From Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend's Soul


It is a sweet thing, friendship, a dear balm, a happy and auspicious bird of calm.

Shelbey Shelley

The silence was almost unbearably uncomfortable. I was too nervous to speak, and I think everyone else was, too. The car ride seemed endless. Once in a while, we would look at each other and force a smile, but our smiles were more nervous than warm.

I don’t know what she was thinking about, but I know that memories flooded my mind. I was remembering my first day of school, when I felt like there was a spotlight shining on me and someone had written “new” on my forehead. She simply looked at me, took my hand and said, “Come on. I’ll help you find your homeroom.”

Then there was the time I missed the winning foul shot in a sixth-grade basketball game. The other team was up by one point, and I got fouled just as the buzzer went off. I was allowed one-and-one foul shots, but I missed the first one and the other team won the game. I was angry at myself and apologetic to my team. I felt as though I had let the whole world down. I sat on the bleachers with my head in my hands. Suddenly, I felt her hand rest on my shoulder and a flood of warmth and understanding ran through me. When I looked up, she saw how crushed I was, and tears came to her eyes. She hugged me and told me the story of when she knocked herself out with her own hockey stick during a game. Laughter quickly overcame my tears.

She was also right there when my first boyfriend broke up with me. As I hung up the phone, I could feel tears making my throat close. I felt as though someone had taken my heart away from me in a matter of minutes. She hugged me, and I clung to her as though she were the only thing I had left in the world. Somehow I knew everything would be all right.

As I came back from my daydreams, I realized that our road trip was almost at its end. Only one hour left. She started twirling her hair like she does when she gets nervous. I saw a single tear roll down her cheek. It seemed to take the rest of the car ride for it to reach her chin.

When we drove onto the enormous campus, the rainstorm that had mysteriously appeared was subsiding. We found our way to her assigned dorm, unpacked her things and were standing at the car about to say our good-byes; I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t say good-bye. We stared at each other, tears streaming down our faces. One long hug and a kiss on the cheek were our farewell. I climbed into the car and strapped on my seat belt.

She sat down in the grass and watched us pull out of the driveway. I stared through the rearview mirror at my best friend whom I was leaving behind at college. I stared until the car turned the corner and buildings blocked my view of my sister who was also my best friend. I looked up into the sky, and through the leftover clouds I saw one single bright ray of sunshine. It was going to be okay.

Sarah Wood

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