After going through a rough middle school with mean friends, I soon realized that friends who make you cry from laughing too hard are much more valuable than the ones who make you cry by making fun of you.
Our friendship started off on the soccer field while wearing bright green jerseys and had grass stains on the knees. We giggled during practices, cried during the games, and played in her basement after every win. We gossiped about who looked cute, but only if we promised it’d stay a secret.
Then middle school started, where the cute boys now weren’t so secretive and girls were only cool if they were mean. While I was trying to belong with the popular girls, she was receiving dirty looks from them.
The sound of her voice on the phone made me feel a twinge of guilt. I heard the quiet sounds of her nose sniffling and tears coming through the phone.
“We are not friends anymore,” I said to her, which caused the sad feelings on her end. However, I as not filled with those feelings.
The end of our friendship was the beginning of a friendship with those other girls. The girls who no longer played together because “hanging out” seems way cooler than playing. The girls that flirted with the cute boys between classes and the girls that act mean to everyone, including their circle of friends.
I thought it was great to be apart of that. In elementary school, with her, I only talked about the cute boys but now I talked to them. Instead of talking about wearing make up, I wore the deep black eye liner and clumpy mascara. I would explain to my mom that I was apart of the “in” group. I felt awesome to be included of that group, but at the same time I came home from “hanging out” in tears.
My “friends” liked to tease me, and talk behind my back. Just like I did to her.
When I saw her in the filled hallways at Lincoln Middle School, I turned my face. I was too mean, and too embarrassed of myself to even smile a hello. She found new friends. She sat on the other side of the cafeteria with a few girls, while I was sitting at the table next to the wall filled with cut out stars. The cool table is what people called it. Finally, I sat at the cool table.
But was it really that great? I thought to myself as I continued through middle school. Was coming home in tears weekend after weekend, better than hanging out in her basement laughing?
Finally the summer before high school came, and I took my summer-long vacation to Powers Lake, Wisconsin like I do every summer. I returned different. Sick of being made fun of by the people I called my friends, I changed. She only made me cry when I laughed so hard from a joke she told, or a weird face she made.
I walked into the doors of my high school, with a little friend group. I created new friends over the summer from different schools feeding into Prospect High School. I no longer wanted the girls who made me feel bad about myself. I hung out with girls who made me laugh, just like she did in elementary school.
She soon evolved into this new group that I located myself in. She was just like the rest of these new girls that I call friends: funny, smart, beautiful, and my best friends.
I ditched those mean girls. There was no need for anybody I called a friend to treat anyone the way they treated people. Now as I walk through high school hallways, I smile at her every time I see her. However, when I smile to her in the hallway is not the only time we interact.
She is the one who I call when I’m in need, the one who makes me laugh when I’m down. The one who forgave me for giving up on our friendship for that stupid reason so many years ago. She is simply my best friend.