Eighth Grade

March 1, 2008
By Kathryn Marrinan, Hyde Park, NY

Eighth grade was probably the worst year of my life. The ironic thing is that I was looking forward to it.
It was supposed to be the best year ever, the year I’d rule the school. I had a new best friend that I was attached at the hip with and we planned on marching around the hallways with each other at our sides. Bright smiles. Laughter. We would be the example of true happiness. That was the plan, but it didn’t happen that way at all.

The beginning started out as what I’d hoped it would be. We had half our classes together and we luckily found a second family in a new group of friends. There was a bunch of us, and we were all as different as could be, but we had fun and were there when we needed each other.

We saw each other grow up that year. We were introduced to true teenage angst and that’s when things started to get hard. I was learning secrets from some people that I never would have thought would be coming out of their mouths. I was horrified, being a prior Catholic School girl, at the way kids behaved at dances. And I also learned that year what it is like to experience a broken heart.

I loved my best friend. It wasn’t in a romantic way. Of course not. It was a friendship sort of way. She was the first friend I’d had who I poured my heart out to, who I cried to and hugged and who I stayed up with until 4:00 in the morning every weekend. She was my best friend, and I simply couldn’t imagine losing her.

Ok. I’ll admit it. I was obsessed with her. The thing is, I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and I guess this friend was in its path. This is the hardest part to write about, because I’m ashamed of it. I wrote poetry telling her how much her friendship meant to me. I told her I loved her, but she told me she loved me back. Again, not romantically. I leaned my head on her shoulder when we watched a movie, but I thought that was pretty normal. I Instant Messaged her whenever we were both online, but who doesn’t constantly IM their best friend, or call them everyday?

Unfortunately, I guess eventually it became too much for her.

She and I enjoyed hanging out with one of my Catholic School friends and her best friend. They were part of the group we’d all formed, and the four of us hit it off quickly simply because of my Catholic School friend and me. The two of us talked, so naturally our best friends joined in. However, the three of them hit it off even more, and I was thrilled, until they began to leave me out of things.
Soon my friend wasn’t making ANY time for me. She was always having sleepovers with them, without me. When she actually did make time for me, she was either texting or Instant Messaging them, or sometimes she was even on the phone with them. I’d Instant Message them while they were together, and they would tell me outrageous lies just to laugh when I believed them.

Soon they were telling me that I mothered my friend too much. It needed to change. Or I talked about my problems too much and not enough about her’s. It needed to change. This and that needed to change. And I did, indeed, try to change those things.

That Summer wasn’t much better. We were constantly fighting about something, and eventually it came to the point where she told my cousin that I made her uncomfortable. She felt I was treating her like a boyfriend. And looking back on it, I guess I was. I didn’t mean to, and it’s not like I had a crush on her or anything. But that’s how it came across.

We’re not friends anymore. I turn away when I look her in the eyes, and talking to her in person makes me uncomfortable. She symbolizes a painful memory that I wish wasn’t even in my head.
I’m scared to get close to people now. I’m scared I’ll ruin another friendship, that I’ll somehow make someone else uncomfortable, too. I’m humiliated. I’m thoroughly humiliated that the first chance I got at having a close friend like that, I blew it. My friends have tried telling me that it’s not ALL my fault, but it’s hard for me to believe them. I’m in tenth grade now, and this still haunts me.

However hard it was for me to write this story, though, there is a reason that I’ve written down my pain and embarrassment.

I’m happier now. I no longer feel the need to be exactly like her, and I’m starting to figure out who I am. I’ve made so many friends in high school that love me and who have endlessly listened to me whenever I was hurting, especially two of my friends.

They were part of our special, little group, too. They saw me through my worst that year. I have absolutely no idea what my best friend may have told them about me, but what I do know is that they’re still my friends and I love them unconditionally, and they love me, too. When I need them they’re there in a heartbeat, and it’s because of the fact that they were in my past and are still my friends today that I appreciate them in a way that you wouldn’t even believe.

So, in conclusion, I guess that year wasn’t so bad after all. I met my true friends. Forever, they “will be with me like a handprint on my heart.” (Wicked)

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