“Sit still or I won’t be able to show you.” Being eight years old and excited by all the attention made this request nearly impossible. Tomorrow would be my first day of third grade, which meant that the “satisfactory” and “outstanding” marks on my report cards would be replaced by letter grades. The curriculum for the year involved learning cursive, and I was finally allowed to choose what I wore to school. I truly believed that I was becoming an adult with new responsibilities and a reputation to uphold. In my mind innocence and immaturity were things of the past. It was time to grow up. While most of my friends aspired to become Disney pop-stars later in life, I wanted to be like Breanne.
“Now before you do anything let me show you how to check if it’s hot without burning yourself.” Breanne was teaching me a necessity in life, something I still utilize daily. “Straightening your hair is difficult to do at first so I’ll walk you through it, okay?” I nodded my head and smiled. I watched intensely to make sure I did everything just like her. “Want me to show you a little secret?” Breanne always had a way of making me feel special. I anticipated for her whisper of advice. As I sat on the vanity chair I closed my eyes and listened closely, expecting her to share verbal knowledge. Instead I heard, “ssssszzzzz.”
I was caught off guard, lost my balance, and tumbled off the stool. Embarrassment, followed by disappointment, washed over me. Just as I was about to make a dramatic exit for my house, Breanne fell on the floor from her uncontrollable laughter. I nervously giggled with her and before I knew it my laughter had progressed to hysteria. We laughed until we were short of breath and had to hold our aching stomachs. After we gained our composure Breanne told me something I will never forget. “You’re trying to grow up too fast Diana, don’t ever loose your imagination or your inner-child. Find humor in everything. Life is best served hot and sizzling.” We both laughed at her pun.
Eventually we moved and were no longer neighbors. We kept in touch but not as much as we should have. However, Breanne was still the one I looked up to. Then one day during my sophomore year I learned that Breanne had been in a fatal car accident. She had just came home from college for Thanksgiving break. In an instant she was gone.
Breanne had a smile that was contagious, intelligence that was apparent, and a personality that was influential. It turns out that the sizzle that scared me at first was the advice all along, Breanne showed me before she told me. Now whenever I hear the word sizzle I don’t think of bacon on a griddle or the definition of onomatopoeia. Instead I am reminded to slow down, take time to appreciate, and enjoy the sizzles that follow.