Friend- Claire

October 17, 2008
By Mariah Smith, Glenwood, WA

Claire didn't look like much to me at first. Sure, she was beautiful, she was abnormally awesome, she had braces with the funny rubber bands. She was a stereotype drama junkie. We first met at CGST, a theatre camp close to my town. We didn't really hit it off until I wrote a poem that she turned into a song. It was then that I first caught a glimpse of Claire's inner beauty.
I thought Claire would be just like any other rich girl. She would have an 'awakening' at CGST, then she would go home and forget about it. I assumed she was a snob, that she was spoiled, and that she didn't care about a lot of things. Just like all the other 13 year olds I knew. But then we came together. I don't know how it happened, but one day I was just looking at her, and I saw this picture in my mind: The Sistine Chapel as a stained glass house. Inside, there was a 4000 watt light bulb, and it never diminished. There was the essence of Claire inside that house. It wasn't spoken in my mind; my imagination didn't give me any signals that it was Claire's soul I was seeing. But I just knew. I never looked at Claire the same way.
Ouija boards telling her I was in love with her, councilors getting engaged, and the final weekend were all times that Claire stood by me. Given, we were only watching the Ouija board, and the councilors’ engagement included the whole camp. But the final weekend was something else entirely. Claire helped me eat the rest of my snacks, and we talked on her bed. We didn’t talk politics, or religion, or feminism. We just talked about CGST. We talked about the future. What it may hold for us. We connected even deeper than before.
The final day, the last show day, was the point when I knew I would miss Claire the most. Right as our show ended, and CGST ended, I started crying. I was crying through curtain call and crying through undressing. I couldn’t stop myself. I was leaving. I was never coming back (as far as I knew) and I would never see Claire or anyone else again. As tradition goes, we gathered all the camp and sang “Peace and Love” by Blessid Union of Souls. I was howling, literally. I couldn’t keep it in. My head hurt I was crying so hard. Claire held me close, and never let me go. Ironically, those are some lyrics from the song we wrote. When it came time to leave, Claire looked me in the eyes. She was telling me that I would come back, that we would see each other again, and that I would be happy. She never said a word. Through her tears as well as mine, we shared the last month’s happiness, and the last hour’s tears.
After camp, I was a wreck. Claire emailed me and was always there, keeping the connection alive. During Labor Day weekend, I decided to throw a fundraiser to get me back to camp. This eventually fell through the cracks, but it was a wonderful idea. Claire agreed to help me with whatever I needed. Somewhere along the line, I saw the whole picture of what I had only glimpsed at camp. Claire was a splendiferous person. Is a splendiferous person. One night when I was down in the dregs, I was talking to Claire. I told her I was so scared because I would never get enough money to go to CGST, and I would never be happy unless I went back. Claire, being the angel she is, said, “I’ll give you my money.”
Claire never really talked about her family or the money situation, but I knew her family made a lot. More than mine by quadruple. I knew Claire didn’t need to work, but she did so she could buy her own things. When she said I could have her money, I refused. Claire needed her own things, and I would make my own money. I eventually gave in, saying I’d allow her to work and give me odd profits whenever she didn’t need it. Claire took this as, “You can give me all of your money that you make, whenever you make some.”
It wasn’t until Claire started giving me money that I realized she was my guardian angel. I think of all of my camp friends as my guardian angels, but Claire was different. She actually was my angel. I had never felt such a bond, such a friendship, such a love as I did for Claire in that moment. She was God’s gift to me. I would be allowed to go home, strictly because of her benevolence. Not a day goes by that I don’t worry about what I’m doing to Claire. I don’t want to be a burden, but at the same time, I want to go back to camp. I want to see her again.
I look forward to CGST 2009. I know that Claire does too. We are going to be 5 weekers, and we’ll enjoy every second. I can never pay Claire back, and I can never show her how much she means to me. When I told her this, she said, “Just sing me a song at Coffee House. That’s all I want.” Claire and I have agreed to be bunk mates, to buy over $100 worth of food for snacks, and to cherish our meeting each other. I have promised myself that, although no romantic contact WHATSOEVER is allowed at CGST, the second that airport van pulls into the teardrop and she gets out of that car, I’m going to tackle her and smother her with kisses. The Ouija board was right in one respect: We love each other more than anyone could comprehend, and we always will. No matter what element gets in our way, we’ll stick together and survive.

The author's comments:
The acting camp we attend isn't very pricey in comparison to others across the nation, but 6 weeks cost me $2200 with a partial scholarship. Claire is giving me as much money from her babysitting as it takes; she is also playing guitar in various parks around her house, and selling bracelets for my cause.

Similar Articles


This article has 2 comments.

Ms. E. said...
on Dec. 8 2008 at 8:16 pm
Wow, Mariah! This is awesome! The emotional hook in this story is really strong. And that is especially important to help the reader identify with the main character. Keep writing, please! This was a real pleasure to read...very compelling. Ms. E.

<3papayas said...
on Nov. 15 2008 at 4:22 am
This is great. I hope it gets in the magazine. <3


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!