December 11, 2008

As Good As It Gets

I don't really remember meeting Audrey Suzanne Trevino. Likewise, I don't remember not knowing her. She was just always there, down the hallway or down the road, playing the softball game scheduled right after mine or throwing me the last beer from the ice chest. I was born three years before she was, so logic lets me know that there must have been a time in my life that I didn't know she existed, yet still, I can't recall it. That's both the beauty and the beast of growing up in a small town. Our lives are interconnected and interchanging, weaving in and out of one another like the ebbs and tides of the unpredictable ocean. It's a loop that never ends.
With probably a thousand different sporting events drawing our lives together, be it softball or football or our parents' bowling, Audrey was always on my radar. And, truthfully, she was the shits from top to bottom, from the beginning to the end. That I've always known. I could ramble into a few stories from the bowling ally or fitness center of shenanigans pulled by Audrey or my sister or my cousin Stephanie or Britne, but that post in itself could go on forever.
But somewhere along the time I turned 21 or 22 and Audrey turned 19 or 20, she grew from the brat pack of my little sister into my peer. I worked at the Pizza Hut and she worked at the Subway, which just happened to do be directly across with the street from one another. With the bulk of our friends off chasing grandeur at some distant university or running down the aisle and into the birthing rooms, Audrey and I found the common bond of being the rare and illusive breed of small town young girls that happened to be single and, well, out of high school. For somewhere near 9 months, she spent several nights a week at my house, the both of use swaddled in the magic fabric of sweat pants, watching movies and drinking beer out of straws that, by the way, had tiny penises on the the end. We laughed over tacky jokes, the kind that would make sailors blush, and cried over the uncertainties we both felt about our childhoods. Somehow or another, she got me.
But, just as life always seemed to do, we both moved toward different phases in our lives. For one thing, I met Rowdy, my cowboy romeo, and he swept me off my feet and onto the vast prairies of Roger Mills County. For you non-Okies, that's only, like, 25 miles away from my hometown, but sometimes it feels a world away. Marriage and babies fell upon me like a swift snowfall and my days were quickly consumed with the ins and outs of daily life. Like most of the people of my childhood and early adulthood, I didn't get to see Audrey nearly as often as I would've liked. But, when I did, she always had an uncanny knack for making me feel like she'd been there all along, like we'd never missed a beat.
And as time went along, I heard Audrey's name mentioned by my other friends, from people who she might not have known while we drank beer into the twilight on a frequent basis. It became clear to me that, in my absence, so many others had discovered the treasure I myself had found in Audrey. She had this uncanny ability to make you feel special, no matter who you happened to be. And that was no facade, my friends, she was a lover of people. She just put herself out there, she was totally fearless in that way. She was as good as they make 'em. She had a heart of gold and a tongue of steel, if you know what I mean. She both loved and fought wholeheartedly.
When Audrey died this Tuesday, December 9, I really knew it wouldn't be a right if the only thoughts posted here were mine. As I said, Audrey never met a stranger. And if you ever felt like she loved you, trust me, she did. Her heart was just that big. So, I posted a bulletin on myspace asking for others, folks from all walks of life, to send me thoughts or memories on our beloved girl.
As the threads of a great quilt laced between one another, members of different families mold together in a small town, from birth to death. This is reflective in what Britne (formerly Rainey) wrote:
My mom and Anne (Audrey's Mom) have been good friends for years, so Audrey and I kinda grew up together. I remember she always fixing my hair (bangs especially). Oh, by the "wings" you know the feathered back style and then apply tons of hair spray!! I remember one time our parents had gone out for New Years and Audrey and I got bored so we decided to make a cake. It was a chocolate cake, but we only a few half eaten cans of icing. So, needless to say, the cake had 3 or 4 different types of icing but, you know, it was pretty darn good !! I have a lot of other memories of her that were wonderful and I will always remember her and the awesome person that she was!!! My heart really hurts right now, not just for her family, but for her as well. She was so young and never had a chance to really experience the great things in life !! God Bless her and her family !

Naturally Britne's post warmed my heart and my tear ducts, particularly the last part. Now I know Audrey and she had a zest for living. She tasted life's sweetness often. But, I think what Britne was referring to directly was the fruits of longevity. Just this afternoon, I sat with Audrey's mother and grandmother. The pride they so clearly feel for her is as recognizable as the sun in June's heat. I think Britne knows, just as I know, that Audrey would've been the ultimate momma bear.

The next post from little Katie Farrel. Now I call her little because she's even younger than my little sister, who is, by the way, very grown. You know how some people stand still in time. Well, my sister and all her friends do to me. I don't care how grown up you guys get. The reason I mention just how long I've know Miss Katie is because I have known her through different means than how I knew Audrey, though they knew each other just as long. Do you see the theme of the intertwining lives of small town folks? I think Katie's small passage really speaks volumes for the many dimensions lifelong friendships can have. She wrote:

Audrey was the first person to hit me with a softball and the first person to serve me a beer on my 21st birthday. She was the reasoning in me going to The Long Horn, where she bartended and was a better bouncer than any big man. But most of all. I am gonna miss that laugh that she had and how she was always herself, no matter what. And the penis water gun she gave me on my 22nd birthday. Oh we had a blast with it! I am gonna miss that girl.

