I grew up with a bunch of evil cheerleaders. For the most part, they were kind of snobby, and somehow, thought themselves better than everyone, especially me. I made the squad the first year I tried out, and I loved it. Even though I was one of the nerdiest girls on the squad, there was a small fraction of girls that was really sweet and made friendships with me despite the fact I probably brought harm to their image. One of those girls was Heather Herring. Heather always kept her dark hair long, which further flattered her brown eyes and those cute little girl freckles perfectly placed on her cheeks and nose. It was obvious her looks were part of her genes. Her mother was a perfume model with the same long, dark hair, and her father was a hunky preacher and coach football coach. So, in short, she was just naturally beautiful, and she never ever boasted it. I'm not sure how much of it was her genes working with her or the fact that she had a younger brother and was raised by a coach, but the girl was also naturally athletic. She could play basketball and football better than most boys, but luckily, she cheered and tumbled with me.

If memory serves me somewhat, Heather moved away twice in the two decades that I have lived here. I might be granting her an extra move, but I don't think I am. My junior year in high school, we ended up in Algebra II together. She was in the very back of the class, and unfortunately, I was up front. I think that was her last year at our school. For some reason, her father transferred to Georgia, and I thought I'd never see her again. It was sad because she had grown up with us, and now her senior year would be an endless amount of new faces.

My mother ran into Heather's mom a few months ago. She said Heather had married a football coach and lived about two hours away. I was so excited to hear that they had all moved back to Tennessee. On my lunch break today, as I rounded the corner of an outlet store, I saw Heather's mom. I looked around, and there was Heather. For some stupid, stupid reason, I weighed my options, and then bolted out the door. I didn't want Heather to see me, but I wanted to go talk to her. It's been about eight years since I've seen her, and she crosses my mind every now and again. In the brief seconds that I saw her, I could tell she was still as cute as she had always been. I walked next door and realized that I couldn't stop smiling. It was comforting to know she was on the other side of the wall. It made me happy. I had missed her. I thought about walking back, but I felt really ugly. She isn't the type to put much stock into how a person looks, so I'm not sure why I let that stop me from talking to her.

I drove back to work thinking of her. I remembered watching that girl tumble, and god was she good. All her power came from her legs. She would tumble down the mat with one pass, land it, and bounce back into the air from the motion. She looked like she had springs on her feet. She had somewhat boyish charm and ease about her, too. I can even remember her asking questions in class. I don't think Heather was an honor student; she was probably about average, maybe a bit higher. But I definitely remember her in class. She often made the coaches laugh with her confusion on whatever the topic was at hand. By no means do I mean to imply that was she dumb or ditzy--quite the contrary. I guess there was just nothing contrite about her. She seemed natural, and that is something unique in girls, especially in high school.

Yeah, I miss her...a lot.


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