The Girl in the Umbrella Hat

By , Amery, WI

“I suppose you think I look weird huh?” was the first thing I said to the girl in the street in front of me, that soon became my best friend. 


About 6 years ago when I was just a weird little home schooled girl from Frederic, I spent a lot of time at my dad’s apartment. I was so close with my dad back then, I loved being at his house more than being at my own. Him and I did lots together. What we usually did was go on bike rides through the woods, or go to the park and swing. 


On one of those days my dad and I were supposed to go to the park, my dad decided to have me try on this rainbow umbrella hat that he had gotten from one of his neighbors. Of course, since back then I was about 11 years old and full of wonders, I was more than happy to try on the hat. I even decided to take it for a test ride outside before we went to the park. Most people would probably think that going outside with such a ridiculous hat on was a big mistake. But doing that one embarrassing thing, brought my best friend, Hope, into my life. 


She was sitting on her bike, just staring at me. I didn’t notice her at first, but then I turned around and noticed her looking at me like I was crazy. “I suppose you think I look weird huh?” is what I asked her as I started walking towards her. 


“Maybe just a little.” she responded with a laugh.


Just after those few exchanges of words, I knew just by the way she smiled, that we had a chance of starting a new friendship. So, I ran back inside, took off the hat, and rushed back outside to go and play with her at her house just across the street. My dad was okay with me spending time with Hope instead of going to the park with him. He was just glad I was making new friends. He decided he was going to just take a nap while I played with Hope for a while.  


Hope and I had so much fun that day. It was the weirdest thing. We barely knew each other, yet we were so comfortable spending time together. There was no awkwardness when we spoke to each other. Nor was there any awkwardness when we weren't talking. It seemed like we had lots to talk about; and it was as if we already knew so much about one another. 


We would climb the same certain tree, off to the side of her porch in the front yard, every time we were at her house. It was like our sanctuary. That tree was one of the most perfect trees I had ever climbed. It had these nice thick branches that were spread apart perfectly for you to climb, and so many green leaves that hid you when you climbed high enough. That tree was the perfect place for Hope and I. It was where we went whenever we had something to talk about. Whether it was about boys, our family drama, friends, or just something random; that was our very own special place. Every time we climbed up there, we would try and see who could climb the highest. It was always me. Hope was too scared to climb up high. But after a while, I helped her get over her fear by having her climb one branch higher every day; and she ended up climbing just as high as I could. 


That was just something we did for each other. We helped each other conquer our fears. I helped Hope get over her fear of climbing up high, and she helped me get over my fear of riding down this steep hill in the yard by my dad’s apartment. I would tell her, "No Hope, I can't. It's too steep!" 


"Kali, if I can do it just fine every time, so can you. Come on, you can just walk down the hill with your bike first if you really want to." Is what she would say back to me.


  Although, there is one fear we will never conquer, and that is the fear of spiders. That’s beside the point though; basically Hope and I did so much for each other. We were always there for one another. Through the good times and the bad. It didn’t matter what the other was doing, we would drop everything just to help one another out. And that is something important for a person to have. It’s important to have someone in your life that will always be there for you when things are getting rough. And for me, that person was Hope.


We spent almost every day together. It was like we couldn’t be apart from one another. In the Summer we would go to the park and play in the playground, go swimming in Siren, spend nights at each other’s houses and watch movies, or climb our special tree in her yard. In the winter we would go sledding down a hill down the street from my house, skate on the lake like we were figure skaters, or have snow ball fights. We had lots of fun together, and I miss it; I miss it a lot.


Hope moved to a different school when I was going into 8th grade, and she was becoming a freshman in high school. We stayed in touch, and hung out a lot over the summer. But after a while, Hope began to change. Her new school was changing her, but not in a good way. She started dating a guy that wasn’t a very good influence on her. She started hanging around the wrong type of people. She started doing things that weren’t the greatest. As we drifted apart, I started to miss everything that we used to do together. I missed climbing that same tree in her yard every day, and talking about our lives. I also started to feel bad for her. 


Hope never had the greatest family or living situation. Her mom died when she was just a little girl and she missed her a lot; and her dad wasn’t a very good influence. It was really hard to see her living like that. It was also really hard to lose someone I used to be so close with. It was hard because… I always wanted to be there for her when she was having family issues, or just needed a shoulder to cry on. She was someone I used to be able to tell everything, and just like that, she became a stranger.


Losing someone that was once your second half, hurts. It made me realize that it is true when people with the same experience say, “losing a best friend, hurts far more than losing a boyfriend”. The reason it hurt so bad, was because I thought we were going to be the type of friends that would never drift apart. Even though during this day and age, in a world like ours, it’s unlikely for friends to stay in touch after high school. Throughout your life time, you lose so many people that it is hard to keep count. But when you lose someone, you still have the memories. You still have the memories that you will be able to cherish forever. 


Doing something absolutely crazy, and sometimes embarrassing, can end up doing amazing things for you. Like back to that day when I wore that silly umbrella hat, I met an amazing person. If I hadn’t done that one embarrassing thing, on that certain day, Hope and I wouldn’t have become such great friends. I wouldn’t have been able to meet a person, that would positively impact my life. So, don’t ever back out of something just because you think you will look ridiculous. Amazing things come out of almost everything, and if you skip out on doing things like that, you won’t be able to experience the life-changing event that comes out of it. Whether it is making a new friend, or learning something about yourself you never knew before, just live your life to the fullest, and do everything that you can; because you only live once. And if you want to live your life right, you want to have the best kind of people in your life. Whether they stay there forever, or they are only temporary. Either way, you’ll appreciate it. You will remember them, and the memories you made together, forever.






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