Tuesday, Brayden and Brian stayed good friends throughout elementary school, and junior high. The hard whack Tuesday had given to Brian’s head did not raise his IQ into the genius level where Tuesday’s resided, but with her and Brayden’s help at times, he always was moved up with the rest of his class, and that was considered a miracle by the teachers and Brian’s parents.
Her former friend Cindy apologized a week or so after Brian returned to class, but they never again were best friends. It was not that Tuesday never forgave her, she did, but her grandmother had written a poem on the blackboard in her room that read, “Friendship is like China, so beautiful and rare. When broken can be mended, but the crack is always there.” When Tuesday looked at Cindy, no matter how hard she tried, she always saw the crack.
The two boys kept up a constant but friendly rivalry for Tuesday’s admiration. She was either too much of a tomboy to notice, or she was absolutely brilliant, because she kept the tension level between them right where it made things interesting. They would fight and wrestle, climb trees, jump into the freezing water of the stream, anything to get her attention, but she never chose one over the other, so they never hurt each other, and all competition ended in laughter.
Friends to the end,” they would say to each other, and they meant it. Tuesday and Brayden would go to all the high school football games and cheer for Brian to score a touchdown. Tuesday and Brian would go to all the track meets and cheer for Brayden to win the mile, and Brian and Brayden would go to all the girls Field Hockey games and pray that Tuesday would score a few goals before she got kicked out of the game for too many obstructions.
Tuesday was blessed with the sum of her two parents IQ’s, but she was also blessed with the best combination of looks that could come out of those two people’s genes. And you can spell the word either ‘genes or jeans’ and it still means the same.
Her grandmother watched with pride as one by one any imperfect physical characteristics from her mother or father all matured into what was generally recognized as one of the nicest looking girls in school.
Why I bring this up is because Tuesday never thought she was pretty, and she never appreciated boys who would come after her in increasing numbers as the angular, gawky body of a preteen matured into a the nicely rounded curves of a young woman. She knew she was not bad looking, but good looking was what someone else was, so she decided early on that she did not care about looks, preferring to maintain her tomboy look for as long as she could, and far longer than her grandmother wanted her to.
She wouldn’t tolerate comments on her looks from anyone, including Brayden and Brian, and any slip up in that area was greeted with a scornful look rather than the coy smiles used by the other girls in her class.
In order to keep the friendship of both boys, she divvied up who would get to take her to the school dances, never accepting an offer from anyone else, and never once going out of rotation. She even elected to stay home from her senior prom when it was Brayden’s turn, and he unexpectedly came down with the flu.
Graduation from high school was hard for all three of them because they knew that in the fall they would go their separate ways. Tuesday planned to attend a university in New York, Brayden one in California, and Brian had signed up for the Marines.
“Best friends forever,” they reminded each other when they went their separate ways in August, and it remained a promise they intended to keep.
E-mails, texting, blog pages, they did stay in touch even as their lives expanded in different directions. College vacations and military leave only overlapped once in the first four years, and when they got together it was like old times, but fully matured. Well almost fully matured, because they spent half their time together playing tricks on family, friends and neighbors using balloon words.
Brayden had already accepted a scholarship to Oxford, and Tuesday had decided to return home after college to take care of her aging grandmother, when Brian volunteered for his third tour overseas. Messages between them had slowed, but at least once a week they would hear from each other, and round-robin forwarding was always done, so that they always knew what was happening in each other’s lives.
Their friendship had provided a rigid foundation from which they could each go their separate ways, always knowing that they could return to the comfort of that friendship no matter what else occurred in their lives. Each one of them had used that foundation at least once during the past four years.
Ten days had gone by without a message from Brian when Tuesday received a phone call from her grandmother. “Brian was killed four days ago,” she said. “A roadside bomb.”
Tuesday had experienced many horrible things in her life, certainly starting with her parents, but the one thing she had never experience was the loss of someone she loved.
Processing the loss of one of two best friends would take years, but the first part of that process was a scream, followed by hysterical crying that lasted until her body became so exhausted that she fell asleep. It was certainly not a restful sleep, but it lasted until the following morning.
When she woke, she picked up her phone to call her grandmother and saw the message from Brayden, “I loved him, and I love you,” and it started her crying all over again.
Everyone in town attended the funeral service, and dry eyes did not exist anywhere within a half a mile from where the eulogy was given. Laughter rippled through the audience only once as the speaker recalled Brian’s sudden change in grades after Tuesday whacked him in the head.
Brayden and Tuesday walked for a long time after the funeral. Every few minutes one of them would recall an event or a time the three of them had been together, and it would bring either laughter or tears. They had laughed and cried themselves out, but they continued walking, holding hands, both content in the solace of their own thoughts.
It was evening by the time they returned to the church. Everyone had left, and just one light lit the small parking lot.
“We both loved him Tuesday,” Brayden started. “He will never be forgotten. I know you are grieving, but I need to ask you something before I leave for England tomorrow.”
“Tuesday looked up. Her tears had dried, but her face held the sorrow it held almost every day that she spent with her parents earlier in her life.
Brayden looked down at her and asked, “Will you marry me Tuesday? I’ve loved you ever since fourth grade. I know this is not the best time to ask, but I don’t want to leave here without knowing the answer. Will you be my wife?”
Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, and Tuesday was born on a Tuesday.
Grace was something that had eluded her for much of her life, but when she looked at Brian, her short answer and the look on her face comprised every definition of that word.
“Yes,” she said.