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Every single person in my 7th grade study hall room is staring at the clock, and I can’t blame them. Since tomorrow is the last day of school, everyone should be impatient and excited, it’s natural. Finally, my teacher says the words everyone in the tiny room has wanted to hear. At last, study hall is over. Honestly, I can’t help but find it slightly funny when there is a crowd heading to the door. I try to push and shove, but end up waiting until I finally can get out. Once I somehow manage to get out of the way-too-tiny room, I head straight to the room where my three best friends Liv, Kristi, and Haylee have study hall. I have known these three girls since Kindergarten. Most of school year I was upset that we were in different study halls, but I got used to it.
“Emily!” Haylee, the most extroverted girl of our friend group, practically yells to me from the other end of her study hall room. Her very long, pin-straight, brown hair glows in the sunlight. She begins to talk extremely quickly about some disagreement her and Liv, the genius, had about math homework. Of course, Liv was right, it always is inevitable. Kristi just shakes her head, and we all laugh and go to grab a bite to eat at our all time favorite snack bar, Naturals. After thinking about what to get, I decide on a bag of Cape Cod Potato Chips. In my opinion, there is no better chip, especially when you live there. We go sit at a table right next to an abnormally large window. It is a cloudy day, it almost looks like it is about to rain.
“I hope you guys don’t forget about me,” I say sarcastically, while sitting down in a chair that shows its age - it has wrinkles in the cushion and faded wood on the back of the chair. Haylee takes a seat next to me, with Kristi and Liv next to her.
“What are you talking about, Emily?” Haylee says, with her mouth hanging open. Obviously, she did not catch onto my sarcasm.
“Yeah, we could never, like, ever forget about you,” Kristi agrees, with her mouth full of Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips.
?“I mean, it’s just a trip for the summer, which is about 85 days, not eternity,” Liv says, as if everyone knows how many days the summer is. Haylee, Kristi, and I all laugh, Liv just sat looking confused. Finally, she begins to giggle.
“Thanks, guys. That really means a lot,” I say, while running my fingers through my hair. To me, what Haylee, Kristi, and Liv said was great, and I am left with so many fewer worries than before.
Afterwards, I walk home with my friends. They don’t mention not seeing me for the entire summer, it’s almost as if they are pretending that it will never happen. Once I get home I dial Kristi’s number on my home phone and start to do homework. I find it so funny how my teachers assign homework on the second to last day of school. While on the phone with Kristi, I choose not to tell her that I am afraid for summer. Why? Because when summer comes, I will be going on vacation to London, England for the entire time, and I won’t get a chance to see Liv, Haylee, or Kristi. The worst part about this already horrible situation is that I won’t be able to contact them, because I will be in a different country and continent.
The last day of school arrives, and I take notice of how my friends continue not to mention anything about my trip to London. Maybe they don’t want to hurt my feelings, or possibly upset me on our last day together until the beginning of 8th grade. After going to Naturals for the last time until next year, they walk me to my house and we all say our goodbyes. When they say this, I can feel my eyes begin to water, and so do theirs. They each wish me a safe trip, continuing to tell my about what a great time that I am going to have and how they wish that they could go with me. After walking into my house and grabbing my belongings, I am pretty sure that they won’t forget about me, but I can never be positive.
Getting out of the tiny plane, my family and I head to Hertz Car Rental. We drive and drive
until we reach our relatives’ home. While we are in the rental car, I can’t help but think about what my friends are doing now. They are probably over at Liv’s house, gossiping, or prank calling people. Looking down at my phone, I wish I could text them, FaceTime, or anything at all. But instead I find myself in London, pulling up to our relatives’ home, unable to say a single word to the friends I care about the most. So, I continue to pretend to be happy with my family members, who I haven’t
?seen in years. After they welcome us, they offer snacks. I know that I can’t take any, because it reminds me of my friends. Plus, no snack they have here could be as good as the snacks from Naturals.
Days are not flying by, they just seem to be getting slower. All I can continue to think about is what Kristi, Liv, and Haylee are doing. I feel like a fish out of water when I am spending time with my family members, everyone is so similar, and I am, well, not. Trying to keep telling myself that my in the whole wide world didn’t replace me, it just gets harder and harder to believe. While in London, my relatives and I take tours, eat out, and play games, but it never feels like it does when I am with my friends.
Finally, the family vacation has ended, and we are leaving London. Quickly saying goodbyes to my family members, we head into our rental car and drive to the airport. I can’t wait to see Kristi, Haylee, and Liv! We could all head over to Liv’s house and play board games, or ding dong ditch. Then everything will be back to the way it was, and I will have hopefully not missed anything too extreme. Once we enter the airport I race up the stairs, and practically sprint to the gate. My face hurts from smiling too much when I enter the plane. The plane ride feels like it’s longer than the entire trip, which is funny. After a lot of anticipation, we enter into a bright yellow taxi, and head home.
