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Friends Forever? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I guess you could say that Tina and I had always been best friends - right from the beginning of our lives. I couldn't have been more than nine months old when I moved in next door to her, she was almost two. One day not long after, our parents put us down for a nap in the same playpen. From that day on, no one, and I mean no one, could ever come between us. We were the same spirit trapped inside two bodies. We were two peas in a pod.

Tina and I did everything together. We got our first two-wheelers at the same time and learned to ride them. We rode our first school bus together and walked hand-in-hand through the school doors. We played Barbie's together, were in the same Brownie troop, taught each other how to braid our hair, got into trouble, went to our first formal dance together, laughed and cried together. We experienced life together. We were so alike that we could have passed as twins. I would have done anything for her - all she had to do was ask.

We even stayed close after I moved away in second grade. We saw each other almost every weekend. She would catch me up on what was new in her town and I would tell her how strange my new home was. We always tried to make it like I had never left. I was so used to doing everything with her that you can imagine my surprise when one year things didn't quite go my way.

It was Tina's senior year (and my junior year) in high school. All her time was consumed with college applications, interviews, visits to campuses and financial aid forms. Almost every time I saw her, her room was cluttered with information from this or that college. One day she admitted in an exasperated tone, as she shuffled through the various catalogs, "Gosh, Liz, this is such a pain. I can't make up my mind about where to go. I know I want to go away but ..." A shadow of a smile spread on her face, "You know, you are so lucky that you don't have to deal with this yet."

"Yeah," I agreed numbly. But one phrase kept bouncing around in my head: I know I want to go away. Go away? She couldn't leave, what would I do without her? I'd be lost. I swallowed my panic and helped her leaf through the material because I wanted her to know I supported her, but I was so sad. I didn't want to lose my very best friend.

The year went on and Tina kept researching colleges. I never confronted her with how I felt. I was too afraid that I would burst into tears. I was also afraid I was overreacting, that maybe it wasn't as bad as it seemed. I wondered how she felt though. Did she think what it would be like without me? Or did she just focus on her future at school? Anyhow, I never let on how I felt. I just gave her my honest advice (when she asked) and tried my best to support her decisions.There wasn't any more I could do.

June rolled around and Tina had long since picked her school. I sat in the audience at her graduation feeling both happy and sad. I was glad she had made it this far but I didn't want her to leave. I knew it was getting too close to saying good-bye. But I smiled as she showed me her diploma and I hugged her.

Now as I drive to her house one last time to say goodbye before she leaves for school, a single tear splashes down my cheek, blurring my view. I wipe it away forcefully and struggle to keep the others back. How do you say good-bye to someone you love so much? Why does it have to hurt so much? I wipe my eyes one more time. God, I'm going to miss you, Tina. c


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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