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The Way Things Were This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I remember when you were awkward and shy. You wore t-shirts with corny sayings and argyle socks. My friends would stare at you like you were from outer space, but you never seemed to notice. I saw it all. I saw the way they judged you from the minute you stepped into our classroom. Raised eyebrows and dirty looks darted at your innocent face. It was tempting to go along with them, but there was something about you that was almost magical. I knew there was something behind your wild red hair and ridiculous clothing, something pure and carefree. The others sneered at your sushi lunches, while I gawked in admiration. I had never eaten sushi. What amazed me most was how you stayed true to yourself. Even though I barely knew you, your values inspired me. I admired you from afar, until that fateful day.

We met at Pet Palace on a rainy Saturday. We smiled and started talking. You told me you were buying crickets to feed your iguana, and I told you I was contemplating buying a fish. We hit it off and planned to get together the next week.

Our friendship flourished. There was something that distinguished it from the others. Maybe it was the way we could talk for hours without getting bored, or try new things like tap dancing without worrying about looking stupid. It was refreshing to hang out with someone who wasn’t high maintenance. You were different. Your vivacious spirit encouraged me to be myself and set loose the weirdness within. You were special.

We became the best of friends. We shared secrets and spent time together every weekend. Years filled with laughter and friendship flew by faster than we could keep up with. Little by little, we noticed things were different. We weren’t spending as much time together. You stopped playing basketball. I didn’t approve when you dyed your bright red hair midnight black.

We still enjoyed each other, but something was missing. Neither of us could do anything to stop it, so unwillingly, we let the power of time pull us apart and ravage our once-vibrant friendship.

Although we’re still friends, we can’t ignore that times have changed. It seems that everywhere we go, there are reminders of our past - sushi, bright red hair and argyle socks will never be erased from my memory. There is still that little bit of weirdness lurking in the bottom of my heart that only you can identify with. We both struggle now to hold onto the past, and at the same time, try to dive headfirst into the future. We’re older now and have to learn to move on. How to cherish the past and at the same time move on to the future is a lesson I may never master.

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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