"It's not about where you started, but where you end up."
It all started in the fifth grade. I met her at orientation when our mothers recognized each other from high school. Her school had closed and she was transferring to my school. I had no idea who she was, and honestly, I wasn’t interested. I already had my friends, but I was cordial.
As our mothers talked and reminisced, she and I just stood off to the side as two awkward kids would. Finally, our mothers threw out the “you two should be friends!” idea. We just agreed with smiles and said bye, going on our ways. I can remember my mom talking to me in the car about branching out, making more friends, being open to other people especially the new people. I was listening, but really just let the idea go in and out of my head. Like I said, I didn’t need any more friends. In that moment I knew I didn’t need any.
On the first full day of fifth grade, I have science as my first class. I was excited because I loved the teacher and I knew it was going to be a fun class. I walk in to see that girl again. She’s in my class. I feel bad and I sit next to her. We cordially say hi and then I proceed to talk to my other friends in the class before the teacher starts the lesson. We all turn to pay attention, but this girl decides that’s when she wants to start up a conversation. She is talking in my ear about silly things, obviously irrelevant to science class. I am listening to the teacher and not to her. After she has given me an earful of nonsense, I finally turn to her and giver her a face. “Can you please be quiet I am trying to listen,” I stammer. She awkwardly laughs and stops.
Thank goodness she stopped then because the teacher at that moment called me out for talking. Yeah right about there in that moment was when I realized I didn’t want to be friends with her.
Come lunchtime my two best friends and I sit next to each other at a table. The three of us had been best friends since pre-k, basically, since the first day, we had been inseparable. It was always just us three, at recess, in class buddies, lunchtime table talk, and after school play dates. So when an unexpected, uninvited visitor comes and sits right at our table without a question we were a little put-off. We all look at each other with confusion. She proceeds to start a conversation, pulling out her sandwich and apple. Not trying to be rude, we all proceed to join in the conversation. Mostly because we didn’t feel like we had a choice.
From then she continued to talk, obviously her strong suit and followed us along. Instead of taking up three swings, we had to snag an extra one. A month went by of trying her out for our friend group. Throughout all the things we did as a group of three, they slowly became better as a group of four. Then, she threw us a plot twist. She handed each one of us a card with our names on it and said, “You can come to my birthday party, you can meet my guinea pig, Buddy!” Which was ironic, because I have always wanted a little pet, and my dog was also named Buddy. That moment I pictured us as friends.
If going to her house for her birthday was already a big step, it was when she invited me to come over to her house to hang out that I realized she actually wanted to be friends. I being the grudge holder I am, was still annoyed that she still talked to me in science class when the teacher was talking. But my mom convinced me to go so I did. We talked in the kitchen with her mom, she showed me all her cool gadgets in her room, we played with her guinea pig Buddy, and she crushed me in volleyball outside. The more we did the more we bonded and connected, even over our mutual favorite candy and obsession with Pooh Bear.
After all of that, I was pretty tired, but she insisted that we ride her scooters around the neighborhood so she can show me the park. I obliged, hoping that this would be the last activity before a snack or something. I followed along with her path, trying to listen to her talkative conversation while also not trying to fall off my scooter. Suddenly, she screams. So I scream. Something touches my leg and I jump, landing on the ground. Shes on the ground too, laughing her head off. I look down and can see blood all over my leg. She gets up and stops laughing and a wave of concern hits her face. According to her, a squirrel ran in front of her and it went after me. According to me, she ran over the squirrel’s tail accidentally and it got pissed and went after me.
Regardless of who’s side of the story, I was bitten. This girl helps me hop back to her house and into the bathroom. Her little sister pours an entire bottle of hydrogen peroxide on my leg. I scream again. As she calls her mom to tell her what happened, she looks at me and says, “I hope your mom still lets you come over still, you’re like my friend,” as she stares questionably at my leg. I am stunned. Not by the fact that she is totally thinking that I am going to turn into a squirrel from this bit, but that she called me her friend. I was actually so happy and reassured her it would be okay, I would still be her friend. And that was when we became true friends.
As my mom picked me up and took me to the doctor office to get my cut checked out she asked me about my day. I told her all the things we did, the adventures we went on, the stories she told me, the funny moments we had. The more I talked, the more I got excited to share more about her with my mom. I even forgot that I had to go to the doctor office because I had a squirrel bite on my leg. “So she seems like a really good friend right?” my mom asked. I responded without hesitation, “Oh yeah, she could be my best friend,” with a smile on my face. I went on to get my shot and had a funny story to share about my best friend running over a squirrel’s tail and it biting me instead.Having her as my best friend didn't make it seem so bad.
If only I knew then what we would become now. From not liking her in science class, to her rousing my lifetime fear of squirrels, from playing sports together to liking the same boys, from Villa Madonna to Academy of the Holy Names, from fries for charity and pretzel M&Ms, from Harlem Globetrotter games to jamming to The Weeknd, from traveling to St. Augustine to visiting North Carolina, from me passing out on the beach to her hip surgeries.
Living and learning we have gone through a lot. We have made many mistakes in our friendship; we have made many mistakes in life. We have taken many losses and lost some of whom we were. We grew up too fast and grew apart. But no matter how many trials and tribulations we went through, we always came back to each other.
We grew up together; we helped each other grow into the world. We succeeded in school and we won in our sports. We strived to make the world a better place and we made our worlds better for each other. From fifth grade orientation to graduating college soon enough, there has not been one day where we were not part of each other’s lives. And each and every day we have become stronger and better in our friendship. And we will continue to grow into a stronger and better friendship, especially when we already have plans to live next to each other with our little perfect husband/kids/farm families.
There is nothing like a lifelong friendship.
I know that no matter what, we will always be there for each other. Even though I couldn’t stand her talking to me in science class, I look forward to her yelling in my hearing aids that I am walking too slow as she tries to beat all the other nursing home residents to lunch. Which she can’t do because I will probably be pushing her wheelchair with my feeble arms, but hey that’s what friends are for. Cheers to us. Love ya, Mica.