Currently I’m reading “Best Friends Forever” by Jennifer Wiener and it’s got me thinking about my days in elementary school and how friends come and go. “Best Friends Forever” is about a woman named Adelaide Downs who has worked hard all her life to be liked. As a child she was overweight and kids at school never wanted anything to do with her. Then a mother and daughter move in across the street and Addie learns what it is like to have a friend. The book chronicles their friendship and the ups and downs that go with such intimate relationships.
So far I’ve only read about seven chapters, but already its got me thinking about my childhood and how I used to dread going to school as a child because I knew what was coming – non-stop name calling and the occasional eraser or elastic in the back of the head. Ever since I was two and a half years old I’ve had no hair. The doctors don’t really know why it fell out, but since a young age I’ve had to deal with the torment that goes along with being different. I remember wanting so badly to be a part of the “in-crowd” and almost wanting to cry when I was overlooked every day. It wasn’t until high school (I had lost my sight during the summer) that I actually learned what it was like to be welcome and a part of a group.
I had friends as a child, but not many stuck around long-term – either they’d move or we’d grow apart. I remember how hard it was at times to make friends and then hoped that they would not end up turning on me in the end because someone decided to befriend them from the “in-crowd”. I think the most heartbreaking friendship I lost, was when I was in grade 7 and had befriended a boy named DJ. DJ was new to the school and became my friend almost instantly. We’d get together after school to toboggan or just hang out at each other’s house almost every day. As our friendship grew, other kids began to tease him and I watched as he started to move away from me out of embarrassment. I actually liked this guy, he was the first guy I truly liked as a child and it was hard to see his behavior change towards me just because others didn’t see what was so worthwhile in being my friend. Even to this day I think about DJ and what great friends we could have been if he had just seen past all the comments made by others.
In high school everyone knew me and would offer help whenever they thought I needed it. I remember kids who had teased me during elementary school running over to be of assistance, only to be turned away because I didn’t want to be their “good deed for the day”. I would eat lunch with a group of kids each day and meet up with others during spares. Life in high school was so much different from the days I spent in elementary school, but still there were friends who came and went – the difference this time was that I often chose to part ways.
As you can see my childhood was quite the experience, but it only helped to make me the person I am today. I’m an independent-minded, caring and welcoming woman, but I’m also not one to let someone walk all over me. Reading “Best Friends Forever” has really gotten me thinking about my past and wondering what the future will bring.
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” – Walter Winchell