I really struggled with deciding to write this. I don't really like talking about Charlie. I don't even like talking about the good things. I also spent a long time making her death about me and I don't want to do that anymore. However, she has been gone now for 13 years. She is within a decade of having been gone longer than she was here and I don't want anyone to ever forget that she existed. She changed my life. She changed so many lives and she brought so much happiness and so much laughter to everyone she met. In my mind, she was a legend, and I want you all to know that.

So here it goes, I am going to try and explain my friend to you in hopes that you will fall in love with her the way that I did and the way that I do every day when I think of her:

When I was in 8th grade, I changed schools. I switched for a lot of reasons and I happened to only know one person who went there. It was scary because I went to a school on a completely different side of town and being an 8th grade girl is one of the hardest things in the world. My first memory of Charlie is that on the first day of 8th grade, she came up to me at the drinking fountain and asked me to spend the night at her house that weekend. I thought she was weird but I said yes anyways. I remember what her bedroom and her house looked like when I stayed the night. I remember staying up all night and talking and laughing. I remember being totally swept off of my feet by her.

We didn't become best friends, but we did stay friends for all of 8th grade. We lost touch in high school. We hung out with different people and I don't remember seeing her much after my freshman year. I can't recall what happened when I was a senior that brought us back together. I can remember that for some reason I started sitting at her lunch table again. We started going out on the weekend. It was like we hadn't missed a beat.

Charlie was light. She was one of the most genuine human beings I have ever met. She told me when I was being an asshole. She told me when I was fucking up. She told me when I looked pretty and she openly and honestly told me that she loved me and that she was glad that we were friends. She always answered my calls and she never left me behind.

We would go to the drive-thru liquor store on the East Side during 7th period almost every day. We would buy deucers of Corona and slam them in the car. When I moved out and got my own apartment, she came over before I got off of work and made me spaghetti because she was worried that I hadn't had a home cooked meal in a long time. She discovered, miraculously, that the lids to Jack Daniels and Coke bottles were interchangeable. We used to drive in my car, blasting Five to One and singing at the top of our lungs. I cannot listen to G-Unit or Dirty Diana without thinking of her.

Charlieann is still the only girl I have ever kissed. We used to make-out at parties because we were eighteen year old girls who wanted a lot of attention. She somehow always managed to make it home after a night of partying. I don't have a lot of memories of Charlie crashing at my house, she always wanted to go home to her mom. I do have a lot of memories of dancing with her. I have memories of laughing with her and I have inside jokes that could fill two more blog entries. Because of Charlie, I have bonds with certain people that will never die. Some of the best memories and times of my whole life were with her.

She had a huge smile and she had the most beautiful, red hair. It was so long and smooth and I can remember looking for her hair at parties when I couldn't find her. I hear her laughter in my mind all the time. I can hear the things she would say to me about my life and my decisions. I sometimes imagine what she would be doing now. When I run, I picture her running by my side or looking down at me.

I try, so hard, to think about her life instead of the night she died. I try every day to remember her as she always was. I truly live my life with the intent to honor her. Thirteen years has done nothing to dull the ache. I miss her in a way that I can never explain. I would do anything to have her back. I know now, just from writing this, that I cannot do her justice with my words. I can never help you all to know her as she was and as she deserves to be known. She was too big for this world. She was too much to be contained by one, tiny human body. She was so much more. She still is.

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