Dear Reader,

I was never very good at making friends. I mean, I always had school friends, and sports friends, and birthday party friends, but they were just that. Kids I only saw at school or sports or birthday parties.

A lot of the people I hung out with in grade school were boys, and I don’t think my dad ever liked me being around the opposite sex much. I still remember my parents vetoing my decision to invite my best friend (a guy) to my second grade birthday party.

Anyway, I never had a lot of play dates or visitors at my house. And I never had a best friend.

Everyone had a best friend. Someone they sat next to in kindergarten or shared their pudding cup with at lunch (can you really share a pudding cup, though? Seems messy). Before long, best friendships were popping up everywhere, whereas I was always part of a group.

I never minded this, and I never really realized this until reflecting on my childhood, but I’m writing now to thank Melissa Schoenlein for being my first best friend.

I’m not sure where we met or where this started (band? lunch? study hall?), but as of seventh grade, I had myself a best friend.

We were still part of a friend group, but the two of us became very close. We took silly pictures that we messed around with using picnik, we e-mailed back and forth constantly, we wrote in a journal in a secret code, and we gossiped (mostly about boys) constantly.

I’m pretty sure we had at least one fight, but that was about it. We never had drama in our friend group, really. The things we talked about were stupid, but they were at least innocently stupid, and we never concerned ourselves with the girl drama that many junior high kids find consuming their lives. Of course, we listened when our friends dealt with it, but our friendship was perfect healthy and fun.

And I need to thank Melissa. Once we got to high school, our friendship faded. Cliche as it sounds, we just sort of grew apart–which was fine for both of us. We still worked together on math projects sophomore year and chatted during symphony orchestra when we were seniors, but we were no longer at the point of on-going email chains and text message conversations–which is fine.

But Melissa, I thank you for letting me be my complete self, always. I thank you for helping me grow while letting my inner kid live. I don’t think I ever told you how much I appreciated you or how much our friendship meant to me. How much it still means to me. But I just wanted to say thank you for everything.

And I still wear one of the many friendship bracelets you made me sometimes.



PS. (Second) song of the day: Reflections – MisterWives


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