Sabra Thurber, Erin Brock (me), and Kyra Thurber, some time in the late 1980's
I was fifteen when I met Kyra for the first time. And I was terrified. Here was this olive-skinned, worldly, bright, stunningly beautiful girl, and there I was: pale, plain, too-short hair, a few scars already on my arms from cutting. We hated each other on sight.
We have been friends ever since. We've had fights, arguments. stopped speaking to one another, moved away. moved back, survived rape, domestic violence, death, adultery, and general horribleness. A friendship that started out as unabashed dislike bloomed into something that's lasted over thirty years.
When I got my driver's license, my parents forbade me from driving around and around Lake Harriet (in south Minneapolis). This was known as cruising, and since I was driving my mom's car, it was a big no-no. Obviously, I did it anyway. One evening, Kyra, our friend Tanya, and I were cruising around Lake Harriet, and we came to a sudden stop behind a car parked in the middle of the road. To this day, Kyra swears what happened didn't happen, but what happened is she gave them the finger when we finally passed. And they chased us for the next two hours. I drove over curbs, over grass, possibly through bushes, speeding, swearing, most likely crying at some point, because these assholes would not stop. We ended up in the parking lot of a gas station. I threw a shoe at them. We called 911, who didn't believe us, because I guess, in hindsight, it did sound pretty weird. The taillight on my mom's Dasher was smashed at some point, and I had to pay for that. For a very, very, very long time.
Kyra is the closest thing I have to a sister. She is brave beyond measure, caring without abandon, she is a survivor and a thriver. She is strong and funny and gorgeous and no matter how much time passes between phone calls, when we chat, it's as if no time has passed at all. She is what a friend is supposed to be.
And two nights ago, during a phone conversation, Kyra told me I am her hero, because I am telling my truth about Children's Theatre. Kyra was a student there, too, and has her own story. We both received excellent grades, even though we rarely attended classes, choosing instead to hold court in Fair Oaks coffee shop. Fair Oaks is also where I learned to love French fries and mayonnaise. The grades were a surprise, especially the B's we both received in classes that weren't even offered at CTC, but that's another story for another time.
Kyra's family took me in when, at age 16, my mother threw me out of the house. They fed me, and sheltered me, and cared for me when my own mother would not. I have always been grateful for that. My parents-mostly my mom-did not like Kyra, most likely because she saw through the facade, and realized the kind of person my mother really was. Funny, that's one of the reasons I love Ky so much; she knew, she always knew.
We get to see each other this weekend, for the first time in a few years. In honor of my friend, I am cleaning my house (hoping she and her kids will be able to stop by), getting a haircut, and buying waterproof mascara, because I know there will be crying, at least on my part. My husband thinks it's pretty amazing that Ky and I have remained friends for so long, especially since we both have survived trauma. It's not amazing, or maybe it is, but I can't imagine a life without her friendship.
In honor of Kyra, I write about my friend, my sister, my partner in crime (not for awhile but there were things...) and one of the bravest women I know. I love you.