Friends Forever

October 23, 2008
By Abby Bertholf, Park City, UT

Allie had always been the girl everybody wanted to be—blonde, skinny, tan, popular. Along with her great looks came a great personality. She was a bright girl with a very bubbly personality. No moment was boring when you were with her. She was kind, interesting, nice, and everyone liked her, well almost.

When Allie was just a young girl, she has met a girl in her neighborhood named Anna. Anna was from Boston; she had a thick accent and dark hair with blue eyes. She wasn’t as stunning as Allie but still beautiful. They had remained best of friends all the way through elementary school. But one day in sixth grade, Anna had suddenly stopped coming to school. It was almost like she had fallen off the face of the Earth. She never answered any of Allie’s calls or email’s. Even when Allie stopped by her house, nobody would answer.

As the year continued Allie slowly tried to erase Anna from her mind since it was very obvious that she was never going to see her again. This though saddened her. Allie had tried and tried to find out what happened to Anna, for what reason did she not remain in contact with her old life?

“Allie, come here sweetheart,” Allie’s mom had said to her, a few years later. Allie was now in high school, and she had a totally new group of friends. They were the girls who got all the guys and the girls that wore the coolest clothes that everyone envied.

Noticing there was something white wadded up in her mother’s palm, Allie asked, “What’s going on?”

Slowly opening her palm, her mother revealed a picture of her and Anna as little girls. They were sitting in Allie’s backyard by the patch of daises. Allie had forgotten all about it! “W. WH…what’s this?” Allie stuttered.

“Allie, remember your dear friend Anna back in grade school? Well there was something I never told you about her. The reason she never answered was because,” Allie’s mom paused. “She was beaten as a little child, she was living in a foster home. Her house she lived in, those weren’t her real parents.”

Allie was in shock. She had no idea any of this was going on. Anna always had a few scratches and bruises here and there, but nothing too serious. Anna had always made up excuses how she had fell on her bike, or run into something.

Her mom was not done, and she continued. “The weird thing about it was she was not taken from a social worker like most foster children are, she ran away. It was all over the news that week, ‘Missing foster child ran away from home.’ They found her around a week later and she was very skinny and still had all her bruises, cuts and scratches.”

Now it all made sense why she couldn’t get in contact with Anna, her social worker probably wouldn’t let her be in contact with anybody in her past life, including Allie. She had run away for a good reason, and it was probably to get away from her old life, and all the memories. She probably didn’t want to remember Allie for it would only bring back the miserable memories she had at her foster home.

Allie was only a freshman at Lakeview High School and it had been three years since she had last spoken or seen Anna. Those days were faint in Allie’s memory since she had made many more friends since those days with Anna.

A few weeks later, Allie learned that she was going to move. She was moving to a town about an hour away-Helski. It was a smaller town, but Allie was still exited to move. With her looks and personality, she would have no problem making friends.

And that part was true. She began school and within the first two weeks, she had a whole clique and even a boy she had her eye on.

She had been the new student for about a mere two weeks now before another girl took her position.
She was short; maybe a little over 5’2, and she had a little extra weight on her. Her hair was a very ruddy brown, it didn’t shine, or greasy it was just very dull. Her skin was very pale; it barely had any color to it. You could see the dark, gray circles under her eyes from lack of sleep. The best part about her appearance was hair brilliant blue eyes.

Allie never really paid attention to the new girl. Apparently she was a real grump with no friends. Nobody knew her name, and the classes she was in, she was hardly ever there and when she was, nobody noticed her presence.

It had been a week since her arrival at Helski High School and she had still made no friends, or had even tried.

Allie often wondered how anyone could stand to be that alone especially when they are surrounded by five hundred of their other peers.

Being in the popular group, Allie was very well known. Almost everyone that knew her liked her. She had a tight group of friends she hung out with outside of school but inside it seemed like no matter where she was walking there was always a, “Hey Allie,” or some sort of greeting.