Opening the taxi door, I run straight to my house. Once I get there, a small yellow square
shaped post-it is both stuck and taped to secure its place. Instantly, I recognize Haylee’s curly-cue letters, as my eyes absorb the words written on the post-it. My breathing becomes heavier. I read over the words on the page.
Emily - This summer we (Kristi,, Liv, and I) met a new girl named Olivia and we don’t think that it is right to be friends with you anymore. We think that it is wrong because we have so many silly summer inside jokes and experiences that we have went through without you. Sorry, Haylee, Kristi, Liv, Olivia.
All of these emotions feel as if my heart dropped into my stomach. How could my best friends decide to replace me in just one summer? Maybe they are just kidding, hopefully anyway. Looking at the note on the door, I pull it off. Before I start to cry, I enter the house, still holding the
?post-it, turn on my phone, and join the Wi-Fi. Once it turns on, I text Liv, Kristi, and Haylee in a group chat we created a long time ago, since then it was the best group chat ever. My text asks them if the note was just a silly joke. Haylee is the first one to text me back, replying that she is sorry and that it is not a joke. Both Liv and Kristi reply afterwards, saying similar things to Haylee’s text. Biting my lip and holding my breath, I try to think of a way to respond. But all I can come up with is oh. I send it off, feeling like I am about to throw up.
To be honest, I don’t care about summer inside jokes, I just want them to stay friends with me. I can feel my legs give out underneath me, and I start to sob. Once my mother hears me, she quickly rushes to my side. Instantly, she asks what happened. All I have to do is show her the note. Watching her eyes scan the little yellow post-it, I wonder where this day ranks in the list of bad days I’ve had. It takes me longer than it should have to realize it, this day is the first one on my list. In other words, this is the worst day of my entire life. All I can feel is my mom’s arms surrounding me, embracing me for a hug. No words can describe this feeling, so I just cry in her arms.
A few days after I receive the post-it that turned my world upside down, I cannot stop thinking. My mind searches for answers, about school, my no longer best friends, and just life in general. It’s as if I’m going through the motions, yet I am not really doing them. I’ve never felt anything like this before. It’s like my worst nightmare came true. This feeling is like the worst pain that I’ve ever felt in my heart, and emotionally in my head.
Slowly, things return to normal, with the exception of me having no friends. It still feels strange though, having no one to call and no one’s house to visit. But, I do know that 8th grade is going to start and end, and hopefully, I will have friends. I know that I have a choice though, to try as hard as I can to be with my old friends, or go through it alone and hope to make new friends. As much as I try to think about the answer, it never comes. It reminds me of another planet, so close but not in reach.
The first day of the last year in middle school has arrived, 8th grade. Once I walk through the large doors, the worst possible situation that could possibly happen does. My old friends are
?laughing together, while I, who would’ve been laughing with them if I didn’t go to London, am standing alone. My eyes scan Olivia. She is tall, has thin dirty blonde hair, and light blue eyes. But, what hurts the most is that Kristi, Liv, Haylee, and Olivia didn’t even acknowledge my existence. Taking in a deep breath, I walk by my old friends, and the new girl, who I once cared about so much.
I go to all of my classes, while suffering to watch my old best friends, who I seem to have most of my classes with, and wonder what I am going to do. Still, Haylee, Kristi, and Liv continue to ignore me. Just as my stomach growls, lunch arrives. Following the line to lunch, my eyes browse the scene; it’s overwhelming. The smell of hot dogs, salads, and something odd fills the large yet stuffy room. All of this combined makes me feel queasy. Once my hands begin to sweat, I realize this place is no longer for someone like me. So, I make my sandwich, and head to the library to eat.
As I step through the library doors, I grab two faded red pillows from a stack and find a cozy corner to sit in. One pillow rests on the wall for my back, and the other for the floor. Finally, I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off of me. I take tiny nibbles of my sandwich, because I will not go back to the lunch room under any circumstances. A spare piece of paper and pencil seem to be lying around, so I pick them up and begin to doodle. As I begin to gain energy and strength, I feel a light tap on my shoulder, and look up at my teacher.
“Lunch is over, Emily,” she whispers. ***
After thinking a lot about this, I decide to try as hard as I can to join another group and forget Liv, Kristi, and Haylee. So, to make this progress I have to brace myself and walk up to people. Just walking out of my algebra class, my eyes scan the hallway for people to talk to. After what should take a lot less time to do, I see a group of girls who are just walking out of history. They seem nice enough, even though I have never spoken to them in my entire life because of my old best friends. Each step I take towards them feels like a mile, each one also makes me wonder if I should be doing this. Before I know it, I am standing right beside one of the girls in the group.
