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WEST: A carefree weekend with an old friend

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Gazette Associate Editor Elizabeth West

I felt like a kid again this weekend, and it couldn’t have happened without the help of my best friend Rayna.
Rayna and I grew up literally across the street from each other, and being that our parents were best friends in high school, it’s like we had no choice but to become friends that fight, laugh, love, and cut-up like sisters.
As we have gotten older though, things have changed.
Rayna is now married and has two sons, and I work all of the time, but our friendship is just as strong as when we were bogging my mom’s car down in the front yard at 13-years-old. I still see and hangout with Rayna just as much as I did when I was a child, but due to the natural changes that have taken place in our lives the things we do for fun are different these days.
Today, hanging-out for us usually consist of me texting Rayna and saying, “Did you cook something tonight,” which Rayna responds to with, “Yes, come eat,” or, “No, so what do you want me to cook.” At that point I head over to eat and play with her boys Carson and Callen. Rayna and I eventually get a few minutes to gossip a little or talk politics, and then we call it a night.
This weekend though, I was taken back to a happy place that I can only remember existing when I was a child, and Rayna was of course right by my side along for the ride.
Rayna and her husband Marcus didn’t have a babysitter Friday night, but they were itching to make me experience fun like I use to, so we improvised. We put their children to bed, had Rayna and Marcus’ friend Brody’s truck parked near the front door, and then as the rain came down we jammed out to any and everything as we pigged out on candy.
Our music tastes are a little different, but that didn’t matter because Brody’s speakers in his truck made every song fun to dance to. The harder the base hit, the more fun we had, and I got to finally learn how to do the dance to D.J. Unk’s rap song 2 Step, which was popular when I was in high school.
Until nearly 1:00 a.m. we played music so loud that I could barely hear myself think, which was nice, because just like when I was a child, in that moment I didn’t have a care in the world. All my stresses were gone.
Saturday I recouped from the previous busy work week, and then when Sunday hit, Rayna was back by my side and the fun was really about to begin.
After church, I headed to Rayna’s mother-in-law’s house where there were boiled crabs and shrimp for days. It was there that we began plotting our next move, which ended up leading us to Crooked Creek.
In tow was a boat and jet skis.
Me, Rayna, and another friend Alexis hopped on the jet skis, and bad news was written all over that situation. But in this instance, the bad news meant a lot of fun.
There was a second where I didn’t know if we were going to spend more time on the jet ski or in the water, because we kept flipping it when we weren’t even moving. It seems like that would be frustrating, but it wasn’t. That’s when I laughed the most, because you’d think that adults could understand to not put all of their weight on one side, but we struggled.
Once we managed to successfully tackle the task of getting onto the jet ski, the struggle became even more real due to the fact that Rayna’s husband, who was on a jet ski as well, splashed us with way too much water way too many times.
Imagine this, someone is heading straight for you and you know that they are about to sling a lot of water on you. What would you do? If you are like me, Rayna and Alexis, you are naturally going to lean your body and turn your head away from where the water is coming from. This always ended with us back in the water, until we finally got the hang of keeping our weight distributed evenly.
And then there was that really big wave that Marcus made and we rode right into. We all got thrown off of the jet ski when that happened, but once we realized that everyone was okay, we sat in the water for a good five minutes, or more, just laughing.
After all of that fun, we headed to Rayna’s house where we sat on the back porch until 2:00 a.m. talking and watching our many bruises begin to appear on our bodies from our earlier escapades.
When Monday rolled around, Rayna and I hadn’t had enough of each other yet.
While I was fishing at my parents’ pond with some other friends, Rayna called to come fishing, and of course I said yes.
Rayna wasn’t out there long and she had already casted high up into a tree. I didn’t even ask how, I just laughed because that’s exactly the kind of craziness I would expect from her.
We ended the day in the backseat of a truck driving around the levy of the pond with the windows down picking blackberries straight off of the bushes, and we were so happy doing it just like a child would be.
It felt good to act carefree all weekend, especially alongside my best friend.

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