From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

Two Girls and a Friendship

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi

Among the trinkets and decorative items in a fifteen-year-old girl’s room, one stood out boldly—a bright blue clay vase with colorful painted flowers. Not a perfect or beautiful vase, this one is broken in several places. The owner of the vase has carefully mended it, but spiderlike cracks remain. If this vase could talk, it would tell the story of two girls and a friendship.

Amy and June met on an airplane on their way home from Bangkok where their fathers, who were business partners, were attending meetings. June sat behind Amy. Halfway toward home, Amy turned around hesitantly and gave June a bright blue vase made of clay. It was a small gesture, but a token of friendship and an introduction. June accepted, and they smiled shyly at each other. And on that day, a simple friendship between two four-year-olds was established.

Years flew by. Amy and June grew up together, played together, studied together and, naturally, became each other’s closest confidante. June cried on Amy’s shoulder when her little puppy died in a car accident. June was there for Amy when she fell during a gymnastic routine in the talent show and everyone had laughed at her. When June ran away at the age of ten after an argument with her mother, it was Amy who convinced her to go back home. And it was June who comforted Amy when Amy’s favorite uncle passed away. June was part of Amy, as Amy was part of June.

Life is not, and never will be, a bed of roses. People change as they grow up, for better or for worse. Sometimes these changes are hard to accept. And even the most special friendships can be destroyed. When she was fourteen, Amy met a boy. A boy, to fourteen-year-old Amy, was heaven-sent. Amy started hanging out with this boy all the time, and she started to see less and less of June. And although June was hurt, she tried to be understanding. She was still there for Amy when Amy had arguments with her boyfriend and needed a shoulder to cry on. But Amy wasn’t there when June needed her. June was going through a difficult period and found herself mildly depressed. But Amy still leaned on June for relationship support. Upset and depressed about the state of their friendship, June invited Amy to her house to talk. When June tried to bring up her difficulties and her problems, Amy brushed her off by saying, “Later.” Instead, Amy asked June for ideas for what she should buy for her boyfriend on their half-year anniversary. June couldn’t take it anymore. Anger, sadness, resentment, betrayal and disappointment washed over her. June exploded. She started crying and yelling at Amy.

“What am I to you, Amy? Your friend or just your little dog?” June cried. June was hoping for an apology and some support. Instead, Amy was defensive and yelled back at June. A friendship of ten years was disintegrating before their eyes. And there was nothing either of them could do about it.

“That’s it, June! I hate you!” Amy yelled. There was no way of taking it back. June stared at Amy tearfully. Amy broke eye contact and spun around on her heel and stomped out of June’s room, slamming the door hard behind her. A blue vase on the shelf jumped and fell onto the floor, smashing into several pieces. Unstoppable tears flowed freely as June knelt down on the floor and picked up the pieces. No more giggling, no more gossiping, no more endless sleepovers and no more long phone sessions with her best friend. Ten years of friendship . . . shattered like the vase, the vase that she had so preciously taken care of all these years, the vase that symbolized all that was wonderful about friendship.

The pain of losing a best friend, losing the one you trusted most, is worse than a thousand stabbing knives. Collapsing into a heap on the floor, June cried uncontrollably. This was not one of the stupid arguments she and Amy had sometimes. This was serious and possibly irreparable. A horrible emptiness filled her heart. She knew they had lost that special bond between them. She also knew there was no way of bringing it back. It was over.

At school, June and Amy were stiff and polite with one another. Not long after their argument, Amy broke up with her boyfriend. But both were stubborn, and remained icy and distant. Amy had not forgiven June for June’s cruel words. And even June could not find a place in her heart where she could forgive Amy. Hurt and betrayal took time to heal. Sort of like the vase. The broken pieces lay unmended in June’s dresser drawer. Even if it was put back together again, no matter how carefully, cracks would remain. A broken vase could never be per- fect again.

One year passed. It was June’s fifteenth birthday. Instead of feeling happy, June only felt gloom. She remembered her fourteenth birthday, one month before their big fight. It had been a great one, and they had been so happy. They had giggled over the silliest things and engaged in a food fight. They had vowed their friendship would last for an eternity. Bittersweet tears filled June’s eyes. She could still remember an image of four-year-old Amy holding out the blue vase to her.

The doorbell rang. June hopped up and rushed to the door. She was expecting her cousin. The door swung open. June froze. Amy stood at the doorstep, holding a small package. “I just wanted to say, well, I . . .” The former best friends looked at each other, their emotions mirrored on each other’s faces. “Hap . . . happy birthday, June,” Amy finally stammered out. She shoved the gift into June’s hand and ran down the pathway. June felt compelled to chase after her, but she didn’t. Instead, she closed the door gently.

Going to her room, she sat down on her bed and opened the gift. It was a bracelet. Attached to it was a note that read, “Dear June, Happy Fifteenth Birthday, Amy.” At the bottom was a small, “P. S. I’m sorry.” Two words. Two simple words that filled June’s heart with joy. She picked up the phone to call Amy. And made a mental note to mend her broken vase. Even though it would never be perfect, an imperfect vase was better than a shattered one.

Pey Jung Yeong

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