Dear Best Friend, Upon Summer Commencing

Dear Best Friend, Upon Summer Commencing

There isn't any WiFi in the woods but we found a better connection.
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We met at summer camp four years ago. We were only campers and now we both work there. When we met, I didn't expect us to come this far and become best friends; I didn't think you were going to become a part of my life. I thought that we were just going to be camp friends and that we weren't going to see or talk to each other all year and then when summer and camp comes, we will talk.

That's how it was when we met. We didn't talk throughout the year and then the second summer came and you were in my cabin again. This time it was different; we became closer friends. That summer I knew that we weren't just going to be camp friends but best friends.

After that summer, we actually talked during the year and we even hung out. We didn't hang out a lot, because we lived in two different cities and we went to two different schools, but we did text a lot.

Every time summer came, we got closer and we tried our best to maintain that relationship outside of camp. We didn't have to see each other every day to know that we had each other's back and we still do today.

This summer we're working together again and I honestly have to thank you for that.

I had been going to this camp since I was six and while I went there every summer, I have seen four different camp directors come and go. I left summer 2015 with a job offer at camp and then the camp director that offered me that job left. I had to get a job at the camp I'd been going to forever with a camp director that didn't know me, and I didn't get the job.

I thought that my life at camp was over. I wasn't going to volunteer there and I wasn't planning on trying to work there again. But you made me volunteer. Every day you asked me if I had emailed the camp director; you asked me so much that I did it so you would stop asking me. I ended up going to camp to volunteer for a week and ended up getting the job that I originally applied for and because of that, I'm happy to call you my best friend, because if you hadn't made me email the camp director, I probably wouldn't be working there this summer.

This summer is going to be one for the books. Even though we're going to be at camp, we can still go on adventures like when we go to Walmart. We can make each other friendship bracelets and walk around singing along to our favorite songs.

I can't wait to spend most of the summer with you laughing and doing crazy things that will make us look like fools and for the late night pow-wows, we're going to have. We're going to make a million memories to look back on, ten thousand inside jokes to laugh at later, and keep each other sane. We might not be sisters by blood, but we are sisters by heart and that's still something.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Lost My Best Friend Because I Tried To Intervene In Her Relationship

What he was doing to her it wasn’t love, it was abuse.
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One of the reasons I love college so much is because of all the new people you meet. Whether it’s just someone you talk to in class or someone who becomes one of your greatest friends.

I was really thankful that college brought me my best friend, something I hadn’t really had most of my life.

When she asked if we wanted to get an apartment together I was so excited, instead of trekking halfway across campus to try and hang out in one of our dorms we would be living/doing everything together.

The first couple months were great, living with your best friend is one of the best things to do in college. But shortly after things went downhill when her boyfriend decided to move in without asking me or our other roommates.

I knew her boyfriend our freshman year of college, they'd always invite me out with them. He seemed like a nice guy so I didn’t think much of him being there. But I never knew how accurate the saying “you never really know someone until you live with them” really was.

Soon he was over even when she wasn’t, he would have her keys more than she did, he would try and cause issues between all of our roommates, he would create big messes and never clean them up, he would literally yell as loud as he could at 2 a.m.

But that wasn’t what bothered me the most.

Sure he was annoying, but the way he talked to my best friend is where I drew the line.

My room was the farthest from hers and even I could hear him screaming at her and hitting things.

“You’re such a bitch.”

“You’re really going to lock me out of MY room?”

“Let me in this f*cking room!”

“You’re just going to lock yourself in there again?”

All while banging on the door or hitting things in her room.

I couldn’t believe this was happening, what could I do? What was he going to do? Was he going to hit her? Had he hit her?

Shortly after it would turn into him begging for her forgiveness and saying he was sorry and that he loved her so much. What he was doing to her wasn’t love, it was abuse.

My roommates couldn’t handle living with him anymore, and frankly neither could I. The only thing I could do at that point to try and help her was trying to reason with her and make her see what he was doing to her. I tried to tell her how verbally and emotionally abusive he was to her, how she doesn’t deserve that, how she shouldn’t be treated like garbage by someone who claims to love her.

But the issue with him was that he tried controlling everything about her, including the way she thinks.

After I tried explaining to her how abusive he actually was, she never talked to me again. My other roommates and I moved out and we went our separate ways. I notified our apartment manager of the situation, but she said my friend was an adult and had to make her own decisions, and I couldn’t force her to see what she didn’t want to see.

I wonder if she’s still with him. I wonder if he’s still as mean to her as he used to be. I wonder if he’s gotten worse. I wish so desperately she was finally able to see that she deserved better and decided to move on. I wish there was something more I could have done.

Even though I miss her, what kind of friend would I have been if I hadn’t said anything? Just sat there and let her think what he was doing was okay? Even though I lost my best friend for trying to intervene, I knew I had to. Even if she doesn’t see it today, I hope someday she does see it and it gives her the courage to leave him.

To the girl who used to be my best friend, if somehow you’re reading this I hope you’re okay. I miss you and I hope you’re happy. I hope you’re being treated the way you deserve.

Cover Image Credit: The Hills

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Listening Is Not Something Our Generation Is Born Knowing How To Do

Even though I don’t always fully understand what they’re going through, I still care.
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“Hey, Iara! Are you busy? I need someone to talk to.” This is not a specific message I’ve gotten before, but I get variations of text messages like this one on a regular basis. This doesn’t surprise me though, ever since I was a child I would always sit at the table and listen to my grandma talk about her life, frustrations, passions, and the “awful” men in her life.

My dad felt sorry for me because I spent most of my summers with her and I would listen to the same stories over and over again. What my dad didn’t know is that I loved listening to her and to anyone that was willing to share their deepest thoughts and feelings with me.

This remains true to this day –I love to listen to people talk and share with me things that perhaps other people are too busy to listen. Don’t get me wrong, at times I sacrifice some of my time to listen to others, but I can’t do it all the time…that would be nuts! The good thing is that these people don’t take me for granted and thank me for “truly listening” to them.

Now, what does truly listening mean? Don’t we all listen the same way? What do I do differently than other people? Is it that I make eye contact? Is it that I don’t interrupt and wait for them to be done talking? Is it that I try to put myself in their shoes? Is it that I ask questions that are not so much about what happened, but rather about how they felt? Is it that others talk too much instead of listen? I’m not exactly sure what makes me a good listener, but I do know that this is one of my best qualities.

I think I fall in love with how people talk about things that matter to them. I fall in love with how people’s eyes spark after realizing that I care about what they have to say. I fall in love with how much I learn by listening to other people’s experiences. I think this is what life is about. I can’t speak without listening first. And at times I just don’t speak at all. Is it even needed?

After listening to a friend talk and pour their hearts out, I don’t always know what to say, but I do know how to look at them and let them know that even though I don’t fully understand what they’re going through, I still care.

It’s not about being born a good listener though. I remember when I was a kid I would cover peoples’ mouths if I didn’t want to hear them talk. (I was an only child and my mom passed when I was very young, so I basically got a pass for everything) But I was conditioned into listening more. Life gave me different experiences and placed people in my life that taught me to listen more and talk less.

Like anything else in life, you are capable of learning how to listen more, even when all you want to do is talk.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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