Dear Liz

April 14, 2008
By Kathryn Marrinan, Hyde Park, NY

Dear Liz,

“A friend is someone who knows all your secrets and loves you just the same.” I’ve heard that quote, and I don’t know who said it. But whoever did say it was very wise.

Liz, we go way back, and our parents go back even farther. Our moms met at a library. We’ve heard this story many times. Why my mom was working in a library, I don’t even know. But, hey, maybe it was fate, because this started a legacy.

I remember the first day of pre-school. I was so excited! I had my Mickey Mouse backpack and Bugs Bunny lunch box. I was ready to go! And when we arrived, our parents reunited. Who knew they’d both enroll their daughters in the same Catholic School of all places?

We met that day at recess when you made a funny face and I laughed. It’s so ironic how some things never change, because in the years to come, that’s exactly how it would always be. We’d laugh at the stupid things.

Over the next few years, we had the strangest relationship. If we weren’t partners in crime, punching other kids when they were mean to the other one of us, we were smacking each other. I can’t even remember how many times we made each other cry, and then the next day we’d have a play date. We were both stubborn and we both thought we were right. But somehow we managed to overcome our differences and become best friends.

And, boy, do I have to give you credit. You handled all my Obsessive Compulsive outbursts: all the times I cried because there was a thunderstorm and I was afraid it’d turn into a hurricane and kill me, the times I thought I was sick because I had the tiniest stomachache, and how I always made you wash your hands after we went to the bathroom so you wouldn’t give me some deadly germ. I don’t know how you tolerated me, or why. But you did, and you’re a good person for it. If I were you, I’d probably have killed me by now.

I have to say that the highlight of our friendship was during the fourth and fifth grades. Every Thursday we went to Girl Scouts and goofed around. Ha. We probably never got anything done. And we were such gossipers, too. Then on Friday we had dance class and usually a sleepover. I think we went more to hang out than to dance. I have some of my fondest memories because of those sleepovers. You were quite a trooper, always dealing with me making you act out the story I was currently writing. That’s all we seemed to do. But it seemed so real, so magical. I felt like my stories were coming to life.

Then middle school started. We went to different middle schools and made new friends. You started calling other people, and I started IMing my new friends. Sleepovers were brought to a halt, and “playing pretend” got childish. Two years went by without a single word spoken between us.

And then 8th grade happened. And it was the hardest year of my life. I was forced to grow up. I learned my first life lesson, losing someone you love, when my best friend replaced me. I had to tell the guidance counselor multiple times that my friend was cutting herself. And I learned what a true friend is by learning what a frenemy is. And that’s when I called you and started to cry.

We had crossed paths again. We’re still busy. And we’re still never able to talk and see each other, but I know I still have you there. And when we do see each other, it’s obvious that nothing has changed. So, in the end, Liz, I’m glad I met you. Furthermore, I’m glad you’re still my friend.

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