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My Best Enemy
We were in sixth grade, standing on the outskirts of desks, in Ms. Swenson’s class. I heard my name called, and Ms. Swenson pointed to a desk, one of two, which were positioned next to one another. As every student does in school, no matter what grade, I hoped that I would have one of my friends assigned as my desk buddy. When I saw Ms. Swenson walk towards a girl that I hardly knew, coaxing her my way, saying, “Alicia, you sit here,” my heart sank. I was placed next to a girl that I didn’t know, and one that I already decided wasn’t going to be any friend of mine. I sat down, not giving her one glance. The end of the period came, not quite soon enough. When that bell did ring, I felt relieved; my day would no longer include her, Alicia, my new reading partner. But as I walked into my next class, I almost dropped my books when I saw her, once again, standing on the outskirts of desks. I honestly didn’t know what to believe, and I could immediately tell that she was thinking the same thing. How in heck can this happen twice?!
Again, we were magically assigned desks next to one another, this time, in rows. As she looked towards the teacher, I glanced to her, and for the first time I realized that she had freckles, and green eyes. I also realized that she had the perfect smile. I was disgusted; she was prettier than I was. I looked away quickly, trying to convince myself that there was no reason why I should think that she was prettier than me.
When the seventh hour bell rang, I left my Social Studies class feeling jealous, but slightly curios as to who she really was, this Alicia who seemed to stalk my life. I walked into Ms. Swenson’s class, again, this time for reading. And it was as if I had already lived this scene. There she was, sitting in the same desk that she had been assigned to, in English, the one next to me. Ms. Swenson pranced over to me, excitedly as I had so far seen out of my short statured reading and English teacher, and as she pranced excitedly, she told me that I would have the same spot in English, as I did reading. All I could think to myself was, really?
Although, I can remember that day, as clear as if I were writing the moments as they occurred, it’s impossible for me to remember the day that Alicia and I actually spoke to one another. But to me, that really doesn’t matter. The point is that we did. And from that day that we spoke, we couldn’t stop. We talked constantly in class, helping one another with assignments, making sure we both got straight A’s, in the three classes that we had together. We ended our day together, complaining about everything that may have went wrong, and laughing about the new teacher we had for Social Studies.
As time went on, I told her of my secrets, the ones that I kept in that deep, dark place; the secrets that I chose to keep from everyone. Some how, those secrets came to the surface so easily with her, as if I were telling her what I ate for lunch. And as funny as it may seem, she too, had that easiness with me. It wasn’t long before we were at each other’s houses, swapping shirts and stories. And as we grew up, our schedules changed, along with our lives. Neither of us ever seemed to have a moment of peace; either one of my siblings were in jail, or her mom and step dad were violently fighting. We had our equal share of calls, frantically waiting for the other to answer, as we cried on the other end.
I can remember the forth of July I spent with her, getting sick, and going home. And I can remember how caring she was about it; the fact that food never sat well with me didn’t scare her, and she never thought that I was purposely binging, to keep my weight at a minimum. She was the only friend who never accused me of having an eating disorder. It was like she knew the truth, some how, without me having to say a word.
We both kept growing, well, she did, I never grew an inch. And finally, my best friend, who was once the shorty, grew inches taller, and surpassed my height by eighth grade. But that didn’t matter; I was still her Peachy, and she was still my Licia. We were known as the sisters from totally different families. We were always together, always there to hold the other up, when they were too close to falling on the floor. And when our lives couldn’t become any more complicated, any more difficult, I found a boyfriend that took me a way from her... A boyfriend that didn’t want to share. And although it was hard for her, this I know, she handled it with far more dignity than I could have. She gave me advice, let me cry to her when things were tough, and she let me tell her those precious moments, that no one else would quite understand. And when things ended and began on a weekly basis, she let me make my choices, and only gave me courage, not advice; I couldn’t have asked for more. Then, when that boy and I finally threw our rocky relationship away, she was waiting there for me, telling me that she knew I was strong enough all along.
But a bad relationship was not enough to strain our friendship, someone, some where in the sky decided that we needed something else to measure our dedication. I can still remember the phone call... And I can still remember how scared I was for her when she told me that her mom’s boyfriend had held her mom down. I can’t count the number of incidents that occurred to her, or the number of times that I wanted to borrow that baseball bat from my dad’s garage, to teach that “man” a lesson. Those moments are blurred in my mind, like an ongoing conversation, one that seems be discussing the same thing, annoyingly, over and over again.
