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Glass Flowers

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What is a “friend”? A smiling icon on your Facebook profile? A signature in your yearbook?

I have a friend with dark chocolate locks and a toothy smile.

We met at the very beginning of school. I was shy and bashful, she, gregarious and charming. We ended up chatting away at Orientation – two girls sitting primly in their chairs, dresses flowing smoothly down to cloak our knees and strands of hair curling out of elastics. We later found out that we shared a couple of classes, and our rooms were on the same floor.

It seemed like a perfect beginning to the story of my high school life. She and I started meeting up in each other’s rooms and chatting about ourselves. We bonded over horrifying middle school experiences, her as a social butterfly, I as a social drifter.

Though they sounded like polar opposites, they were truly the same thing. For what is a butterfly but an insect that is constantly migrating, trying to find a home? And what of the social drifter, who floats aimlessly between groups, trying to find the One?

It’s easy to make superficial connections, but I just did not have the material to delve deeper.

I couldn’t understand why her eyes would light up as she logged onto Instagram, or why she would sneakily browse through fashion websites during class. She didn’t understand why I put in so much effort in my work. But at the same time, she desired to preserve our friendship.

She would tag along with me as I strolled around campus, “Why are you walking alone?” She would fill in the silence with aimless chatter, and wander out of her comfort zone because she knew I enjoyed this particular activity. Honestly, it was annoying at times, but I appreciated the thought.

I did not reciprocate.

I realize now that she’s moved on, forged deeper connections with others. Yet, she has hesitated to cement them. I guess it’s not only my problem; everyone has trouble finding the Friend, the one that will understand everything unsaid.

I had a Friend in middle school. Dirty blonde hair, chopped into a ragged bob, piercing blue eyes. We clicked, knew each other like we knew ourselves. I didn’t mind that she was bossy at times, or that she judged with sweeping generalizations. She didn’t mind my indecisive contemplating or my immense ambition.

We knew what we wanted. We wanted to become more than those vapid girls at school; we wanted to break free of our small town, with its picturesque homes.

We wanted to fly.

In the end, her father clipped her wings. She had to move away because of his job. Soon after, I was given the opportunity to fly alone.

But I don’t want to, I say; what is flying if I can’t enjoy the breathtaking sunset with someone else?

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