girl. But if I can always remember the sound of her voice, and the way she used to hug and kiss at random, then I think some part of me really can believe that age old cliche that those who go before us are always with us. And yes it is in part because I will never forget her, but also because if I know Cate, she's not about to miss out on any of the adventures or secrets that await me in the remainder of my life.
And I know she'll be waiting for me with a pout in whatever afterlife there might be because I've taken so long or because I missed that chance to go out with so and so or won't have gone dancing enough for her satisfaction.
Then like always she'll smile, forgive me for not being as brave as she is, and we'll be together again.
I love you Cate, and I'm gunna miss the hell out of you.