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Sloping gently downwards, the deep green carpet of grass of a hill tickled our feet, warmly embracing our preschool. We stood together on this friendly hill, my three best friends and I, and just were. We didn’t have to worry about school, or making friends, or fitting in, because hey – we already had the best friends in the world. Why would we need to make more? Who needs fitting in when we had amazing friends who accepted our unique personalities? Indeed, those were the days. Our little group was always together, always having fun, always enjoying ourselves. Then preschool ended, one leg of the journey completed, and the times changed; one of my friends moved away. A year or so passed. My other friend moved. Finally, like some sort of unwilling domino, my last friend from our group moved away. The four best friends had broken up, maybe for forever. I was the only still left, the only one who had any connection remaining to the little hill of our preschool.

Even though I have not stood upon that hill for many years, I still remember it. With that memory comes the thought of the four of us: giggling, grinning, seemingly inseparable - the best of friends. I know it was in preschool, a very long time ago for a high school junior like me. It doesn't matter, though; I don’t think I’ll ever forget that hill that represented such good, innocent times.

A few years later, one of my friends moved back, some twenty minutes away from where she lived before. The move renewed our friendship, and we became the best of friends once more. Then, two or so years later, I moved to her town. I thought it would be amazing. We could be even better friends now! Oh, I still remember that feeling. That feeling of hope, excitement, joy. The hope was what ruined it all. I’m sure you know of the utter devastation when life's powerful boots crush the hopes beneath them so mercilessly. When I finally moved in the middle of seventh grade, still quite naïve, I realized life would take a turn for the worse. Being extremely timid and quiet, I sat at a table of girls, but I barely talked. My friend from preschool couldn't sit with me, as she was in a different grade. Utterly miserable, I wondered whether I would ever have any true friends. I made a few acquaintances, but nothing strong enough to last. Eighth grade came, a wisp of air in the breeze of existence. Finally, hope came back, crawling out from under those ominous boots: I made a friend. To this day, I am still extremely good friends with her.

Ninth grade. All the anxiety of high school. This year, my preschool friend and I weren’t talking as often, but that was okay. We were still friends. Tenth grade. Things changed between us forever that year. She’s an avid tennis player, and I joined the team to try it. She ignored me most of the time and hung out with the people who were better than me. It hurt, but I moved on. We saw each other in the hallways and barely acknowledged each other, sometimes making eye contact and giving a tight smile.

I rarely thought of that old preschool hill during this period of kind-of-sort-of friendship between us, but when I did, it seemed to me that friendships you think are really strong and made to last, sometimes simply don’t. This year, she is in two of my classes, and we have said maybe six words to each other, if that. It is saddening to think that friendships aren’t strong. However, all is not lost, because friendships do last. They are strong. You just have to find the right people to befriend. The girl who I befriended in eighth grade is one of my best friends now. Complications arise all the time in life. Friendships can be extremely complicated or extremely straightforward. Just remember that when you’re looking up from the bottom of a looming mountain, there will always be a gently sloping hill with a deep green carpet of grass tickling your feet on the other side, waiting patiently for you with a soft smile.





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