Always in Heart

Do you know who your friends are? I bet the familiar faces of those you eat lunch with or occasionally see on weekends come to mind, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about your real friends. Individuals who are there laughing with you through the joyous times, and endure the rough spots that you’re presented with are the ones that matter. You’ll have a gut feeling that these figures in your life are loyal, trustworthy, supportive, kind, loving, and the kind of people you want to share yourself with. You begin to trust that true friends will never abandon you. Now that you have had a chance to rearrange your thoughts, let me rephrase my initial question. Do you know who your true friends are?

A friendship can be tested in a multitude of ways. Going through hard times with people you assume are close to you can help you realize if the relationship is legitimate. Loyal friends will not give up on you. Often, you need to take the time to analyze the connections you have with people to make sure they are what you expect them. Having good friends in your life is really important and helps you overcome the challenges you will face. It was essential for me to have learned these lessons early on in my life when I was faced with a common obstacle involving a friendship.

The story of this particular friendship began as two second grade girls playing with each other on the playground, but has grown into more. I am certain Tessa and I will cling to our friendship in the midst of our hectic lives ahead of us. She has always been the one I could go to if I needed to talk. Knowing we can talk nonsensically for hours or have meaningful discussions about serious topics in our lives says speaks volumes about our relationship. It’s understood that if needed, we can exhale our emotions back and forth. We respect each other’s feelings and I know she will listen if I need to get something off my mind. With Tessa, I have no fear of being judged. I know nothing I say will change our friendship and her feelings about me as a person. We have a comfortable type of bond where we can both be ourselves more than we can with any other person.

The alliance we share grew stronger as we entered middle school and faced the terrors of it together. Little did we know, we were about to be separated. I’ll never forget the day on the way to third period when Tessa came to our typical meeting spot and said “Lydia, I’m moving to Alabama.” Thinking she was joking, at first I replied laughing, “Good one, Tessa! I almost believed you!” It wasn’t until I noticed the tears building up in her eyes that I realized this wasn’t a practical joke, it was real. The boxes, the moving van, and their vacant house just down the street from mine were also real. Fairhope, Alabama is twelve hours and twenty-four minutes away from my house, which is unbearable compared to the three minutes it usually takes to visit each other. Knowing this was going to be a drastic change, the two of us have made sure not to drift apart.

Missing my best friend soon after she had gone, I hastily addressed an envelope and sent her a hand written letter. She called me standing staring in her mailbox at the sight of the snail mail. After she eagerly tore the seal of the envelope, we decided to write back and forth. Almost two years have passed since that first letter. Still, the presence of a new letter with my name on it and Tessa’s name in the return address puts a smile on my face. Our letters are special to us due to the lack of time we spend with each other. There are occasional visits during the year and hopefully long ones during the summer, but we definitely don’t have the standard best friend time we would like to.

We have learned to cherish the times we spend together and know that we will see each other soon. When we have the opportunity to reconnect it seems as if we were never apart. All our inside jokes and old, goofy memories are still has hilarious as ever. I have discovered through this experience that true friends will always be there. Even though we tear up when it’s time to leave, we know we’re not saying “Goodbye” we have decided to say “See you soon”.

Maintaining this relationship with Tessa in my life has taught me to value true friendship. After discovering the qualities of a good friend, I can distinguish the difference between whom I should keep close to me and whom I should distance. This is valuable information I will carry with me throughout my life to remember I should surround myself with the right people who will support and love me through anything life throws our way. The treacherous situation I faced with my best friend showed me that your true friends are always close to you, maybe not in distance, but always in heart. This, I believe.





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