A Friendship Is

I wrote this short story on a whim and thought I’d share it here. Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Friendship Is

There once was a girl who didn’t understand the concept of friendship. She couldn’t touch, see, smell, or observe it using any of her senses. It wasn’t a concrete thing, so it was a mystery to her. She would become friendly with people in school, but then stopped seeing her classmates every day after graduation, so she assumed that they’d forgotten about her, because after all, she was starting to forget about them. Years later, at reunions and chance meetings, she would see them again, and be confused when they were happy to see her and asked after her and her family. She thought that if you didn’t see or talk to someone every day, you were no longer friends.

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That girl grew up and entered high school, living a rather carefree life after a sudden transfer in sophomore year. One day in senior year, her carefree life was thrown into chaos. Someone she considered a good friend hurt her, both physically and emotionally. It shook her confidence as to what friends really were. She continued to try to get her so-called “friend” to understand her pain, but to no avail. That pain evolved into anger, which she carried with her for years after that. That anger made it hard for her to trust people. She graduated from high school and entered college, and for the first two years of her college career, she did not make a single friend. She was friendly with various classmates from her major, but she did not consider any of them her friends. And because she carried so much baggage from high school, a similar thing happened to her in freshman year. She made friends with another girl in her class, but this other girl hurt her very badly, and this only compounded the problem. She had only a few friends, ones from her childhood who had never given her any reason to doubt them in the decade she’d known them.

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Late into her sophomore year of college, she finally was able to break this vicious cycle. By chance, she met another girl in the hallway, and they got to chatting about shared interests in anime and creative writing. The girl also started working for the orientation program at her university. She met a lot of great people who appreciated her for who she was: passionate and loyal and caring and a bit kooky. She made some amazing friends in that program, and finally felt as if she had healed from her traumatic high school experience.

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After graduating, she worked a gig as a summer camp counselor, but various problems happened during that summer, and the scars upon her heart that she thought had vanished years ago reopened. Right after finishing that job, she joined an online writing group, but wasn’t sure if she had crossed the line from “acquaintances” to “friends” with the other members of the group.

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It took a single line from a Youtube video to change her entire view on this subject.

A friendship is when two people have mutual affection for each other and enjoy each others’ company.

The girl shared the Youtube video with one of the members of her writing group, who said the exact words to the girl that she needed to hear: that they were, indeed, friends, and best friends at that. After that, the girl realized that friendship was just that simple. She gained the ability to cut toxic people out of her own life, to appreciate the people who loved her, and to dismiss all the haters with her favorite six-word saying. And though she still occasionally struggled with doubts about whether or not the people she considered to be her friends really did view her as such, she went on to chase her dreams, surrounding herself with people who appreciated her for the geeky, awkward soul she was.

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That girl was me.

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