Don't Let Go, Don't Look Back
By Anne, age 18, Florida
(The parts in quotation are meant to be sung.)
"Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold"
Old friends are the ones you trust. The ones you expect to read your thoughts and understand everything you tell them. Because you do tell them everything. Old friends are the ones you meet back in the early days, when personality and looks didn't matter, when boys were still icky and you could get rid of cooties by wiping them on someone else. Old friends are your best friends because they knew you before you gained weight or became socially awkward, before anything mattered.
Everyone describes an old friend differently, but I would definitely describe mine as "fabulous" because Gabi excels at everything she puts her mind to. She's my Gaboona, the boonmaster, my "scoop". She is my hand to hold onto in the darkness when I have nightmares, the voice of reason when I was depressed. She is my Looneyville partner in crime and my ultra high fashion consultant. She has become the extra appendage that I just can't get rid of, but mostly she is my best friend. And that was the greatest realization I've ever had.
"Make new friends ..."
Making friends when you are young is extremely simple. One day you are sharing Play Doh with the kindly brown-eyed girl in your class and the next you are eating lunch together and sharing secrets. It's immediate. Luckily for both of us, Gabi and I each had the friendship making skills the other lacked. While Gabi was social and fast, working through the necessary stages to solidify a friendship in mere hours, I was the one who slowed things down and kept her focused on what was important right now. We completed each other. Gabi made me more outgoing while I taught her when to back down. She showed me how to see the good in life and I helped her deal with the bad. She got me to be original and find myself. I convinced her that different was not dorky. She provided me with someone to listen to and practice my psychologist skills on, and I allowed her to talk, complain, and babble on for hours. We rarely grew tired of one another, and a quick nap always fixed any irritations.
"... but keep the old ..."
Seventh grade was one of the most trying times for our friendship. It was an opportunity to make us prove we could withstand anything thrown our way. Classes were more difficult, free time was limited, homework was piling up, peer pressure was at its highest, and the conflict between Gabi's need to become accepted and my insistence to remain invisible was at a breaking point. I thought she was being power hungry while she declared me as being selfish. The year was marked with hundreds of confrontations and arguments, but the most violent of these were still ended with an apology and a hug. We had never needed to work anything out before and we didn't realize that friendships needed to be given constant attention to survive. And ours wouldn't have if we hadn't discovered our talent for talking things out and understanding each other. With difficulty we made it to our next big obstacle at the end of eighth grade: high school.
Gabi and I had always assumed that we would attend the same schools and have the same jobs and live the same lives until the day we died. But here we were preparing to leave for separate high schools. It was frightening, but we both wanted to try to function without the other by our side every minute. And not only did we succeed in making new friends living our own lives, but we also managed to keep our friendship going with fewer speed bumps. We still trusted one another, we still relied on one another, and finally we were reunited. We still have issues to work on and we still have clashes, but we have each other and that is what is important.
"... one is silver and the other gold."
You Are BeautifulA Poem Written for Gabi
You don't doubt yourself in a crowd
You can dance
You approach your faults with a smile
You stand up for what you believe in
You are kindhearted
You light up a room and draw in every eye
You know your limit and dare to cross it
You give me faith when I doubt myself
You don't need anything to have fun
You are fiercely loyal
You are unique to the tips of your toes
You can't spell basketball
You have the sense of style and self-confidence that I have always lacked
You are the best friend I've ever had and I would be completely lost without you
You form my world and give me a reason to keep living and putting up with the world's crap
And I love you more than you can possibly imagine
"A circle is round, it has no end. That's how long I want to be your friend."