Flavor Ice – For Breakfast?: A Eulogy
Summer, 1995. Yours truly has been blind for only about a year and a half, yet there I was, back in college. Summer course, sociology, 7:30am, Monday through Thursday. Every single morning, my friend, Mouse, would meet me at my dorm with a Flavor Ice in hand and we would walk to class together.
I’d met her briefly a few times prior to losing my sight. In fact, she and my sister were roommates when Cathy got the word I wouldn’t be coming back to SMSU any time soon. That summer, I returned to college; unsure, still healing, nervous, overly self conscious, hating my physical appearance, afraid for what the future would hold. And there was Mouse, Flavor Ice in hand, walking to class with me that whole summer.
I’ve never been big on taking charity, whether financial or emotional, about my disability. It is what it is. If Mouse was walking with me to class to keep me from getting lost, then we wouldn’t have been walking partners. But, alas, she made the same mistake as me: signing up for an early morning class that just happened to be in that same building.
Oh yeah, you’re probably asking, “What’s with Mouse’s name?” Her birth name was Melissa, though in 20 some odd years of knowing her, I never once called her anything but Mouse. She was so named because she was petite. Apparently, as a small child, she was curled up next to her father and he said she looked like a little mouse. The name stuck.
That summer was a time of re-building for me. I didn’t have a lot of friends and I wasn’t even sure I could make any. After all, I thought, who would want to be friends with a blind guy with facial damage? Yet, even the first time I “saw” Mouse post crash and recovery, she never treated me any differently than she did before all those horrors occurred. I will never forget those simple acts of kindness.
Overnight, Mouse’s multiple year battle with cancer came to a close. Over the last few weeks, her husband, Fletch, has been posting social media updates as cancer robbed them of nearly everything. It all sounded like the worst form of human suffering.
Tonight, I’m choosing to remember the good times with Mouse. I’m choosing to remember the Flavor Ice popsicles we’d have for breakfast on the way to class. I’m remembering how, first as a joke and then later because we actually liked them, eating dinners of franks and beans. I’m remembering how creative Mouse used to be with her Halloween costumes. The best was her Laura Ingalls Wilder/Little House get up. I’m choosing to remember her always smiling, never in a bad mood spirit.
What I’m trying to forget is that cancer, once again, has taken another life far, far too soon.