Bittersweet Fragrance of Childhood Friends

March 1, 2011
“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” Not many people can say they have a friend like that. One that has been with them for as long as they can remember. I’m not talking about a brother or a sister. I am talking a friend. Fortunately for me, I have Darien. She and I have the best of memories. We have gone hunting for snails, and we have played Harry Potter. We even used to think we were the coolest kids around because I would ride the mule and her the pony, and we felt extremely mature when we learned how to saddle a horse. We have been exploring in woods and swimming in creeks for fun. We have basically done it all. Okay, maybe not, but we intend to. If I had never met my friend Darien, my life would be totally different.

For as long as I can remember, I have been friends with a spectacular individual named Darien Clark. We have been friends for so long; therefore, making it difficult to recollect how we came to be so close. What I do know is that my dad was best friends with her grandpa, Bob. My mom told me that when we lived in South Clinton (a small town in Iowa) many years ago, Bob would often bring her over. Since we were around the same age (with her only being one year older than me, and two years younger than Ciara, my sister) we would play together. I guess we just became friends after that.
When we started to get older, we also started to get closer. All of our time together was packed in with hours of fun and thousands of stories to be told. For instance, I remember when Darien’s parents were building their house by Bob’s, and when they were digging into the land, they dug up a never ending collection of shiny crimson stones. Incidentally they looked just like the sorcerer’s stone, straight out of the Harry Potter movie. So us, with our insane imaginations, pretended that we had to put the stone back together and stop Voldemort. Now, I know that it may seem strange, but in contrast to our childhood hobby of snail hunting it must seem normal. Indeed, we would go into Darien’s horse pasture and collect snails. It was always exciting to find one! Ciara and I would even bring them home with us, despite our mothers protests.

However, I think the one thing that really brought us together was our love for horses. We absolutely adored everything about them. One time, the three of us decided to ride bareback for a trail ride, and everybody called us the bareback girls. But even though horse riding was the thing we did most, we entertained ourselves with other activities. Sometimes when we were at my house during the summer, we would go to the crick in my horse pasture and swim in it. It was not that deep, of course, but the water was nice and cold in contrast to the heat, and the mud was fun to throw at each other.

Clubhouses were another thing we had a knack for doing. At my house, we used to have a huge junkyard. We were the tomboy types as well, and never minded getting dirty. We would go into the aforementioned junkyard and find the most interesting things from little trinkets, to miniature statues, to kid toys. Sometimes we would get lucky, and there would be a couch or chair. We would haul these findings into barns and declare it a clubhouse. One where only us three friends were allowed. None of them lasted long; we would get bored with one and move onto another location in a different barn. In the timespan of three years, we had up to 15 separate places cluttered with our junkyard treasures.

I remember how Darien, Ciara, Kassyde (Bob’s daughter), and I would spend hours and hours swimming in Bob’s big in ground pool. We would swim all day and get bored by nightfall. When our parents showed signs of staying for hours more, we had to find ways to keep ourselves from getting bored. That is when we started playing kick the can. It is such an interesting game: a combination of kick ball, hide ‘n seek, and tag. That’s just how we were when we were children. Doing silly things with our silly friends.

Now that we are all grown up, long past our days of junkyards, clubhouses, and make believe, we have both gone our separate paths. They say that nothing lasts forever, and while that may be true for Darien and mine childhood times, I cannot say the same for our friendship in general. Though we only hang out moderately anymore, those few days are always ringing with laughter, and we part with a handful of memories. Being with one another physically is not everything in a friendship. Because we always have phone calls and text each other constantly, we’re still best buddies.

“Even though we've changed and we're all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends.” Even though we’re totally different, you cannot erase time, and time has brought me and my friend Darien together. We’ve been through so much. From silly arguments over who gets to sit in the middle of the truck, to dealing with her grandpa’s drug addiction together, I know that it’s just that start of our friendship. I’m sure we’ll have more good time to come, and many more obstacles to go through. If I had never met my friend Darien, my life would be totally different.

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