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The Most Unlikely of Friends

Dear Mary,
I'm so excited to be exchanging letters with you! You'll be my first ever pen pal. I think it will be fun writing letters the old-fashioned way- I hardly ever get any in the mailbox anymore. Seeing as this is the first letter, I thought it might be a good idea to do a sort of question and answer session. I'll put my answers in and you can fill in yours too.
1)
What's your favorite color? Mine is green- like bright lime green not that forest color
2)
Animal? I've always had a little monkey fetish. Well, not always, but ever since we learned about the rainforest in first grade. We even went on a field trip to the Rainforest Café but that's another story…
3)
Book? I'm not a big reader but I read a book once- Stargirl. Have you ever heard of it? I'd tell you about it but I don't want to spoil it in case you ever read it (unless you've already read it)
4)
Movie? This is a hard one for me. I think I'd have to say Tuck Everlasting (the newer one- I've heard there's an older one but I haven't seen it).
5)
Song? I like that song called “Here We Go Again” by OK Go. Also, my guilty pleasure is listening any of the “girl power” country songs- don't make fun!
6)
Do you have any pets? I don't have any right now but I wish I did. I used to have a whole tank of fish but then we noticed that they were slowly disappearing until one day there was only one left. It turned out one fish that we called “Baby Jaws” had eaten all of them. I know, ironic. Anyway, we would probably still have Baby Jaws if it weren't for my pest of a brother. He is such a bugaboo. They could make a movie about him and call it, “The Problem That Wouldn't Go Away”.
7)
Any siblings? Well, obviously I have my little brother, Sam, but he's all. Lucky me.
8)
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a Broadway star! The only problem is my singing voice isn't exactly top-notch.
9)
What's your favorite subject in school? Mine is math because there's only one answer. You're either right or you're wrong. No opinion giving or partial credit, you know?
10)
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I would definitely want to fly.

I'm really looking forward to getting to know you! I hope I'm not too wordy in my letters to you- I tend to be rather verbose. If I do start going on too long about one thing, or using too many words to describe something- just let me know. Hope to hear from you soon!
Your new pen pal,






Alice

Dear Alice,
I'm only writing to you as a pen pal because I have to. There's an assignment in school where we were assigned a topic to write about and I got differences and similarities. We had to come up with a creative way of experiencing our topic before we write our essay and it has to last the entire school year (the essay is due just in time for last term grades). Anyway, we get extra credit if we use any of our vocab words so don't be weirded out if I use some “big” words. Anyway, here come my answers:
1)
Blue
2)
Cat
3)
I have read Stargirl before- Jerry Spinelli is one of my favorite authors. My favorite book though, is called The Little Prince. I can't remember who it's by. I love to read and I do so all the time. My mom calls me a bookworm but it just makes everything better. Feeling sad? Read. Feeling sick? Read. Feeling uninspired? Read. It's kind of my panacea, my cure-all, you know? Do you have anything like that?
4)
There's an Italian movie called Life is Beautiful- really sad but really amazing too.
5)
I love listening to music but I never know any of the actual names of the songs.
6)
I have three cats: Snap, Crackle, and Pop.
7)
Older (really older) brother, Joe
8)
I dunno.
9)
English because I think it's cool that the homework is mostly reading and writing- neither of those really seem like work to me.
10)
To be able to fly. Definitely.

I, like the opposite of you, tend to be pretty taciturn. I really hate talking and most of the time I don't unless I absolutely have to.
~Mary


Dear Mary,
I hope by the end of the school year you're writing not just because you have to but because you want to. You'll definitely have plenty of differences to write about, and if you'll notice, we both said that if we could have one superpower it would be to fly. That counts for something, doesn't it? You said that you don't usually talk. I can't imagine not talking. Why don't you like to?
Write back soon!
Your talkative friend,


Alice
p.s. I know exactly what you mean about reading. What reading is like for you, acting is like for me.

Dear Alice,
I seriously doubt that I'll ever want to write to you, but don't take it personally. I don't think that us both wanting to fly really counts as a similarity. As you may have noticed, I'm not very gregarious (actually, I'm the opposite. I prefer to be alone and don't usually enjoy myself when I'm with other people) and the main reason I would want to fly is so that I could leave situations like that whenever I want to. As for not liking to talk, it's not like I'm a mute. I don't like to talk because I prefer to record my thoughts or feelings by writing, not talking. A man named Plato once said “When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself”. So, some people like talking out loud so others can hear, and others (like me) like to talk by thinking to themselves. Well, I think I've said everything I want to, so talk to you soon!
Your taciturn friend,





Mary

Dear Mary,
Didn't you say that you like to write? Well, a man named Mason Colley once said, “There are different rules for reading, for thinking, and for talking. Writing blends all three of them.” It sounds like the two of us together would be a perfect blend.

Lately Sam (my little brother) is acting so weirdly. Usually if he wants to get something from me he'll pull my hair or steal something of mine until I give in, but recently he's been cajoling me whenever he wants something. For example, the other day he wanted to know the password to the computer so that he could go on even though his computer time was over. He spent two straight hours telling me what a good sister I was, how smart I was, and “oh, did I forget to tell you” how beautiful I was. Maybe I shouldn't have given in but it was two hours. What would you have done?
Your confused friend,







Alice


Dear Alice,
I like that quote about writing and maybe it's true. I guess we can each learn a little from each other.

That sounds weird, about Sam I mean. I'm not sure what I would have done. When Joe still lived with us I probably would have let him continue on for a few more hours and then given him the password.

