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To Have a Best Friend
I leaned against the car window; the raindrops spilled past. It had been a long day. With every drop of irony and dismay I endure, my life seems to feel inexperienced, or rather undefined.
It wasn’t like I wanted to become Kylie Simons’ best friend. She had thick glasses, stringy hair, and always sat in the corner of the playroom, reading some book at a second grade level. It was kindergarten, and this meant new friends. These were the ones that would label you for your entire elementary school career, or perhaps even longer.
I wanted to be Wendy Mitchell’s BFF, the spunky, spirited girl who already had friends in the parochial schools in Garston and a real Facebook account. Wendy was the one with shining eyes, the cute one that the adults all say “Wow, is she ever going to be a role model when she grows up.”
But, alas, my crazed dreams were for sure doomed. Wendy hung out with girls in LSC (Little Stars Cheerleading) and ADG (Advanced Dream Gymnastics). My flexibility and athletic skills were somewhat lacking, so I got stuck with the dorks. Nerds, geeks, losers… whatever you want to call them is okay by me.
It wasn’t like I was dumb, so I was at least lucky that I fit in somewhere. There were about five of us or so, like Jaycee Matthews and Sonya Slanders. We all became the best of friends, in a nutshell.
It was weird. We were sort of, well, interesting people to be best friends. We did the norm: sharing juice boxes and having play dates every other weekend. We just never played school or pretended we were princesses.
And, yeah, since the four of us were like the nerds of the grade, we got picked on a lot. We just sort of ignored it. That is, until everything changed.
“Hey, Xenia, wait up!” I turned and saw Jaycee, with flowing black hair and contacts in her shining green eyes.
“You know I hate my name,” I hissed as she bounded up to me.
Jaycee put her hand on her hip and tilted her head. “Puh-lease, Xenia, your name is prettier than mine, Kylie’s, and Sonya’s combined.”
I shook my head. “Xenia is a ridiculous name. Half the class can’t even pronounce it correctly.”
“Affirmative, I assume,” Jaycee muttered.
I rolled my eyes. Jaycee and I had been friends for six years now. Not much had changed except for a more complex vocabulary.
“Kylie! Sonya! Hey!” Up ahead stood our two friends; both had wavy blond hair that was ultimately perfect.
Sonya ran ahead and burst into a smile. “Guess what?”
Jaycee looked up at the ceiling. “Gosh, I have no incomprehensible idea.”
“I’m on the squad!”
Jaycee sighed heavily, but still gave her an unenthusiastic high-five. Kylie bounded up behind us, a big smile on her face.
“She told you?” Kylie asked.
“Yeah, and that’s such a huge accomplishment,” I said flatly.
“Okay, okay, I get it. It’s not that cool to you guys; but it’s still me, so back off!” Sonya said defensively.
“I see that you’re using really distinguishable wording for proclaiming your entrance on the POD squad.” Jaycee broke in.
The Parading Oreille Dance Squad was in every single parade in the city. The city! Besides, none of the unpopular people ever get on the POD squad.
“What do you mean it’s not that cool?” Kylie cried. “The POD squad is far too exclusive for someone like us to get in. For Sonya to do that is just craziness.”
“Confound it,” Jaycee blurt out. “The squad is so boring. Dancing? How could you even go out for it?”
“It’s cool,” Sonya replied.
“So what, you’re in the Handspring Circle now?” Kylie stared at her best friend intently.
“Why not?” Sonya shrugged.
“Maybe because the Handspring Circle would never make exceptions like the Nerd of Ages?” I put in hopefully.
“So you’re saying I have no chance?” Sonya asked with a bit of a sharp tone.
“We’re not saying that at all, Sonya, it’s just that…”
“Well, you know what? I don’t really care!” With that, she turned on her heel and left the premise.
Jaycee shook her head. “Good gracious, you say one thing and then…”
“Jaycee, please,” Kylie said, “you know that Sonya has always wanted to be popular. She just thinks she’s got a chance.”
I looked at Kylie seriously and put my hand on her shoulder. “Kylie… Think about it. Sonya will leave us in a second just to be popular. Remember that time in fourth grade? She tried out for gymnastics she was so desperate to be popular. And then she just cried out back to us.”
Kylie shook her head wildly, but I could see she was getting scared about the whole idea of losing her best friend. “Th-that’s not true!” she stuttered. Kylie simply picked up her backpack, seeming hurt, and dashed down the hallway to find Sonya.
I turned to Jaycee. “Well, now what are we going to do?”
Jaycee just sighed. “Gee, sorry, but you know Sonya was going to leave anyway. The nerds were just too dorky for her.”
“Sonya’s wrong,” I said. “She’ll see, one day.”
So that was it. It’s four years later now; we’re sophomores. Sonya left us, and now she’s the second most popular girl in the school. Her grades dropped, and her dancing skills increased. She became the least nerdy girl in the whole state.
But Kylie… she’d moved. She was gone. And then Jaycee and I stared at her picture in the paper… we were full of perplexity, indignation, and total wretchedness.
Who’s your real friend? Is it really that girl who just wants popularity and not the friendship you’ve given her? Why would you fool yourself by spending time with her? Is there a real reason for indisputably chasing something so intangible yet vulnerable?
As the car rolls down the street, I think of Kylie. The reminiscence of her nearly indomitable, painstaking chase towards immortal friendship still haunts me. How someone with such eloquence toward her views could be dismantled by a miscreant, one-sided oppressor perturbed me greatly. Jaycee glances at me from the wheel with a concerned look on her face.
“Jaycee, I’m fine. It was just so hard. All I could think about was Kylie. I can only imagine what she would’ve thought.”
“It’s hard to say. She probably realized what an illusive slave-driver Sonya was. I’ll bet she would’ve been proud of you.”
We drive into the parking lot and Jaycee turns the key. But she doesn’t unlock the door. She sits there, looking up at the roof of the car. “Of all the people in the world, why did it have to be Kylie? What kind of creep would even imagine of doing such a dehumanizing action?”
I put my hand on Jaycee’s shoulder. “It’s okay. We should really go now,” I speak quietly.
She nods. “You’re right.”
Then we step out into the cold rainy atmosphere. The funeral home was just a short walk away.