Lada. A girl I once knew as a bouncing, tight-skinned girl with a sense of humor and a spark in her eyes. She terrified Amy because she had that spark, that vivacity, that Ames wanted so badly to have. But couldn't, not in real life. The rest of us loved her almost immediately, even me, generally slow to warm to people. Lada. Who I got to be friends with, then good friends. Who trusted me, whose trust I betrayed. We weren't friends for a long time. But then I went to New York, last summer, and apologized. To avoid unpleasantness, was my excuse. Really, I just missed her. Missed that spark, but also missed the real person underneath, who I really did care about even when I hurt her. Lada. Who I got to be friends with again, with whom I had hours-long phone conversations and exchanged pages and pages of emails and IMs and diaryland readings all through the fall and winter. Who came to see me at Christmas. Different. Skinnier, and she didn't have much to spare in the first place. That spark was different. More nervous energy than vivacity. But she was Lada. She was my friend. We were friends. She smoked too much, she ate too little, but it was only four days and I was too happy to see her and spend time with her and actually be friends again to think about it. Lada. Who I spent two weeks with this summer in which I became more worried about her than I have about anyone but Amy before. Possibly more so than Amy because at least Ames is crazy enough that they'll lock her up sometimes. Lada's a crazy kind of sane. Or a sane kind of crazy. It was a stressful two weeks, born of trying to cohabitate with two people who didn't know each other. Disturbing routines that are firmly enough entrenched that irritability results when they're broken. Lada. Who says to me I love you. Don't cry, 'cause I love you. And makes me feel better. As much as anything can make you feel better when you put your best friend in an ambulance and watch it drive away. Lada. Who I love. Because, I don't know, because I do. Because she's my friend and she's enough like me that we get along but more different than most people I know. Lada who saw things about Lila that I didn't until they smacked me in the face, but that's just life and irrelevant. Lada. Who I need to write to, need to think of something to say to, because I miss her. Want to keep in touch with her. And I'm scared for her.
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