The dentist and doctor check-ups went smoothly, and it seemed that Ashley didn't need braces, neither did she have an incurable disease. However, after trying to squint her way through a series of eye tests, the eye doctor said to her and her mother, "Ashley, I'm sorry, but you will need to wear glasses from now on."
A terrible lump came into Ashley's throat. "Glasses?" she asked in a whisper. A few tears slipped from between lids that were squeezed shut. And no one knew the anguish that made the little squeeze in her heart.
Thinking back, a few years later, Ashley thought that that was the turning point in her life. The next school day, Ashley was called "four-eyes" all day. The teasing drove her to sit by herself at lunch break, in the corner of the school yard on the swings.
"Who are you?" asked someone. Ashley turned around, wiping the tears from her eyes. Another girl sat there with a small smile on her face, on the next swing.
"Summer." Summer held out her hand. They shook hands, and Ashley frowned.
"I don't remember you." she said.
"I'm new. I just moved."
"From where?" Ashley asked, excited. People moving from another place was always interesting to the little children. "How was it like there?"
"The same as here." Summer shrugged. "Except...." her face puckered. "Everything's so... strange. I don't understand so much of it. Will... will you be my friend?"
"Sure!" Ashley smiled. "That means that you and I have to stick together, no matter what, okay?"
"Alright." Summer said, nodding gravely. "Friends."
A single statement that was to change Ashley's future.