It was one of the biggest storms of the summer. Thunder and lightning shook the walls of our old, worn out double wide. The power was out. Our home was dimly lit by candles scattered around and one large kerosene lantern in the center of our kitchen. It was hot and muggy. There was nothing I wanted more than the company of my best friend.
Dylan and I were such different people. I, an outgoing, boisterous 13 year old girl. Dylan, a shy and contained 14 year old boy. Despite our many differences, we connected. He was one of the only people who I felt completely confident in telling my secrets and struggles to. And somehow, regardless of the circumstances, our conversations always ended with him telling me “everything is going to work out perfectly”. He was always checking on me, always making me laugh. No matter what kind of day he was having, he always listened to my problems and insisted that my struggles mattered to him.
That summer, it was rare for Dylan to have a really good day. At only 14 years old, Dylan’s summer break consisted of trips back and forth to Dallas to stay with his mom at the hospital. Mrs. Teresa was battling cancer and had been since before Dylan and I ever became friends. I didn’t know Dylan when his mother was diagnosed, something that I eventually got the chance to change. I didn’t know his mom that well either, something I often wish I could’ve changed.
The night of the storm, Dylan and I made the best out of the time we had to spend with each other. We played hide and seek in the dark and listened to music. We put on crazy headbands and took way too many selfies for our own good. By the end of the night, I didn’t think I had ever laughed so much. When it started getting late, we sat in the living room and waited for his dad to come pick him up. As we were sitting there, in the light of the kerosene lantern, I started thinking about all of the things that must be have been running through my best friend’s mind at this point in his life. He was scared, I’m sure, but he didn’t let it show. As I was pondering the abundance of questions in my head, my attention was caught by my mom’s antique kerosene lantern falling to the floor and breaking into a million shards of glass. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized the actuality of the pain Dylan was experiencing. It wasn’t until that moment, that I realized the lantern and Dylan were so much a like: both fragile and ready to break at any moment. However, that night, I did find one distinct difference between my best friend and the lantern. One small nudge was too much for the lantern, causing it to fall and break, right before our eyes. The light that it once radiated was gone forever, once it fell. Dylan, on the other hand, was doing everything within his power to defend against breaking in front of me, or anyone else. His light never dulled, even after he was broken.