March 27, 2011
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I was almost eight years old when I first felt truly alone. Of course, my parents were still around, but nothing was the same without my Best Friend—my support. All those wonderful times we had together kept flashing before my eyes as I was wondering when—if ever—I was going to see her again.

When I first felt like this, it was early in the morning, just past dawn, when my father’s car was dashing past the magnificent Slovenian countryside. We had left Vienna before sunrise, my parents eager to begin the long trip back to my hometown. On the trip to the Austrian capital, I marveled at the surroundings not only because everything was new to me (it really was), but also because I tried to keep my mind busy with trivial things as to not think of what was about to happen. I spent as much time with my Best Friend in Vienna as possible, doing everything with her, from sight-seeing to apartment hunting. All these memories, and many older ones, came flooding back to me as I tried to hold back the tears.

The first memory that I thought of was a fairly recent one. As I thought back, I laughed at my ignorance. At the time, I really had no idea how important the coming trip to Vienna was. However, I should have had—the gravity of it was obvious even from the packing methods. My Best Friend, although already a meticulous packer that brought almost everything she owned on every trip, really packed everything she had for this voyage. She even used Space Bags to save up on space in her suitcases; after all, there was eighteen years’ worth of things to pack. I helped her, dumbfounded at how much stuff she was bringing along. I think that was the first time I actually saw the reality of the situation—she was really leaving.

Those Space Bags really were a problem later on. The reason being, the largest of them was placed on the backseat of the car; that is, my Best Friend and I could not sit properly and had to use some meditation poses to find a little bit of comfort whilst sharing the seat with the extra large Space Bag. I speculate that this was an even bigger problem for my Best Friend, since she was eleven years older than I was, and therefore physically larger than me. Even though that Space Bag presented itself as a difficulty in the beginning, this was a bonus afterwards because it enabled us to play cards on the car seat—just a way to make an eight-hundred-kilometer trip fun.
Vienna was a completely new experience for my Best Friend and me. Together we explored this wondrous metropolis, riding horse-drawn carriages and trying new things, like the Austrian version of bagels and sweet fruit punch which was sold at an outdoor bazaar that warmed our insides once we drank it. We went to Prater, the famous amusement park, and, among other things, found our way out of a transparent maze; this may sound easy, but it is actually more difficult than a colored maze, since you cannot see it and keep plowing headfirst into the walls. As both my Best Friend and I are quite the animal lovers, we had to visit the Schönbrunn Zoo. It is the oldest zoo in the world and has a variety of animals that few other zoos have. There the baby giant pandas they had just brought in from China amazed us—only a handful of zoos in the world have giant panda exhibits, since these magnificent animals are on the verge of extinction.
After we visited about a dozen of apartments all over Vienna, we found a nice one, close enough to the center, but in a more quiet part of the city. To celebrate we went to a remote little cake shop and ate Sachertorte, a traditional Austrian cake. There my Best Friend and I discussed, for the first time, what was going to happen after we left her here in Vienna; she told me I had to be strong, because she were not really going to be that far—just a phone call away, whenever I needed her. Listening to her, I believed it was really going to be fine. How wrong I was.
I was thinking over that conversation as tears freely streamed down my cheeks, my face turned towards the window, pretending I was interested in the Croatian suburb my parents’ car was passing by on the way back to Skopje. I did not want my parents to see that I had finally cracked. I succumbed to the grief—although I had not truly lost my Best Friend, I knew nothing was ever going to be the same. I would not wake up in the room next to hers any more, I would not wait up for her every night just so she can kiss me goodnight. Yes, everything was about to change. I laughed as I thought this; while I hated clichés, I used one to describe how I was feeling. That was just it: the emotions whirling in my heart were as old as history itself, and could not be better described than by such a clichéd expression.
With that, I learned that life throws you curveballs, even at a young age. I was not prepared to face the fact that my Best Friend was moving for good, but, then again, I do not think I ever would have been. With my Best Friend gone, there was no one to spare me from being bullied at school, no one to defend me. I had relied to much on that support—I thought my Best Friend would always have my back. It is miraculous how many people rely on others for support all their lives, never giving a thought to how different life would be without it, taking it for granted. I realized just how much I loved my Best Friend, now that she had moved far away.
As time passed, I learned how to cope with my Best Friend living in Vienna. Daily Skype video chats helped, but no technology in the world could stop me from missing my Best Friend, my support, my sister. She was the person I hugged every morning in the car when my father and I dropped her off to high school, the person known to me as Dada since I could remember. Even now, almost nine years after my sister moved away to Vienna, I still feel alone sometimes.

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