“Hey, Jenna, do you think we’ll still be friends when we’re eighty-two?” I stopped bouncing on the trampoline when I saw a puzzled look on my friend’s face. Boy, did her look say it all! It was clear she was wondering where in the world I had come up with such a random question. Being such good friends, it had become easy to read each other’s minds. So, while I waited for Jenna to answer, I started wondering what life would be like without her.
Definitely not the same, that’s for sure! Losing Jenna would be like losing a very close sister. We hang out together as often as we can. We laugh together. We cry together. We give each other advice. We even look a little bit alike. When I spend the night at her house, I feel like part of Jenna’s family. If it weren’t for Jenna, I don’t know where in my life’s journey I would be, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be here.
Suddenly, my thoughts were interrupted. “Of course, we’ll still be friends when we’re eighty-two,” Jenna announced loudly. I gave Jenna a friendly stare, and she returned it. We stared at each other until we were laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face. That moment was one of the most important in our friendship together and, as you might have guessed, eighty-two was our new magic number. But that’s not where the story ends.
The next year, in fourth grade, we met Jamie. Jamie had just moved from California, and since she lived in the same neighborhood as Jenna and me, the three of us soon clicked into a really tight group of friends. We played together almost every day. We shared our biggest secrets and crushes, and even came up with crazy ideas to make a little extra cash for the summer. I was happy to have reached out to Jamie as well as getting even closer to my other good friends. Things couldn’t have been better, and I thought even time couldn’t pull us apart, but that is where I was sadly mistaken.
The three of us started fighting a lot—and not just small fights where your friend won’t return a CD you let her borrow. No, these fights involved hurt feelings, crying, taking sides, nasty e-mails, and mean glares. Before Christmas, we had a really big fight, and it was just my luck that Jamie and Jenna were ganging up on me, both saying I was bossy and couldn’t keep my mouth closed. I felt helpless and alone. They wouldn’t even talk to me at school unless they had some mean insult for me. I had very little hope for the future, and I was almost positive that Christmas, my birthday, and New Year’s Day would be horrible! Why is this happening to me? I thought. How can I not even know what I did and have things end up this bad?
That’s why I was surprised when Jenna came to my house and gave me an awesome Christmas card she had made for me. I was so sure that she was still disappointed with me, and now I was getting a really nice card that she even made herself. Is time going to prove me wrong once again?
“Wow,” I said, breaking the silence as we stood on either side of my front door. “Thanks.”
“Okay . . . well . . . I have to go,” she said softly.
“Okay. See you later then. . . .” and I closed the door and headed back to my mom’s bedroom to finish watching a movie.
“Who was that at the door?” my mom asked.
“It was Jenna,” I explained, showing her the card. I pressed play on the VCR, but I wasn’t watching the TV screen. Instead, I was admiring the front of the card, which was decorated with snowmen, snowflakes, and a perfect image of Santa Claus. After a few minutes of admiring the front, I decided to peek inside.
The card started off with “Merry Christmas” (what else would you put in a Christmas card?), but then, farther down the page, it said, “I am so glad we’re friends. I am sorry about what I said when we were fighting. A fight won’t stop us from being friends. Besides, we said we were going to be friends even when we’re eighty-two.”
I stopped reading and started laughing. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten what she said that day in her back yard. I couldn’t believe I had been so selfish in trying to get even and making my friends feel sorry for me that I had forgotten about real friendship.
Instead of drifting farther and farther apart, and eventually going our separate ways, like my friendship with Jamie, Jenna and I held strong, even through the bad times. Jenna ended up being my true friend. Isn’t that what a true friend is? Someone who chooses to stick with you every day of your life, even when you’re eighty-two.