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A Friendship of Summers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I carefully balance the lemonade in one hand and drag the cumbersome metal lawn chair with my other. We heave the chairs across the lawn toward the flagpole, mine flipping around like a fish. We position them close to the pole, putting our feet up. The cold of the pole balances the warmth of the evening. We sip our lemonade and talk about everything: school, driving, parents, guys and the future. This is our friendship, a flower that blooms every June and closes with the end of camp the first week of July.

Camp has always been a second home for me, and Rachel has always been my second sister. She's been my best friend since I first went to camp after second grade. I think our friendship began with my fascination with the headgear she wore for her teeth.

"Does it hurt?" I asked.

"Yeah, like crazy," she'd replied. The fire of friendship had been lit, and over the next seven summers it survived the Spice girls, psychotic counselors who tossed out anything left on the floor, dysfunctional cabin mates who threw hairbrushes across the room, the 2000 Presidential election (we are both firm Democrats), our camp's move from its home of over 70 years to a seemingly barren location on a creek (our tent flooded the first year at the new site), chorus tryouts and rejections, my new brother, her parents' divorce, her experiences with drugs, and my cookie addiction.

Rachel is what makes camp fun. Rachel is what makes me return every summer and come home with a lifetime of memories. When you think about it, it's pretty amazing that we get along so well, since character-wise we are opposites. I am quiet and shy while Rachel is loud and pretty crazy; I keep everything neat and orderly while Rachel throws everything into a pile under the covers of her poorly made bunk. Rachel doesn't care about school, while if I make a B I feel I have failed. But, despite our differences, when I talk to her, I'm talking to my best friend and sister.

I can tell Rachel anything and not feel embarrassed or judged or stupid. You can always tell your best friends from your regular friends: when you tell your friends about a problem, they give you advice, but your best friend will listen. What Rachel does for me, I do for her, and this balance of listening and talking are what make our friendship so ideal.

I think we are also balances in good and bad. I drag Rachel to baby-sit the six-year-olds; she drags me back to the cabin and we skip team drawings.

Rachel has also developed a sister-like ability to know when I am upset, and I can always tell when something is bothering her. It is pretty safe to say we are soul twins. Whether it's racing me down the slide or helping me organize our "fake" camp-out when we didn't get into the camp craft club, Rachel has always been there for me and I know that she is the truest of true friends.

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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