Well, it’s that time of year again. The end of July. With it I begin to remember what my family calls the “8 weeks from hell”. 1993 sucked, btw.
That summer, I was 8, turning 9, and my best friend, Cristina, was getting to do something I was convinced I would never be able to do. She was going to Portugal (with her Dad, who was from there) and going to have the time of her life. Instead, she was sucked down a pipe at the waterpark she went to, and the park made it look like a kidnapping.
She went missing (died) on July 29, 1993. They found her body – along with the body of another little boy who had disappeared a couple of days prior, in the drainage systems of the park.
I don’t remember much about the event really, just Mom and Dad coming in to the living room to tell me what had happened. I knew it was serious, because they sat in front of me – ON THE COFFEE TABLE – and turned off the TV.
Needless to say, I get a bit morbid this time of year. We lost touch with her family soon after. Mom said that Mrs. Caldas couldn’t bear it, since we were so close, and had grown up together since we were infants.
It was the early 90’s, so I have this hideous outfit (it was the best thing ever at the time) that we both had a version of, and I still have it. It’s a one piece, black spandex shorts with lace bottoms, skirty thing, button up front and puffy cap sleeves. In panels. Yes, the skirt was in 4 panels, the bodice in 4 panels and the sleeves as well. The two patterns they used checkerboarded the thing. Seriously, it’s atrocious. But I will never get rid of it, because other than a few pictures and some fading memories, it’s all I have of her.
As most young girls, we had a crazy friendship. We annoyed each other to no end (and I’m sure it was worse for our parents) but she was my best friend.
When July rolls around, with the anniversary of her death and my birthday in another month, I tend to start thinking what would have happened if she hadn’t died. Would we still be friends? What would she be doing with her life?
I miss you Cristina, rest in peace.