Image for the poem Cendra

Cendra's Birthday Parties

Cendra had an unusual last name
Skin shades darker than mine
Parents years older than most.
No siblings.
She was confident and self-assured.
Additional qualities I found exotic.
I liked being around her.
Her 11th (12th?) birthday was at Gooney Golf
There was a giant dinosaur at the entrance.
The last hole was an igloo.
Even if you missed, it captured your ball at the end.
After miniature golf, we went back to Cendra's house for cake.
At her decree, we smeared frosting on our faces.
When her mom saw us,
she ran to get her camera,
cheerfully capturing our cerulean blue beards and moustaches
for posterity.
Later, in Cendra's bedroom,
she informs us we're going to play house
and that she's the mom.
I request daughter. 
I know just what kind I want to be,
but when Cendra's mom character says if I don't stop the brattiness,
she'll spank it out of me
I jump back from a tiny fire
quickly reinventing my character
into a good, obedient girl.
The following year Cendra's party was at the Youth Fair,
an annual South Florida event.
it was presided over by a two-headed monster of a double Ferris wheel
the wheels turned independently.
and also moved together.
it seemed exempt from gravity
like it could axle its way to space if it felt like it.
I wasn't sure if it was dreamlike or nightmarish.
Later I knew it was masculine.
Tall and superior
Wildly seductive.
Classifications I felt at 11 or 12,
but wouldn't understand until later.
Cendra wants to ride it.
I confess to her psychiatrist father that I'm afraid.
He has me do a breathing exercise,
and then gives me a piece of gum.
Cendra has gum too.
I'm next to her at the ride's top
but happy to have overcome my fear.
The night is an ocean.
I'm swimming in the lights.
Cendra thoughts are more grounded. 
she thinks it would be funny to drop her gum on Debbie
in the car below.
So she stands up
and leans over.
Way over.
Our Ferris wheel car bends forward
not quite parallel to the ground
but enough for me to glimpse my own death
for the very first time.
At Cendra's 13th birthday party,
we watched a horrible movie.
Dead bodies
A horror film.
Horrible for me.
That same night,
as we're sitting outside after midnight
Cendra mentions the word rape.
I was still nearly a year from my own 13th birthday
and times were more innocent back then,
at least for most of us
I asked Cendra to clarify what it meant.
It means a man does anything he wants to a woman
and the woman can't do anything about it.

So many horrors in one night.
Somehow I stayed calm.
Somehow the party was still fun.
I'm not sure if Cendra had a 14th birthday party
I don't remember speaking to her again
until the early Facebook days
when we had entered midlife
possibly dying sooner
more likely dying later.
I sent her a message.
Her reply back was breezy,
Still in Miami.
Three kids.
Loves her career.
Didn't you used to live in that big house in Gables Estates? she asked.
When I confirm I did,
she tells me I had great parties.
There's not much else to say
different lives
countless new memories
too many bruises
You had great parties too,
I messaged back.
Then she was just another person who moved on from my life.
Just another person...
Except just now I realized
that isn't true.
Written by Pinkdreams
Published | Edited 18th Dec 2023
Author's Note
Funny what you learn while writing a poem.

This poem came about from another childhood friend- one I hadn't been in contact with since high school- messaging me on Facebook. Cendra was obviously more of a muse than the other friend, though it was good to hear from her.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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