Everyone has a best friend, someone that they do everything with. Whether it is a mother, sibling, friend from school, or close neighbor, this person turns the black and white of reality into color. For me, it was my best friend. The Fourth of July of 2008 was the day I met my best friend, Chelsea Peterson. Standing behind the muddy blue jeans of her mother, she timidly looked at me with big blue eyes. When I saw her, I knew that she and I would be kindred spirits. However, I had no idea how close we would become and how much I would really need her.
We immediately bonded over our mutual love of art and drawing. She came over to my house first, where we spent the day playing with dolls and drawing at the table. When I went over to her house, we watched Wizards of Waverly Place on the couch. Then we would run around the cold concrete in her basement with brooms between our legs and twigs in our fists, declaring that we were wizards. We would fight over who got to pretend to be Alex from Wizards of Waverly Place and when neither of us liked the outcome, we would switch games.
I remember standing in her unfinished basement dancing around the computer, trying to keep my toes warm, while her mom spun in the leather swivel chair. The dinosaur computer was opened up to the iTunes website; the cursor hovered over Selena Gomez’s newest album, Kiss and Tell. Since my mom wasn’t there to buy the album for me, I listened to the sample of the song “Tell me Something I Don’t Know” over and over again. Chelsea stood next to her mom eagerly awaiting the purchase button to be clicked. Anxious to convince my mom that the album was something that I absolutely needed, I waited by the window for my car to show up. The second my mom pulled in their driveway to pick me up, I was out the door and in the front seat. I bounced up and down and pleaded that we go straight to Walmart for the CD. Reluctantly, my mom agreed to keep her eyes out for the disc.
My mom came home from work with a plastic case in her hand and a grin on her face. It was the CD! I was Ralphie when he finally got his Red Ryder BB gun, completely taken by surprise and giddy. Careful not to scratch the disc, I slid the disc into the stereo.
Chelsea and I had danced to that album over and over, never getting sick of the repetitive beat and lyrics we had yet to understand. We rarely went anywhere without listening to the songs, we would rock out in each other’s rooms, crank the volume up in the car, and listen to it while we drew pictures of what we wanted to be. One night when we were riding in the car, Chelsea challenged me to a singing competition. Whoever sounded the most like Selena Gomez wins. I had never laughed as hard as I had that night, but for the record I won.
About two years later, her dad finished his doctorate at UNH and she announced that she was leaving. It should not have been a surprise to me, but that still doesn’t change the fact that I felt like I had been punched in the gut. We tried to make the most of our last few weeks together and that of course consisted of listening to Kiss and Tell. I thought it would help, but it made it even harder when she left.
That was it, she was gone, never to come back. She broke me. She had left me to fend for myself in this cruel world that we live in. I was reminded of the lines from “Kiss and Tell”, “Say we're friends until the end, yeah, but you don't mean it” and “Falling Down”, “Where are your friends now, baby? All of the ones supposed to be there for you”. I missed her and was too scared to call. I was worried that she didn’t miss me and that she already had a new BFF. Whenever I considered calling a line from “I don’t miss you at all”, played through my head, “It's like you never existed And I hope you don't call I don't miss you at all” I was scared that friendship had boundaries and that I was out of range.
The whole reason I wanted to be just like her was because I was afraid that I did not really mean as much to her as she did to me. I was like one of her trends and that once I was out of style I would be thrown away. I didn’t want to be last season’s fad- old and boring. Friendship is not a temporary morale booster.
I had invested too much in a dead-end friendship; I was the one doing the work and she was the one who left me. She was the boss and I had just received my pink slip. The friendship was going in a new direction, one that I would not be part of. My severance package was filled with empty promises, memories, an email address, and Selena Gomez’s album Kiss and Tell.
Just as dandelions in the spring, I found new beginnings and a fresh start. One day while I was at church, I sat next to the empty seat that used to be filled by Chelsea. When I looked up, a girl that I did not know sat down. She smiled at me as we chatted with one another. While we were chattering and giggling she mentioned that her favorite singer was Selena Gomez. I automatically lit up, “You like Selena Gomez, too?” I asked surprised.
“Yes, I LOVE her,” she replied.
From the other side of the room I heard one of the other girls ask, “Are you guys talking about Selena Gomez?” We both nodded.
“I love her too!” the girl in the corner said.
It was at that moment that I realized that I was wrong. The last gift that Chelsea had given to me was not “Kiss and Tell,” it was my new friends that I met after she left!