Many girls were very jealous of Allie, including the new girl. Allie had only been attending school for about a month now. People who had lived in Helski all their life still weren’t as popular as her.

One day as Allie was sitting in geography; she asked to leave because she had to use the restroom. Her agenda was signed and clutched in her hand she began the walk down the hall.

As she approached the bathroom, she heard a soft weeping coming from the inside.

Allie was a very curious girl. She wasn’t the type to get all up in your business to find out what was wrong but instead find out herself.

She tiptoed in, listening. The weeping continued for another minute. Allie couldn’t help but to ask, “Are you okay?”

The weeping came to a sudden stop and there was an awkward silence.
“Hello?” Allie continued. “I won’t tell anyone about this, I only want to help you.”
Allie was still unsure of who was in the room. It could be her friends, or maybe even a girl in school.
Slowly, the stall door creaked open and out emerged the new girl. Yes, the one with the frumpy hair and the pale skin.
Showing a reassuring smile, Allie reached her hand out.
“I’m Allie.” She said as she introduced herself. The new girl showed no emotions but instead her head was to the ground, her eyes fixed upon the ugly blue and green tiles in the bathroom. Her makeup was a mess, and her hair was tangled up in knots.
“Okay.” Allie thought to herself. “You can do this, go ahead and give it another shot.”
“What’s your name?” Allie continued to smile at the girl.
The girl raised her head slightly, to make eye contact with Allie. A mumble came out of her mouth.
Allie was unable to understand so she asked, “I’m sorry. Could you repeat that?”
“Anne.” The girl said. She was still mumbling, but at least Allie had gotten something out of her.
“Oh, what a delightful name. You have just moved here, right? I believe I’ve seen you around school.”
“That’s great! How do you like Helski so far?
Anne’s eyes raged with a nasty look and she claimed, “I hate it,” before storming out of the restroom. She couldn’t believe it. Allie had come one of those preppy, fake schoolgirls who everybody likes but people like Anne hate. Anne felt dumb for even trying to make an attempt to come back to her old childhood friend and of course she had changed in the past five years. Anne thought the only thing she could do was make Allie her worst enemy so they could flat-out ignore each other.
As Allie strolled back to class, she was thinking about Anne.
“She sure does seem lost, I can’t believe she hates it here.” Allie thought in her head. “Maybe it’s because nobody had tried to become her friend yet.”
With that, Allie decided she would try to become a friend of Anne. It wasn’t like they had to be best friends or anything, but maybe it would help Anne if Allie would be the first to befriend her. It had seemed like Anne liked her or showed some sort of interest in her, and Allie hoped it would lead them to a friendship.
The bell rang for lunch and Allie met up with her friends at their usual meeting place, the statue of a skier in the center of the forum.
Everyone bought their hot lunch, and all migrated to their usual table in the center of the lunchroom.
They were having a nice lunch discussing the events that had happened in the last twenty-four hours before Allie finally decided to share her plan with her friends.
“You guys all know the new girl right?” Allie approached her friends with.
“You mean that ugly old loser?”

“Hah, that freak?”

Different responses were coming out of the mouths of her friends. She calmed them down before she started again.

“Her name is Anne. And okay, she is not as pretty or popular as we are, but I ran into her in the restroom today and she seemed like a very nice girl!” Allie exclaimed.

“So what are you saying? You want us to become friends with that freak?” Allie’s friend, Callie said.

“I’m not saying best friends, just friends. And help her get acquainted with Helski.”

“I’ll I’m saying Al is if you become friends with that freak I’m pretty sure many people in our group would not want to be friends anymore but that’s advice from your best friend. I’m only trying to help you out.”

The bell rang and everybody cleared the table. Allie thought about what Callie had said only for a moment before she saw Anne running across the lunchroom and she picked up her pace to meet up with her.

“Anne! Anne! Wait up!” Allie called.

Anne turned around to see who was calling her name.

“What do you want.” She said grumpily.

“Oh, I was just seeing what class you were headed to.”


