This one is is dedicated to my best friend, Karen.
I met Karen in the fifth grade at St. Susanna. She transferred in from another school like I had two years prior. We were both kind of the outcasts of our class, and I think that's why we got along as well as we did. I had transferred to St. Susanna in the midst of my third grade year, and it was pretty much a shit show from the word, go. Up until that point, I had attended a much smaller school in the middle of an even smaller country town, that still had nuns teaching and running the school (OMG). Transferring wasn't a pleasant transition for me. To make matters worse, I had a horrible stutter, so every time I so much as opened my mouth to speak in class, I would repeat the same words over and over and over again. At the time, it was so humiliating; it was such an gawky, awkward time in my life. Looking back at all of it, all I can do is laugh at the some of the things that went on then.
When Karen first arrived to class that fateful day in the fifth grade, we clicked instantly. We hung out in and out of school, never fought, and always had each other backs. Suddenly, all of the other crap that was happening around me really didn’t matter anymore - we had each other to lean on. Oddly enough, we both ended up at Mason after grade school (while all of our other classmates went off to private high schools) and I was just relieved to be attending the same high school as my friend.
In the middle of my high school high school career, right before my junior year, my parents broke the news to me that we would be moving again, which meant I would have to transfer schools again. Needless to say, I was devastated and extremely nervous about starting another new school.
Well, I survived (gasp!). In fact, my time at Williamsburg was pretty fantastic. Time went on, and naturally, the two of us eventually got caught up in our own busy lives. New people and new friends arrived, but Karen and I managed to remain close to one another. Even if we weren't constantly talking or hanging out as much as we did in the good ole' days, our friendship continued to grow over the course of the next fifteen years. We we continued to be there for each other; she was there for me during my tough times, and I was there for hers. Karen has helped me through some of my toughest days.
True friendship is realizing that even if you aren't able to talk to each other for a certain period of time, that a certain unspoken understanding remains; that beautiful security of knowing that you can simply pick up right where you left off - without any explanation or grudges - and laugh and carry on, as if no time had ever gone by. It must come with longevity. I am blessed to have such a fantastic person in my life; she really brings out the very best in me. Oh, and she really makes me laugh. Out loud.