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“Do you want to be my best friend?” asked the childish scrawl on the wide ruled notebook paper, “yes or no.”
The dark haired, dark eyed girl with naturally golden, sun kissed skin quickly drew a circle and passed it back to the author of the note. The author, a blonde haired, brown eyed girl with skin that stubbornly remained lighter than the other girl’s, grinned happily at the circled “yes.” That was it, they were fiends, no, they were best friends. In third grade that was all it took; a simple lopsided circle around a barely legible “yes.”
The friendship of the two small girls grew stronger with each passing day in that elementary school’s third grade class. Soon they were “BFFs” and they started having sleepovers. To an eight-year-old, a sleepover is close to the best thing in the world. They became so frequent, about every moment of their every day was spent with each other, and they loved it. The bond between them bordered on sisters; sisters that loved spending time together and who got along great; best friends forever.
Third grade stretched into fourth, fourth into fifth, and not one other year in elementary school were they ever in the same class again. There were only two classes per each grade, but beyond all their hoping, wishing, praying, and finger-crossing, they were never placed with the same teacher. Was this foreshadowing of what was to become of them? They never even gave it a thought. Of course, they had other friends through the years and in fourth grade in particular, the blonde became very good friends with the new kid. He sat right behind her and they were almost instantly friends. Yet, it always came back to the dark brunette and the blonde. Whether troubles, worries, secrets, or a hilarious story, it always came back to them.
It did not take long for the two best friends to discover the postal system. They thought it was the best thing in the world. It was way better than talking on the phone because words were not the only things that could be sent via mail. Many objects passed through their small community post office over the years. They ranged from sea shells to old candy wrappers and mini stuffed animals to sample perfume. Each letter longer and each envelope filled with crazier stuff than the last. At one point they went through a “who can put the smelliest combination of things together on a napkin and send it through the mail” war. It was so exciting for them to wait for that letter to come, see what prizes were inside, and what their BFF had to say. Many secrets, stories, wishes, hopes, and dreams along with meaningless items that held the meaning of the world for them passed between the half of a mile that separated their homes.
They were so close, they essentially lived each other’s lives, were almost the same person. From an outside point of view, however, they could not have been more different. One was outgoing while the other was shy. One cared about her looks while the other could not have cared less. One liked the then modern music, like boy bands, while the other’s childhood was filled with songs from Disney. One would not go a day without eyeliner while the other did not even know how to put it on. One chased boys while the other learned to play music. One was dark, one light; one was short, one tall. Neither better than the other, just different, and yet together, they were invincible…or so they thought.
Then just like that, they were in middle school. They had always heard that friends grew apart, and sometimes it did not last. Surely after the brunette practically lived with the blonde, went on each other’s family vacations, and after they shared all their secrets, surely it would have to last. They would not even think about it ending any other way.
They held strong through middle school. They tried to hang out as much as they could; they did the social studies fair together, still wrote letters, still slept over. Then the letters grew more serious, came less often, and there was no time to write them. Their days grew busier, sleepovers became rare. The dark brunette attracted one group of friends, a slightly popular group. The blonde drifted to another, filled with band geeks and people who wanted to do their own thing, who did not want to be popular. Still, they stretched toward each other, grasping at the few threads left from the once unbreakable rope that held them together. They even started a scrapbook. Put together a hodgepodge of all their memories. They created boxes to fill with their letters and trinkets that were the remnants of their previous friendship. It was a hard battle and they fought for all they were worth, but it turned out, friendship could not run on memories alone, and memories themselves had no place in high school.
High school struck us hard and the blow made a difference in us both. Unfortunately, the changes it made pushed us further apart. Even my appearance decided to change; my unerringly blonde hair from grade school had grown into a light brown color. I was a different person altogether, and although her looks had not changed, so was my best friend. We put up one last fight, though. I had been in band since the fourth grade; I played the flute, and now, so did my friend. Freshman year, it looked like it was going to work, but then, we eventually stopped talking, even though we saw each other every day in band. The final breaking point happened around the end of sophomore year. Something happened in her life that made her have to drop out of the only thing holding us together.
After that, it was the occasional “hey” in the hallway, a “happy birthday” on the respective days. We grew so far apart; I started to feel awkward when presented with a moment alone with her. What do you say to your BFF when you stop being BFFs? What do you say to someone who used to know all your secrets, and you hers, but whose life is now a mystery? What do you say to someone who hangs out with the completely opposite group of people than you do? I do not know, and I still cannot figure it out. Maybe we were too different to begin with; maybe it was destined to end this way even when I first picked up my pencil to scribble the note that changed our lives. I do not know. The one thing I do know is that if given the opportunity, I would write that note all over again. I would not change the memories of the times we had for the world. I would not change my best friend forever.
As our paths in life grow farther apart, I write you one last letter to let you know that I hope your life is filled with all the happiness you can imagine. I hope it treats you well and you have few sorrows and many joys. Keep your head up and do not let anyone bring you down. Set your goals and dreams high, because I know you are capable of reaching them. All the while, never lose sight of what is most important in life. When you are sad, and feeling alone, remember you are never alone. There is always someone who loves you. In the midst of your success, I will ask of you only one thing. Please do not forget the times we had, the life we shared. In return, I will promise you that if you ever find yourself in need of a friend, just call on me and I will be there.
Your Best Friend Forever