Anne turned on her heel to leave but Allie grabbed her shoulder and stopped her.

“I was wondering if you wanted to hang out soon. Maybe get a Starbucks or something like that?” Allie said.

Anne shook her head and began to walk again. Frustrated, Allie let her go. This problem was obviously not going anywhere because Anne was too grumpy to let Allie try to become her friend. Allie sighed, and was on her way to her next class before she would be late.

The week carried on and soon it was Friday. Allie had plans after school to go see the new movie in town at the cinema.

Allie was at her locker packing up her things and someone tapped on her shoulder. It was Anne.

“Hey Allie.” She said dully.

“Oh hey Anne!” Allie said brightly.

“I…um…well I…”

“How are you doing?”

“I wanted to apologize for the way I acted towards you that day we met in the bathroom.”

“It’s alright!”

“No, it’s not. I shouldn’t have treated you that way. You were the first person in this school to make an attempt to become my friend and I gave you a cold shoulder.”

“Don’t worry about it. When I was the new girl I felt very alone too.”

“Yeah…so um…I was wondering if maybe I could accept your offer to go to Starbucks sometime?”

“Of course! I would love too!”

“Okay…sounds great. Well I uh…I guess I’ll give you a call this weekend. Bye Allie.”

“Bye Anne!”

“This is weird,” Allie thought as she walked to meet up with her friends. “She seemed very friendly today, something about her was different.”

Allie came upon her friends and her thoughts slowly drifted away to the back of her mind.

She had a great time hanging out with her friends and the movie was over and everyone was waiting on their rides home. Allie’s mom pulled up and Allie said goodbye to all of her friends.

“How was your day at school, honey?” Allie’s mom asked.

“It was good. I made a new friend.” Allie replied.

“Oh really, what’s her name?”

“Anne. She was very cold when I first met her but now she is warming up to me and I think she may even consider me her friend.”

“Oh that’s great. I’m really proud of you, Al.”

The car stopped in their garage and Allie climbed out and headed up to her room.

The week had tired her out and she was ready for a good night’s rest. She fell asleep and awoke the next morning to the shrill ring of the phone. It was around nine in the morning, and Allie picked up the phone with a groggy, “Hello?”

“Uh…Is Allie there?” The voice on the other line asked.

“This is she.”

“Oh…uh…. hey Allie. It’s Anne. I was wondering if you wanted to still go to Starbucks or something…it’s okay if you don’t.”

Allie suddenly woke up and put some pep in her voice. “Of course I do! Would you like to meet at the one in town in an hour?”

“Yeah…. uh sure. See you there.”

The line went dead and Allie was getting ready to hang out with Anne for the first time. She was a little nervous, but exited at the same time. She wondered what Anne’s personality would be like out of school.

Allie was all set to go, decked out in a new yellow sundress with a blue coat to go over it. She sat in the car with her mom and gave her a hug goodbye when she got out.

Allie walked into Starbucks and immediately the smell of coffee overtook her senses. She ordered a Vanilla Latte, and took a seat in one of the lounge chairs.

A few moments later, Anne cruised in. She was out of breath and her face was bright red.

“Sorry I’m late!” She said.

“It’s okay. I just got here and I am enjoying my coffee.” Allie said.

“The coffee here is delicious. Starbucks is the only place here where I can feel like I’m at home again.”

“Me too. It’s the only place I can find that was like my old town.”

