The Two Of Us This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I was just a little girl with blonde pigtails and skinned knees when I met him. We didn't get along at first. He teased me, yelled at me, threw things at me and we fought constantly. But somehow, in the midst of all the fighting, he became my best friend and I could think of no one I would rather be climbing trees or collecting grasshoppers with.

Now it's seven years later and the pigtails and skinned knees are long gone, but our friendship is stronger now than I ever imagined. Somewhere we began changing, physically and emotionally, and before long, we were inseparable. We discovered each other, matured together, loved, and depended on each other. We needed each other - the world could go crazy, but we could handle it if we were together. For years, the two of us continued to share everything in our lives - or so I thought.

Sitting on my couch one day last summer, we began talking about how wonderful our relationship was and how we could still share everything and never worry or be nervous around each other. Suddenly, there was a stony silence. I looked into his eyes and saw that they were watering. We'd been friends for seven years and I had never seen him cry. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I sat up, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath, trying desperately not to make him uncomfortable. I let out my breath and again looked at him. He sat looking down for several seconds before looking at me. When he did, a single tear trickled down his suntanned cheek. I felt my own eyes begin to water. He quickly wiped away the tear, but it was too late. He rested his head on my lap and began to cry while I held him tightly. After several minutes, he looked directly into my eyes and cried that be was being abused by his stepfather and he couldn't take it anymore. If he didn't tell someone, he would do something drastic.

I sat stunned for a few minutes just looking at him. I couldn't believe what he had said, yet looking at him, I knew it was true. I gasped. I had been so close to him and had not realized that he was being abused - physically, emotionally, and sexually. I was suddenly overcome by a sickness that I realized he must have been feeling for years. I then promised myself that I would try to help him. I knew I couldn't give him everything he needed, but I could give him support and encouragement to get help.

We talked through that entire night. I gave him all the advice I could. I stayed with him, helped him contact professionals, and held his hand as he confronted his mother. The problem is still not completely solved, but he is no longer being abused and is getting help. After everything that has happened, he is still my best friend. Although I still feel sick when I think about all he went through, I breathe a sigh of relief when I realize how much he trusted me and smile when I think that it was I who helped him begin his recovery. fl

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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