The Girl Upstairs
“Hi I’m Nickie”, were my first words to the girl moving in upstairs on Silver St. Back then I’d say hello to anyone. Inviting as I was, we were playing in my room by the end of the day. She was tall with dark hair, pale skin and big brown eyes; very pretty in an unconventional way. We became like glue, sisters against the mean outside world of Southie boys and angry dogs. We played Barbies, dressed up our pets and reenacted Grease over and over (I had seen the movie 27 times). I exposed her to Michael Jackson and she exposed me to ABBA; try as I did my enthusiasm never grew for the group with the exception of our mantra song, Hasta Manana. She loved to sing and I loved laughing with her so it all worked out. We sang patriotic songs on the stairs and danced in the street. I saw an innocence that no one else did, a pain I wanted to disappear. She became the hot one and me her “shadow”, the protector, the one the boys wanted to ditch to be alone with her. Like mother like daughter, I did not bend. She was my first true friend, the first to expose my maternal nature.