But the day that Alicia told me that her mom was abusing perscription pills and alcohol is the day that I can remember the best. Those words hit me in a deep place, because I knew her pain, I knew the pain of discovering a loved one’s addiction. Although, I felt even more pain for her, pain that she didn’t yet know... The pain of relapse, the pain of absence, the pain of broken promises. I wanted to break down every wall that surrounded me, I wanted to yell to the sky, telling them how wrong they were for giving her this weight upon her already full shoulders.
That pain I already felt for her soon led its course, and reached her heart, as her mother dove down into the depths of addiction. That’s when I hardly got to see my bestfriend. She was always home, always taking care of her two little brothers. She became the mother of the household; that was her new role, not the teenager, but the mother. And because she no longer had a mother figure, my mother took that role. She texted her, gave her those special mom talks, and picked her up from her house when things became too much to handle. I knew that she was thankful for that, you could see it in her eyes.
She lived with me for almost three weeks one summer. And during those three weeks, we had numerous discussions about drugs and alcohol. We talked about them with disgust, wondering why anyone would invent something so terrible. We both promised one another that we wouldn’t make those decisions, that we weren’t going to be another statistic about teens who die from over doses; that wasn’t going to be us. We would survive highschool being the students that studied on Friday nights instead of partying. We would wait until we were of age to drink, and even then, we would keep it to a minimum. We promised each other.
Days passed after those weeks, the weeks in which we had made so many promises to one another, and ourselves. And as those days passed, more things changed. I recieved fewer and fewer texts from Alicia, and even fewer phone calls; and when she would call, we didn’t talk for hours any more, we barely said anything. I didn’t see her for a long time, a really long time. She moved with her dad, who lived hours away. And although it was the last thing she wanted, she was going to be living there permanently, going to a new school. Life crashed for both of us. I didn’t know how I was going to live through my first day of highschool without her, we always planned to do it together; like we used to do everything.
The first day of highschool was lonely and more than that, it was scary. I didn’t have my friend to talk to about the new teachers, or complain to about all the things that went wrong. But that night, from the grace of god, Alicia called me. And the words she spoke were those that I thought I’d never hear. She was coming home, and she would be living with me and her aunt, off and on. All I could think was thank god, I will be okay now.
That feeling didn’t last long though. She came to school, but didn’t look for me. She didn’t sit with me at lunch, nor did she come to see me at my locker. She didn’t ask for my help, and she didn’t want it. I knew what was happening, and although I tried not to believe it, I had to. She found new friends, in the same people that we had both gone to school with for years. And although highschool is all about stepping out, and making new friends, hers weren’t those sort of friends.
We didn’t talk any more. We didn’t look at one another. We practically didn’t know one another any more. She had made a new best friend, and for the longest time, I didn’t know why. For the longest time I couldn’t understand how she was close to a girl that we used to complain about, a girl that we used to say was mean, a girl that had started rumors and caused girls to wish they were no longer alive. And then, one day, a friend made it clear. “She’s her budwiser buddy.”
There are times when I really want to cry, those times when I wish I could pick up my phone and press number two, and the speed dial would call her, just so I could tell her how my day was, or tell her that mom is sick, the mother who took her in for so long. But then I think hard, and remember the facts I had learned from living a life with two troubled children; there is nothing you can do, nothing you can say, the only way they can have help or change, is if they want that help or change. And I find no use in recalling those memories that now hurt, even though I have so many of them.
I hear many rumors, some I believe, some I try not to. But there’s always a part of me that hopes that those rumors are just that, and nothing more. It’s hard to see her in the halls, but it’s easy to look the other way, I know that’s what is easiest for her. I some times wonder if I should have listened to myself back in Ms. Swenson’s classroom, listened to that feeling. I wonder if I knew all along that Alicia was just a temporary person in my life. Some times I say yes, and some times, I tell myself no, even though I really know the truth. And although I always told myself that I would tell her of the wrong she’s doing, if she ever did wrong, I haven’t. I always thought that she would listen, because I was that one person she could listen to, and talk to; but things change, people change.
I’ve kept my promises to her, for her. I have not yet drank nor smoked. And I won’t, ever. I’m keeping those promises for her, so when the day comes that she needs me, I will still be me. I will still be that jealous, curious girl, who is open and honest, just for her. I haven’t forgotten, I don’t think true friendship can be forgotten. I still have those pictures, I still have her letter. And at least now, someone will know. Someone out there may just know how I feel, and maybe, just maybe, they can save their best friend, before they become their best enemy.