“Your new too?”
“Oh yeah, I just moved here about a month ago.”
“Where are you from?”
“I’m from Lakeview. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s a bit larger town about an hour east of here.”
“Oh, I think I have. I just moved here from the city.”
“How wonderful! I love the city. I only go there about once a year for Christmas shopping but it’s such a nice place!”
“I suppose.”
Their conversation continued for a little over an hour before Anne finally had to leave. One thing they did not discuss was Anne’s dark past.
Anne was a foster child; both of her parents had abused her when she was little. She had lived in multiple foster homes, sometimes leaving there for days at a time.
Anne remembered the happier point in her childhood. She had lived in Lakeview herself. Her foster parents at the time were great to her. They bought her many gifts and spoiled her rotten. But one-day things went wrong. Her foster mom had become an alcoholic and began to beat Anne. At the time, Anne’s name was Anna. She had changed it to Anne because it sounded for adultery and part of her wanted to escape her past.
Anne had then moved and moved many times before coming to Helski. The day she met Allie it seemed like fate. Allie had been her best friend, almost her sister when she had lived in Lakeview.
Allie was very much the same as she was little, still a very pretty girl with an amazing personality. Anne was stunned to find out they had both moved to the same little town. Anne had changed quite a bit from when she was younger. She had a more worn look but her eyes remained the same blue that they had always been. Anne had tried to avoid Allie but when the point came to where she could no more, instead of telling Allie the truth, she hid it from her and decided to try to become her friend as “Anne.”
So far everything between them was going great and Allie had no clue. They began to hang out more, and even smiled and stopped and talked in the halls during locker breaks. Allie still had her group with the popular people, but Anne was the person she could really be herself with.
One day, Allie was sitting in her room going through old photo albums. She came across a picture of her and Anna when she was younger. The picture had faded a bunch, but both of their six year old grins with missing teeth made the picture shine.

