The entirety of November had been crushing for me, leaving a constantly heavy burden on my shoulders and an irremovable weight on my chest that nearly suffocated me at every waking moment of my now pitiful excuse for existence. All of these feelings were a given, considering the circumstances that had caused this terrible relapse within me; one of my closest friends had inexcusably lied to me and dismantled whatever pitiful self-esteem he had helped me garner over the course of several years. Anyone in my shoes would have been in a similar state of distress, but this untimely fate, fortunately, was not how the year would end for me.
December soon came and so did exams, yet I managed to survive through them. Of course, my depression only continued to worsen the longer I was given time to think about everything that had gone wrong, the blame always finding a way to place itself on my own shoulders.
Though I would not realize my stroke of luck until later, my entire mindset changed the day I was invited to attend a Christmas party. The party itself was hosted by one of my friends and fellow zoo volunteers, Sam, and she was more than insistent that I came to her party. Deciding that I could use some socialization to at least temporarily relieve my distraught state, I agreed. The party took place in Kenner, where I was among the first to arrive. Sam immediately pulled me into the pool table room, where we proceeded to play pool without any cues to aid us. For the first time in two months, I actually laughed. As we stood in the only room without air conditioning, rolling pool balls across the table with a vengeance as sweat covered our foreheads, joy truly filled my chest and only inflated the ever-bright smile now on my lips. Others soon began to arrive at the party, allowing our game to become a free for all as we continued to mercilessly roll the colored balls into each other and into the holes of the table. At one point, my pinkie finger got crushed in our game and, seeing that I was out of breath anyway, I momentarily retired to stay in the air conditioning for a little bit to cool down.
As I left the pool room, Sam pointed out that there were drinks and pizza in the kitchen; therefore I readily made my way to the drinks and grabbed a can of Sprite. I was almost immediately cooled down as I popped the lid and drank one of my favorite soft drinks. My friend soon sat beside me, joining me in my soda-drinking endeavors. We began to converse as others joined us, and I got up to get pizza. In doing so, I lost my spot on the couch and instead sat on the floor, still gladly eating my slice. Sam joined me on the floor as the group of guests formed a circle of pizza-eating, soda-sipping, extroverted teens.
The next half hour passed in a blur for me up until the moment my true cure arrived. By that time, I was lying on my back on the floor with my hands behind my head. Sam was awkwardly lying beside me, her side against the bottom of the couch while I was lying beneath the arm of the couch. Her head was resting on my stomach as we continued to converse, a few of the party-goers in the room now in a heated argument over whether or not water was wet. That was right when the front door opened and a newcomer walked in. Her eyes almost immediately landed on me just as I was trying to reach my Sprite, which I almost knocked over in the process.
I saw her smile visibly brighten as she walked over to me. She immediately introduced herself to me in a cheerful voice, “Oh! You must be Maddie! I’ve heard so much about you! My name’s Lauren!”
Of course, I immediately introduced myself in turn, but trying to talk over the noise of everyone else in the room proved difficult. To aid me in my struggle, Lauren crouched down and leaned over me in an attempt to make communication easier for the both of us.
“Do you want a bobsled?” She offered as she raised her hand to brush her hair back behind her ear.
“A what?” Came my curious reply as I raised my eyebrows at her, a happy grin on my face from the strange question.
With that, she handed me a Kit-Kat bar with two candy canes taped to the bottom of the red wrapper. Well, the contraption was certainly a bobsled. I happily thanked her as she sat on the ground right by my head. Sam let out an unhappy grunt as I propped myself up a little to converse with her a little more.
The next few hours passed in a blur for me as Lauren and I continued to interact, two total strangers talking as if they had known each other for years. At one point, one of the girls took out a Dungeons and Dragons kit that she had brought with her to the party. By that time, I was sitting right next to Lauren. Thanks to the sheer number of people on the floor, we had to be squished together in order to fit. The character sheets for the game were distributed, but Lauren and I ended up sharing a character simply because there were not enough characters for everyone to have a sheet of their own. Even Dungeons and Dragons passed by in a blur, with Lauren and I often conversing in whispers to keep from interrupting the Dungeon Master of the game. Of course, the party eventually abandoned the game in favor of talking and goofing off once again. Lauren and I did the same, getting lost in conversation once again.
Never before had I ever been able to talk so easily with a stranger. Unfortunately, time never managed to pass as quickly. Soon, my mother arrived to take me home, but Lauren and I managed to exchange numbers before I left. As I walked out to my mother’s car, I realized that I had made a once-in-a-lifetime kind of friend, the kind that I would hopefully never lose. After meeting Lauren, I was almost instantly pulled out of my depressed state. My days became brighter and my smiles became brighter, all thanks to the off-chance that a girl had given me a Kit-Kat bobsled.