I was a really dumb kid so when my cousins Nanchi (that’s Colombian for Nancy) and Tito (that’s Colombian and Puerto Rican and Dominican and probably French for many names) dared me to drink a concoction of Kool-Aid, salt, hot sauce, ketchup, sugar, and whatever garbage they could find, I did. One time Nanchi painted my nails with black Sharpie and convinced me it was a good look. Oh, and another time she super glued these horrendous plastic nails onto me and again convinced me it was the look. During a game of freeze tag I was attacked by a pack of ants and she just stood there and laughed as I stood there, still frozen and crying. But let’s cut the girl some slack, she hasn’t always been just a little devil. She defended me from girls that were making fun of me, got the boy on the basketball team who I thought was cute to sign my yearbook, and would come early in the mornings in her click-clack high heels to do my hair (hair styling is like science – I just don’t get it!). We would walk every day past the catcalls of old, perverted men to McDonald’s and buy the #2 with the money our Mamita gave us and feast it out like kings.
I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing me talk about my childhood memories. Please forgive me, but I live in the past. The majority of my best memories are from twelve and younger, and for some reason I, more than many others, have had a very hard time moving past it all. I miss the simplicity of those times. I never thought that I would one day not have Thanksgiving dinner with my entire family (which I sweaaaar consists of about 200 people). I never thought I wouldn’t ever again step into my Mamita’s home. I miss the people of my past and memories and I especially miss my Nanchi! She, more than anyone, knows how much I miss 75 Fales Street. It was our second home, where we grew up together wearing our leopard jumpsuits and frilly dresses, along with our flat chests and puffy hair.
Adulthood and marriage and geography (I hate you, New Jersey!) has separated us, but it isn’t a separation which has lessened our weirdo relationship. We still call each other to gossip and talk shit. I still haven’t been able to figure out if our conversations are a thing of brilliance or complete absurdity (most likely the latter). No one gets my sense of humor quite as she does. She makes fun of my non-existent nose and I make fun of her chickenpox scars. She still laughs at the time when I tried to outsmart my dad with a lie and he yolked me up, and I still can’t get over the fact that she can’t say the word “bubonic” (ask her, she’ll get pissed). We’ve almost died together a total of three times, and she even chose me (meeee!) to be her maid of honor. When I was considering the Peace Corps, she was the first person I asked for advice. She encourages me to write and for reasons which I still cannot comprehend, believes in me. She has this thing where she refuses to charge that damn cell phone and sometimes she is such a smartass biotch that I wanna kick her, but I can’t because I love her with all of my grumpy heart.
Happy Birthday to one of the most annoying and cheeky and absolutely brilliant loves of my life, Nancheexicle! I swear, next year is the year I will surpass you in age. I know it!