Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You Wonder Why We're Friends

It all began with two preteen girls, both convinced that the other was stupid and not worth her time. One was happily grouped with her older sister and best friend; the other, all on her lonesome, forced to interact with others because of her mother's penchant for sending her to summer camps. And thus, the two were shoved together, albeit unwillingly. The friends isolated the newcomer from their exclusive circle for two long weeks, at which point she had fulfilled her stint as a "happy camper" and departed, ecstatic in the separation from her peers.

The summer passed, and it was back to the school that had chewed her up and spit her out in the sixth grade. Despite everything, she remained optimistic for a better, brighter seventh grade. The first days went by in a blur of new classes and poorly concealed excitement. And then, sitting alone in the cafeteria, eating a burrito and reading, a muted thump alerted her to the unthinkable: someone sitting with her. She raised her gaze, unsure of what to expect, and her heart immediately sank; it was her old tormentor, back to haunt her when things had finally taken a turn for the better.

But, she noticed, the other girl looked tired, and perhaps even a bit lonely. Like I was, she thought viciously. "Can I sit here?"

"I can't stop you," she replied, more than a little bitter. They sat there in awkward silence for a moment.

"I apologize for not believing you when you said you were going to be in Algebra," she said earnestly, "you just didn't seem all that smart." The other girl glared. So much for the apology. Content with her voiced confession, she began to make idle chat, with her rather displeased companion shooting her down at every opportunity. Despite her usual inability to hold grudges, this girl had done too much to fall into her good graces so quickly. And so the weeks went, a tireless "friend" following her, sitting with her during lunch, and beginning, however slowly, to wear down the girl's dislike for her.

They began to go on a walk together every night, lingering at the stop sign at the corner between their two unnervingly close houses and talking about everything from food to politics to boys. They learned near everything about each other, and agreed that they were indeed "best friends". They fought on occasion, as friends are wont to do, but always made up. They followed each other through the sordid details of their miniscule love lives, one learning how to break a heart and the other getting her heart broken. They talked about religion, life, and the future, wondering what it would hold for them.

And then came high school. The two went in with little knowledge of what to expect, with only the vague memories of older friends already long integrated into the melting pot that was high school. They met a person who they began to refer to as their best friend as well, and countless others whose antics provided many hours of entertainment. They cried together at Challenge Day, and talked for hours about college and expectations and dreams.

Over the course of two years, one became more toned down, and the other became more bold. They both learned to open up to others, and to take things as they come, but, most importantly, that there was always someone that they trusted more than anything.

This is why we're best friends.

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