Out of forty-two years I have known my “lifer” friend for thirty- seven of those years. How many people are able to say that? Twenty -nine out of forty-two years we have been lifer friends. We became friends the year we were Thirteen, thanks to a mutual friend going through a traumatic event at the end of eight grade year. By the time this mutual friend had this event happen, I had about all I could take of 8th grade.
I had secretly been in the mental Hospital for trying to commit suicide, I had lost my most favorite “safe” adult/cousin/grandmother figure. I had lost my great X 3 uncle, my good friend in school had her boyfriend kill himself in her lawn after a big ordeal of them running away, which my mom would not allow me to contact her or go to his funeral because of my “unstable” mental state. Then I was forced to return to school and tell no one where I had been. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had to face my friend that had went through so much and I was not there for her. So as you can imagine this was a terrible year.
Somehow 8th grade went on. Somehow things kept moving and right when the weather turned Louisiana unbearably hot again, a mutual friend of “at that time my arch enemy” was abused by a family member and would be taken from school and moved to another state. We had all heard the gory details by the time she come to gather her things, as only small towns people can truly know how fast news travels. When the mutual friend was almost there all her friends were called from class one by one over the loud speaker and gathered in the extra computer room. We were told that we should not ask questions about the event, just if she is OK and telling her we would miss her. We were also told we could give her our address and phone numbers. So, we waited and soon she come in. We were not prepared. Almost instantly the silent room could only be heard of soft tears trying to be muffled. I don’t remember much of the visit. It was what happened afterwards that would change my life forever.
After the mutual friend left and everyone went back to their classes and as I moved slowly as to take as much time as possible to get back to class, I noticed Amber in the back of the room sitting in a chair her head in her hands and her elbows on her knees. She was crying. Now I’d like to say that I instantly felt great concern but you have to understand this was my arch enemy that had tormented me from day one of school for the last 8 years. So, I sort of rolled my eyes and walked over to talk to the teacher that was standing there who was more a friend than a teacher in my eyes. Then I hear Amber crying. These were real belly cries. I look at my Teacher and she looks at me and knowing the situation, says you don’t have to go over there and I look at her and sigh… Yes, Yes I do.
I walk over slowly, maybe I was hoping she would stop crying or start calling me names. I’m not sure what I was thinking. I get right next to her and I carefully put my hand on her back and I ask her if she is OK? My memory does not hold every word from this point on. I know that I convinced her to get up and move to the other computer room, because the bell was about to ring and this room would be filling up. She moved rooms and was still crying. I put my arms around her and probably gave her, her first real hug.
She finally stopped crying and while nothing toward friendship happened the rest of the year, the bullying stopped. When I signed her yearbook, I gave her my phone number and said if you need a friend and this is how the 29 years of Us Lifers began.
I could not be more different from my Amber. We have always been day light and dark different. About the only thing we had in common was the fact we both breath air. Maybe that is why we are able to be such good friends. She pushed me to do things I never thought I’d do. I push her to do things she thought she never do. She truly is my better half. There are some people in this world that you call friends, and there is some you call best friends but while I may say best friend that isn’t exactly correct. Amber is my family. She hasn’t been my best friend for years really. She has her best friend, and I use to have my best friend. Amber and I we are family, she is my friend, my sister, my guide, my therapist, she tells me when I am wrong, believes in me when I can’t believe in myself. I am those things for her. So as to not walk around explaining that to everyone its easier to say this is my best friend.
I hate that distance and time has come between us, and that at times makes it feel like there is a void between us. We talk a lot, snap, face-time, but let me tell you when I got to hug her recently … That was absolutely the best feeling ever. Almost seconds into seeing her the void went away. Having a week where we got to talk and remember. It meant so much to me. With our world how it is, I don’t know when I will see her again. I don’t know if we will have heads full of white hair by then or if it will be sooner. I just know one thing is for sure, nothing will change how I feel, no fight, no family, no amount of time, no mistakes, no nothing will every make me love and care for her any less. I am so blessed to have family like Amber. I am so blessed that my arch Enemy is now my friend for life. I love you girl.