Today was a long day. I got up at noon and went for run that lasted until one. When I got home I was languid. I only had enough strength to drag myself to the couch and watch re-runs that I recorded of The Simpsons.
Your exhausted friend,








Mary

Dear Mary,
Great news! I mean fantastic news! I tried out for the end-of-year school play and got the leading role! The play is about a class that gets stranded on an island while on a school field trip and I, Alice Jane Smith, play their intrepid leader (intrepid is one of our new vocab words and I thought I'd try using it. In case you didn't already know, it means fearless or brave). If you think that's the best part though, you're wrong. The best part of it all is that Lindsey, a girl in my grade that I abhor (really, I completely loathe her) tried out for the same part and didn't make it! She's been throwing me sour looks all week now. Sometimes Mary, life is bliss. Complete and utter bliss.
Your ecstatic friend,






Alice

Dear Mary,
I know I just wrote to you but things are very bad. The play is a musical which I knew before because I had to sing during auditions, but what was I thinking? I have an awful singing voice. I talked to the director after practice the other day and he didn't even reassure me that I had an at least decent voice. He said I was docile and with some instruction would be ready for the show in no time. Of course I told him no, I was not willing to be taught and no, I would not be ready for the show in no time because I was quitting. I also told him maybe he should choose someone with a better voice like Lindsey, for example. Yes, Mary. Lindsey has gotten to me. She has been cleverly sneaking in comments everywhere suggesting that I'm not good for the part like yesterday when she said (and I quote) “What is that horrific noise? Oh! Sorry Alice, I didn't realize that was you.” The nerve of that girl! She has a very candid opinion- I mean really, how much more open can you be! I know she's trying to elicit a reaction from me and she's finally getting one. Life is bedlam! Everything is blending together in a mess of noise and confusion. What do I do?
Your friend in need of help,









Alice

Dear Mary,
HELP!!!
Your freaking out friend,








Alice
Dear Alice,
Good grief! Calm down. Now, as hard as this may be for you to hear, I think that Lindsey is honestly being nice. As soon as you're done screaming at this letter and telling me I'm wrong, take a deep breath. Tell yourself Lindsey's attempts are futile. Useless. You are Alice, cool, calm, and collected. You are Alice aspiring Broadway star and you are Alice top-notch singer. I wish I could come see your play.
Your always willing to help friend,











Mary


Dear Mary,
You are my best friend. I wish you could come to my performance too.
Your hoping and wishing best friend,












Alice

Dear Alice,
It's hard to believe that the school year has almost come to an end. It's even harder to believe that you were right about me wanting to send letters not just because I have to but because I want to. Attached is my graded essay. I got an A+ thanks to you and I thought you might want to read it.
The Most Unlikely of Friends
By Mary Carpenter


At the beginning of the school year I started sending letters to a girl named Alice Smith. Coming from opposite sides of the country and having completely opposite personalities and interests, we had almost nothing in common. In the form of a question and answer session, we learned bits and pieces of each other and found common ground in this question: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Both of us responded that we would want to fly. In this answer we found comfort. Throughout the year I learned that just because Alice and I were different, it didn't mean that I couldn't like her. I learned that I was simply adverse to liking her. She was saying things and I wasn't really hearing them because I wanted to be contrary. Eventually though, I arrived at the truth that was for some reason hard for me to accept: Alice was an amicable and affable girl. She was friendly and easy to talk to.

In one of the first letters she wrote to me, Alice wrote,” I hope by the end of the school year you're writing not just because you have to but because you want to.” I responded by telling her that I seriously doubted that. It's funny how a human can be imperfect enough to contradict oneself in writing. We have arrived at the end of the year and I look forward every time to writing letters to and receiving letters from Alice. This assignment has been extremely educational for me and I come out of it with not only new knowledge, but a best friend and oh, we are the most unlikely of friends.


Dear Mary,
I'm so proud of you and am truly honored to be your best friend. My performance was last night and I sang my heart out. When I was done the audience clapped and it filled my head and my heart and I can still hear it now. Everything is wonderful so I can sign this letter with only one thing:
Your friend,



Alice



Join the Discussion

This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

MonkeYBree said...
Dec. 20, 2011 at 9:33 am
I thought this was very creative and I thoughly enjoyed the comparison of the personalities, and the stuggles of each! I have been seeing this article for a while, and was just now able to read and appreciate it! thanks for sharing and may be you can check out my pathetic works!!!
 
Kat2292 said...
May 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm
Very cute and creative. I do agree with Kiwi on how the friendship was too sudden. I just felt like it could have flowed a little more if more letters and events were added in it. Good job; I really do like it!
 
awesomeaugust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 8, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Thanks! Reading it againg, I agree that some more letters/transactions would have been more realistic- thanks again!

~Sofia~

 
awesomeaugust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 9, 2010 at 10:47 am
Hi! (from the author)
I really appreciate the comments. When I posted the story I had the names in differnt fonts and sizes, so the spacing turned out to be a little to much (sorryy!), but it wasn't intentional. Thanks to kiwi also- I felt like there was enough time for the relationship to develop, but I can definitley see how it could benifit the story to add a few more letters. thanks again!
~Sofia~
 
kiwi12 said...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 6:06 pm
I enjoyed reading this very much, but it seemed like there could be more in it. More letters, more involvements. Mary's sudden give of being friends with her was a little too soon.
 
wondering said...
Nov. 11, 2009 at 7:40 pm
I thought this was really great. I liked switching from perspectives and how you created a friendship. I think it's perfect. Great job.
 
Griffinwing said...
Jun. 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm
Very cute! Try shortening the indents between from and names.
 
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