Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rest in peace

I met Tery when we were in 5th grade. She lived on the north side of Patapsco Avenue, on 6th Street, in a huge house with about 20 relatives. She was only about seven blocks away from me but it seemed really far. Her parents were divorced and she was living with her dad and his family, from what I could gather.

Tery had crazy hair that flipped up at her temples. She was always, always smiling unless she was extremely angry. She was tomboyish and physically strong. She was so much fun and sweet and caring and generous. She never made fun of people or gossiped or acted catty in the way that girls often do.

She wasn't the best at reading social cues and could be mentally draining. Tery would come over to my house in the afternoons and we would play all kinds of goofy dress up games, play with my dogs, eat. She was always hungry. Once I was worn out from spending hours with her and had to sneak away to ask my grandmother for help in getting her to go home without hurting her feelings. My grandmother helpfully came upstairs and reminded me that I had to "go somewhere" that evening.

On our 6th grade class trip to Harpers Ferry, Tery got her first period. She told me about it. She wasn't happy about it, but didn't act embarassed or upset. She took it in stride.

I lost touch with Tery after 6th grade, when I went to a school across town. I think she moved away not too long after that. My memories of her have always remained very vivid. She had a big heart and a sunny, childlike presence.

When Tery was in her mid-20s, she met a man, fell in love and got engaged. One day while she was waiting at a red light, someone came up to her car window and shot her in the head. It was later learned that her fiance had taken out a life insurance policy on her and arranged to have her murdered.

I didn't learn Tery was dead until years later, when another 6th grade friend, Kenya, told me. Kenya and I attended the same high school and were in touch because our senior class president, who had become a psychiatrist, had just been murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

Rest in peace, Tery.
Rest in peace, Witney.
Rest in peace, Gail, David, Meagan and Brandon.


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