As Allie continued to look at the picture, something stuck out at her. Anna’s blue eyes. They looked very familiar, exactly like Anne’s. Allie had never met another person after Anna left that had that same shade of blue.
Allie thought very long and hard that night. It was making her restless, she couldn’t sleep.
Tomorrow was a Monday, the first day back at school from the weekend. Allie decided she would bring the picture with her to show Anne and see what her reaction was. If Allie was correct, it could be her old friend Anna!
Millions of questions kept running through Allie’s brain but she decided she should get some sleep or she may not even make it to school tomorrow.
“Brrrring! Brrrring!” Allie’s alarm clock was going off. It was around six in the morning and time to get ready for school.
Her hair was straight, her makeup was done to perfection and her outfit was matching. Making sure the picture was tucked safely in her school bag, Allie strode out the door to her bus stop. It was getting colder as winter inched nearer. On this morning, it was around 50 degrees, making the little hairs on the back of Allie’s neck stand.
The yellow bus pulled to the corner and stopped where Allie and a few other kids climbed on. The bus was already full of energy even though it was only seven in the morning.
She arrived at school about twenty minutes before the first bell would ring and she decided she would go find Anne. It didn’t take long because Anne approached Allie with a smile and a hug.
“Hey, how are ya?” Anne asked.
“Hey! I’m great. How about yourself?” Allie responded.
“Just the usual.”
They continued their conversation as they headed towards Allie’s locker. Allie unloaded her books and just as she was about to pull the photo out, the bell rung.
“Well I gotta head over to English so I will come to your locker at lunch. Okay?” Anne said. Not even waiting for a response, she was on her way.
Allie looked at the photograph herself. She wondered for a moment if she was crazy thinking her childhood friend was the new girl at her new school.
Trying to shake the thoughts off, she grabbed her books and headed to her first period.
The three periods leading up till lunch seemed to stretch out as long as they could, making Allie more nervous by every minute that passed.
It was lunchtime and instead of going to her regular table, Allie went to meet up with Anne.
As usual, Anne was alone waiting for Allie. They stood in the lunch line together waiting to get their hands on a nice, hot lunch.
They paid, and got their food and headed over to a table towards the edge of the cafeteria.
As they ate, they talked about events from their day so far. In Anne’s Spanish class, their had been a guy who refused to do any work and wouldn’t cooperate with the class.
Once they had no more left to say, Allie thought it would be an appropriate time to pull out the picture. She got it, and slowly turned so Anne could see.
With one glance at the picture, Anne stood up abruptly, grabbed her tray and started to run.
“Anne, wait!” Allie called after her.
Anne had no intentions of waiting. She was flying down the halls as the warm tears started to fall from her eyes. She ran out to the cool, fall air and sprinted all the way home.
Everything was ruined. Allie knew who she really was. She was the girl who had been beaten as a child with no real family. She was out in this world all-alone with no home. She finally thought she had found a safe place, a nice place, which she really loved.
She sat on her bed, as silent tears fell from her eyes. It seemed like the perfect life she had been reliving with Allie, was all over.
Back at school, Allie was very confused. What had happened? Why did Anne just run up and leave? Allie was unsure and she wanted to find Anne to talk it out. She had not been able to find her anywhere in the school, she might as well had left.
After school, Allie headed towards Anne’s house. A lady, no older than forty, answered the door. She had a smile n her face and an apron on, which explained why an aroma of cookies escaped the house when she opened the door.
“Hi, I’m Allie, Anne’s friend.” Allie explained.
The woman’s face fell as soon as Allie said that and she replied with a cool, “Anne is not feeling to great right now.”
“Please, I just really need to talk to her. It’s an emergency.”
“She has requested not to see anybody, she is not in the mood. Goodbye.”
With that, the front door closed on Allie’s face.
Allie stood there for a moment. Everything in their friendship had been going so great.
Allie walked away. She felt as if she had just lost the playoffs to go to the Super Bowl.
The days seemed to pass by slowly now, and a week had gone by since Allie had last seen Anne.
Allie had given up hope. Anne obviously was not interested in their childhood friendship, or even being friends anymore. All Allie had wanted to do was bring back those good days. The days where she and Anne spent countless hours playing in the field behind their houses and riding around in the cul-de-sac on the bikes.
On one fall night, Allie was sitting in her room completing her homework when thee was a soft knock at the door. It was her mom.
“Sweetie, there is a girl here who said she wanted to talk to you.” Her mom said.
Giving a nod for approval, Anne came in the room. She looked rough. Her thick hair was pulled back in the ponytail with pieces sticking out here and there, her skin was oily and her clothes look dirty. She had no makeup on but the one thing still great about her was her blue eyes. The way they reflected in the light made them pop and light up Anne’s completion.
She walked over to Allie’s bed, keeping her head down. As she sat, she looked Allie in the eyes.
“Allie, hey…uh listen, about the other day…” She spoke quietly and wasn’t even able to finish her sentence before Allie broke in.
“I’m so sorry. I never intended for anything like that to happen. I just wanted to remember our old childhood days, the great memories we had together. If you came here to tell me you don’t want to be my friend anymore, I totally understand. I am sorry for the drama I caused and I never meant it at all. Not one bit.” The words seemed to flow out of Allie.
A chuckle escaped Anne’s mouth. “Al, it’s nothing like that. I came here to apologize to you. I never should have treated you the way I did. I should have been thankful for all that you have done for me.”
Allie smiled. Her eyes were getting glassy. “Your welcome,” was all she could choke out before the tears started to fall. They fell, hitting Allie’s bed and smearing her makeup.
Anne hugged Allie. “Al, there were some things I never shared with you. I’m not sure if you know, but there was a reason why I left Lakeview so fast. When I was a baby, my parents had beaten me. Whenever my mom would become mad at anyone, she would take out her anger on me. I was moved to a foster home after two more years of dealing with her. My foster parents loved me. They gave me anything I wanted, they were great. The first few years we were friends, my home life was going very smooth. Until one day when I was hit. I was hit very badly, it knocked me unconscious for a little. Once I was better, nothing happened again until six months later. I was starting the cycle all over again, being beat whenever someone else was angry. They made me tell stories to everyone, including you, about the bruises and cuts on my body. They threatened to kill me if anyone ever found out the real truth. After being beat for a very long time, a lady called and reported me to a social worker. The social worker had come to my house and took me away from my foster parents. It turns out the lady had been your mom. She was concerned about me. I moved to multiple foster homes but I was never happy. The last time when I went with the social worker to her office, she was asking me about people I had known from my childhood and missed. You were the only one I could think of. I never had any real friends when I was little. You were the only one. I gave them your name, and they located you. They found me a home to live in the same city as you. When I came to school, I recognized you. You had grown into a popular, pretty girl. I had gotten ugly. I couldn’t interfere with this perfect life of yours. I spent all day alone and spent many class periods in the bathroom crying. I did that many days until you came up to me. I was so shocked I thought it was fate that had brought us together like that. I was scared, you tried to befriend me. I pushed you away. In my heart, I still believed you were the same Allie I met as a child, but I didn’t want to believe it. I thought I was dumb for trying to be where you were. You kept trying to become my friend; you had no idea who I really was. Or I thought you didn’t. We became close, closer than I expected us too. It was almost like reliving my childhood.”
Allie had a steady stream of tears running down her face. She had no idea how harsh Anne’s life had really been.
Anne began to continue. “The day you showed me the picture, I guess I just freaked out a little. To see me in the state again, with scratches and bruises, it brought back terrible memories. Not with you of course, but with my foster parents. I got scared all over again, and couldn’t handle it. I sat up here in my room for a week. I wanted to move to the other side of the Earth. This morning, I realized you were only trying to recognize who I was. You remembered me. It seemed like a miracle. I thought really long and hard that you weren’t trying to hurt me but instead help me. I am still ashamed the way I had treated you this past week; not answering any of your calls, telling you to go away when you showed up at my doorstep and not answering your e-mails. I’m so sorry Al.”
Anne was able to get the last part of her speech out before dissolving into tears. She was shaking and the only sound in the room was her sobs. Allie couldn’t do anything but hold her tight and tell her everything would be okay, even while her own tears ran down her face.