“Uh.. Um.. Hi?” I say nervously. The girls all pause their conversation and look straight at me as if asking why I am here with their eyes. I feel myself make my eyes widen. I look like a deer in headlights, even though I don’t know what I have been caught for.
?“Your... Emily right? I’m Meredith. What happened to Kristi, Haylee, and Liv?” A girl with extremely thick black hair, dark skin, and black eyes asks. Once those words escape her lips my tongue dries out and lips go numb.
“They ditched her, Mer,” One of the girls in the group with long, straight blonde hair and round, pink glasses whispers in response, but she says it just loud enough that I can hear. Meredith starts tapping her foot, and the blonde girl starts looking around the now empty hallway. So, I begin looking around watching as people leave for lunch, I know that I should be leaving too.
“Okay then, well, we’re going to head to lunch, bye.” One of the girls with strawberry blonde hair and freckles states. I watch as they look at me one last time, before turning away at the exact same time. Once they are no longer in sight, somebody turns off the lights and I am left in the dark. Using my hands, I guide myself to my locker, shove my backpack in and get my lunchbox (there is no way I’m going back to the cafeteria, even to get a sandwich), and walk to my spot in the library.
When I go to class the next day, I realize that I have two groups to avoid - my old friends and the girls that I talked to yesterday. Both of them obviously don't like me, so there would be no point in wasting my time on people who never will. But I know that there is a group out there that will befriend me, I just know it.
A few weeks of school have somehow passed, and I find myself in the newly constructed
history classroom. All of the colors in the spacious room are light, and the chairs have no cushions whatsoever. Before my friends kicked me out of their group, I would have been sitting with them. Maybe if the girls I talked to a few weeks ago liked me, I would have been with them, too. But, this is not the case. As I look at both groups, I know that all of my hope for new friends has disappeared, and I have become tired of myself believing in something that is impossible. After taking a deep breath, I look away, and try to listen to my teacher, again. She continues to lecture about some project we are assigned. Finally she starts to name who is partners with who. If she pairs me with one of my older friends, it could be my way back into the group - if that is what I want. Suddenly, I hear the teacher reveal who my partner is. Her name is Morgan Clemons.
?While Morgan is by far not the partner that I wanted to be paired with, at least it will give me someone to talk to. Each day I decide to call her and we chat about the project, but I find that our conversation always drifts into one of our hobbies, jokes, or something completely random. It seems so surreal to me. Still, we finish the project and submit it on the due date. But, that didn’t stop Morgan and I from being friends. Instead of eating in the library, I find myself sitting with Morgan and her friends Becky and Lilah. Although I sometimes feel like the third wheel, they usually treat me like I have been their friend for ages, even though it has really been about a month. The pain I once felt about Liv, Kristi, and Haylee is lessening while I join up to Becky, Lilah, and Morgan.
As the school year passes by, I am still affected by my old friends, but not nearly as much as I would’ve been if I didn’t have my new ones. Even though I knew my old best friends since Kindergarten, the experiences that I have had with my new friends have made me open my eyes. We spend so much time together, from swimming practices, to just hanging out at one of our houses. It’s obvious to me that our friendship is better than the ones other girls at school have. In my opinion, Becky, Lilah, Morgan, and I are permanent. But, because of my past experiences, I know that anything can happen at any minute.
Even though anything is possible, I choose to live in the moment. These girls have become like a second family to me, something that I never really felt with my old friends. This feeling is as if I was slowly growing wings, and now I am soaring across the sky. Because of my new friends, I have had to change some things that were once part of my daily schedule, like walking home and going to Naturals. Instead, we all bike to Starbucks, and then ride home. Even though I had to change some things, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
All of my friends and I laugh as we leave our 8th grade study hall room. Next year will be the
beginning of high school, a new adventure to tackle. I know that I should be nervous for this, but for some odd reason I’m not. The hallways are full of laughing kids speaking way too loud about their summer plans. Lilah, Morgan, Becky, and I are all vacationing to Canada this summer, and I’ve never been more excited. It has been all we spoke about for weeks. As we push open the large doors and begin to ride our bikes to Starbucks, I realize that my life has never been better than it is now.
Because of my three best friends, I noticed something that I would have never noticed before. This is that it doesn't matter how long you've known people, what matters is how much they care about you. When I was with my old group, I didn’t realize that they were not true friends because I didn’t want to believe it. Now, I look at the world through a whole different lens. So, as I bike next to the people who I call my best friends, I hope that everything will stay the way it is now. The future is not something that is scary anymore, it is something exciting and new waiting to be discovered. The world will decide what happens to our friendship, but for now I am going to ride my bike to Starbucks, with the greatest friends in the universe.