The worst feeling is not knowing something is going away until it’s gone, and it’s impossible to get back.
Ever since I can remember, we had been inseparable, practically sisters. Jenna and I were dancing the choreography we just made up ten minutes before. We were just crazy dancing in her living room, just letting all of our problems fade away. Together at one of our houses for the billionth time, giving each other makeovers, and playing games with her little sister. Our endless, hilarious text conversations we’d have each night were my favorite things. Most of the time we would just send videos of us saying and doing things back and forth for hours. It would always brighten my day.
I would go to kindergarten with Jenna everyday, singing as loud as we can in the car. Every time we got to one specific point in our favorite song where the “you” was held out, I would always try to point to her with my too-big, soft, blue mittens on, and we would crack up laughing. Jenna and I would play in the sandbox with our friends during recess when we were around 5 years old. Playing pretend and our random, pointless games. In kindergarten, we did the play, 101 Dalmatians with a script that our class had tweaked. She played Cruella Deville and I played one of the dalmatians. We performed it at a multipurpose building for our parents, and it was as good as a kindergarten play could get. Not very good, but hilarious and we all had a blast.
We had typical best friend fights during kindergarten, me taking the last girl doll out of the bucket and her trying to boss me around, but we were still as close as two little kids could get. It was me and Jenna against the world.
On the days we had dance, we would get dressed into our leotards after kindergarten and go to the studio together. We had dance at Footnotes together with a couple other people a few days a week. Dance class with Ms. Lily and my friends was so much fun. The best time during class was when Ms. Lily would bring the costumes in. Then we would get to try them on and put on a little fashion show for our parents. Footnotes moved buildings a couple times and we followed them, but after it moved again, we both were done with it. I only did dance for five years, but Jenna continued and took Irish Step at a different dance academy.
We also went to Portsmouth School of Ballet together when we were really young. I can remember our musical theater dance class with more of our closer friends. Learning the choreography the instructors made up for the song, “Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat,” from the Broadway musical, Cats. The class would take turns singing one line while everyone was doing the dance moves. Jenna and I really enjoyed that class.
We would get to spend a lot of time together. For example, our brothers would have baseball at the Exeter Rec. so Jenna and I would always get to play at Planet Playground. We would go to the swingsets and the green, horizontal tubes meant for climbing through, and just sit in there and sing songs.
Sheer joy filled the both of us when we found out we were in the same first grade class. Being together in school for another whole year was more than anything we could have wished for. Jenna and I made so many amazing memories and somehow got even closer. We would always sit together as the teacher read Curious George to the class everyday. She had a fun obsession with monkeys.
Everyday in first grade, right when our parents dropped us off, we would get to go to the playground and play with our friends until we had to go in and start school. Jenna and I would always play together or with friends, but we were always playing with each other.
We weren’t in the same second grade class, but things were still great between us. We would play together at recess and sit together at lunch, just being our silly selves. On days when it was nice outside, the teachers let us eat lunch outside, near the fence, on what we called the hot top. It was a big, paved area with basketball hoops and hopscotch. Jenna and I would always sit together during lunch whether it was inside or outside. The school split the gym in half, one side for the gym and one side for the cafeteria, so during lunch, it would always smell like a mix of a sweaty gym and cafeteria food. It wasn’t always the most pleasant smell, but we were happy as long as we were together.
Until we weren’t.
The summer before third grade, she switched schools. I did the typical Exeter step-up from Main Street School to Lincoln Street School, while she transferred to Sacred Heart. So of course, Jenna and I didn’t see each other nearly as much as we did before.
One day in third grade, when the teacher said that there was a new student, my little third grade heart wished on every star that it was Jenna. Even though I knew that it wasn't.
Throughout the years, my classes have had plenty of new students, but each time, I doubted more and more that it was her, and no matter how hard I hoped, my wish never came true. I knew I was going to miss her and the sound of her laughter, which would make me laugh harder, which would make her laugh harder. But I had to face the facts and accept that she was staying where she was and I just had to learn to live without her.
However hard that was going to be.
Jenna and I still saw each other during the summer, so we weren’t completely separated, but it wasn't the same without her by my side all day, everyday. We went over to each other's houses, went places together, and texted each other. On one summer night, her family and my family saw an outdoor movie together at Swasey Parkway. We sat in the bright green grass as they projected the classic movie onto the giant screen under the orange, setting sun. So, we still got together, but it was getting less and less often.
I don’t remember exactly the last time we saw each other because I didn't know it was the last time. If I had known, then I would have cherished every second with her.
But it turns out, what seems to be the ending, isn’t always at the end.
It was freshmen orientation day, a couple days before school started when we went through our schedules, trying to figure out where in the world we were supposed to go. I was already in front of the door to my classroom with a couple other people when I saw Jenna for the first time in a crazy amount of years. I had seen her earlier that day, but didn’t recognize her at the time. She turned the corner to the same hallway I was in, and was headed for the back of the hall where my room was. Then she stopped at her class. Which was also my class.
We hadn’t been together in a class in eight years, so it was a little strange to think that we had a class together again.
I see her everyday during third period, but it’s only one period in the day, so not that much. I still see her more often than I did for the past handful of years, so something is better than nothing. We obviously aren’t as close as we were before, she has her group of friends and I have mine, so things are going to need a little getting used to for the both of us, but still, I’m glad we found each other.
Things are different now. I’m into music and she’s super sporty. I can just picture it, me and her walking down the main hallway of the high school, towards the auditorium. Then I would take a left into the band hallway, and Jenna would take a right to the gym hallway.
Things are different now. But even if we hadn’t met up after so many years, I will always have the memories of me and her. Against the world.
I remember and I will never forget.