The girls continued going to school at Helski, and it was time for them to graduate. Both had been accepted into colleges, but on different coasts. They knew it was time to part, but they promised themselves that this friendship would never end. The graduation was great, and so was the after party. Everybody was enjoying themselves and getting in their final goodbyes before they were off to college in the fall.
On a warm summer night, Allie and Anne sat together outside of Allie’s house on her porch swing. They laughed, remembering all the good memories they had made together both during their childhood and high school years.
Allie was ready to depart for college the next day. Everything in her room was packed and in the car, except for one box.
The box contained all of Allie and Anne’s memories. Their tickets from the concerts they attended together, the paper they wrote for Biology together when they were sophomores and even the shirts they had tie-dyed for art. In the very bottom of the box sat on precious memory. It was the picture Allie had showed Anne when Anne first arrived in Helski. It had become more faded and the edges were even more torn now, but the meaning of the picture remained the same.
It showed two girls who were best friends. They were very different by appearance but the way they treated each other and held each other when they were down, showed the true meaning of what ‘best friends’ really meant.
It was around midnight, and time for Anne to leave.
“So, I guess this is goodbye for a while.” Allie began
Anne looked at Allie in the eyes. “Yeah,” she agreed. “I can’t believe this is all over. We’re already going to college. Time flies.”
“I know. I will miss you so much. Promise you will keep in touch.”
“Oh, no doubt about that I will.”
Both girls giggled, and an awkward silence took over.
“Al, I just want to say that you were the best friend I ever had. I have no idea what I’m going to do next year without you.” Anne said.
“Don’t even start Anne. You were my best friend. You were the one always there for me. But you’re a strong girl, you always have been. You will be fine next year. I feel like half of me will be missing since we will not be together.”
Both girls said there final goodbyes and tears were falling from their eyes. Anne began to walk home and Allie watched her as she went.
Tomorrow, she would be in college. A whole new segment of her life was about to begin. She wasn’t sure how things would go with her and Anne being on opposite sides of the country.
The only thing she could promise herself was to always remember Anne in her heart. Anne was her best friend, and impacted her life so greatly. If it weren’t for Anne, she would have turned out differently. She wasn’t afraid of losing Anne, and she never would be. They were destined to be friends forever. And even if something ever did happen, Anne would always still be alive and her best friend in her heart.

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