But, lastly, I think I will end with a little blurb from my darling friend Josh Bailey. He and I worked together for many years, through many sweat soaked nights at a pizza parlor. Honestly, I had never thought of him and Audrey being friends. For a passage in my life, he and I were around each other more than we were around much of anyone else. But, time moves like sand in the wind and our lives take a different form. However, knowing both him and Audrey, it was no surprise to me that these two great souls had also struck up a friendship. I'm better for knowing them both and I really think Josh's words sum up the whole of Audrey's spirit, the way she seized all moments and loved all people. Her smile lit up a room and she felt just a comfortable around bankers as she did around beggars. She was as good as it gets. Don't take my words for it, take Josh's:

I can't really think of one time with Audrey that stood out above the rest, because every time was a blast. She always went out of her way to make sure everybody was having a good time.There was never a dull moment and never a frown on her face. The short, few years I knew her was certainly not enough and that breaks my heart. You will seriously be missed, Audrey, by so many people. God bless you. - Josh

I want to write this post forever, to let my mumbling words drag on and prevent my sleep. I want to push tomorrow back into the midnight because, with the dawn of day, this nightmare is really real. Tomorrow we lay her to rest. As I close this post, I am leaving you with a Jackson Browne song, For A Dancer, performed by James Dupre. Whether you knew Audrey or not, I want you to listen to the words. However, if you did hit the awesome lottery of actually meeting this beautiful spirit, the words will really resonate with you. To me, the words give explanation to the way I feel not only about Audrey, but all my darling friends I rarely see because of all these adult responsibilities. Even if I don't see you often enough, you are with me and me with you. Here's just a excerpt of the song, I hope it entices you to click on the video and listen to the whole song. I put the sentence in bold that SCREAMS Audrey to me. Enjoy:

I don't remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you'd always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you're nowhere to be found

I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
Its like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can't sing
I can't help listening
And I can't help feeling stupid standing round
Crying as they ease you down
cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
Right on dancing
There's nothing you can do about it anyway

Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone

Here's one more for the road from Jacy:
Audry was a bubbly person! We had this thing going between us with, "Your hair looks nice!" One day i had went into the bar and had a bad day and Audry said, "Your hair looks nice!"
I was like, "Are you kidding?!?"
After the day I had, I just knew it looked like shit 'cause I had felt like I had been pulling my hair out. So the next time I went in, her hair looked awesome! So I said, "Audry, your hair looks nice!"
She just gave me this evil eye, but it made her laugh!! You know the laugh, that sounds evil, but you know is innocent. That laugh of Audrey's made me always wanna laugh!!! It was a laugh no one else has!!
I saw her last Thursday night and she had her hair slicked back. I said, "Are you trying to pull off some Chinese bun or what?"
Her famous words came out with, "Shut the f*@ck up!!! I was running late for work!!!"
I am going to miss her serving the drinks. She knew what to say and how to make you laugh. I don't think I have ever heard of anyone not really liking her! She will be truly missed by me!

And in keeping with their inside joke greeting ritual, my friend Aaron wants to send Audrey off in style with two simple words, "Fuck Yea!"

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Anonymous said... you do you have a heart of gold. i know that Audrey and her family truly appreciate all of your heart that went into this. i never got back on here to put my comment about Audrey but i am going to now...sorry...Audrey was a true friend. I knew her through many differnt walks in my life. From her hanging out with my ex brother in law and being one of the younger kids to serving me beer at tht long horn after a night at work. I know that no matter when I saw her she was always smiling. You never got just a half smile it was always one that you could almost feel it was so big!!! My heart aches for her and her family and thousand friends...she was someone that touched so many people in her short life that she will never be forgotten...

Anonymous said...

OMG Shonda I am so, so sorry. What happened to her? She's so young. You did her right in this post,'s beautiful. I can't imagine what you are going through right now, my heart goes out to you.

Kylee Bryan said...

Audrey was the sunshine, always bringing the smiles and laughter. No matter what mood I was dwelling in, she always made me smile. She was sent to us as an angel, and God decided her work was done. He needed her more in heaven. Everywhere she went the sunshine followed. I love you Auggie, and I will watch for the rainbows, knowing that you sent them down to me as a sign. You will be misses by ALL. This world is too small, and I can't wait to meet up with you again. I miss you so much.

Anonymous said...

Wow - Shonda, I'm so sorry for your loss. I didn't know Audrey, being a virtual stranger, but the tributes to her here are breathtaking. My best wishes go out to you and her family and friends.

Pam said...

i'm so sorry. this was a great tribute to your friend and the song was beautiful. my thoughts are with you, her family & friends.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman.

Anonymous said...

Audrey was a friend of my son's. I knew her and her Mother quite well. My heart goes out to Ann and her family. Not only did Audrey make everyone smile, she took good care of her friends. She has had been to my house for dinner with my son and their friends. Always helping, always laughing, and always loving life.


Anonymous said...

wow. Shonda. wow.

Martie of (new blog)

Anonymous said...

losing friends is never easy. I'm sorry for your loss. Great writing too, but bummed by your loss.

on a side note, tried using wordpress' openid to authenticate this post. seems broken.

Anonymous said...


What a great tribute to what sounds like a very selfless person.

My thoughts to her family, all her friends, and of course, to you as well.

Robert E. Morgan, Jr. said...

She will live forever in the hearts and minds of those she touched. It is with great sadness that I read your post. Death is a galloping horse that overtakes us eventually, our goal and our task is to enjoy every moment before we hear the hooves of the unknown. I wish you love and peace. Keep Audrey in your heart and she will forever be you friend.

phonelady said...

oh shonda so sorry for your loss of a dear friend . I lost my college roommate this last august and I still feel her loss when the phone does not ring with her on the other end . I still miss her and i think I will for many years . god bless you and may peace find a way of easing your heart .

Anonymous said...

So many nice things said about someone who certainly sounds lovely herself. I am very sorry to hear of her passing. Deaths are so hard but when a young life is lost it seems even harder to have a life taken from them when they had so much living still to do. Sending you hugs Shonda x

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