THERE IS NO END IN FRIEND

THERE IS NO END IN FRIEND

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV

There Is No End in Friend

Lauren and I met during summer camp after fifth grade. We were stargazing. She was looking for Orion and I was lying on my back searching the night sky for the Little Dipper when she tripped over me and fell backwards.

“Oh sorry! I was trying to find the stars in Orion’s belt and . . .”

I took her hand and pointed with it to the sky. “Just over there.”

She smiled and introduced me to the Little Dipper. That was right where it all began, a chance encounter with a fellow camper as curious as I was about the stars.

Lauren and I were instant friends, spending the remainder of the summer together jumping rope, swimming in the lake, crushing over the cute camp counselor and gushing over our diaries by candlelight. We were attached at the hip—partners in crime, secret handshakes and lazy-day promises over fresh-squeezed lemonade to remain friends forever. She beat me at checkers and I was the chess champion. We both had June birthdays, annoying younger brothers and last names that started with W. We both loved books, funny movies and laughing until we cried.

Lauren and I lived two hours apart, so during the school year we went months without seeing each other. We maintained our long-distance friendship by telephone and e-mail. When boys broke my heart, she was there to console me at 2:00 A.M. on a school night and when Lauren’s parents divorced when we were in ninth grade, Lauren came to visit for a long weekend and cried on my shoulder into pockets-full of Kleenex.

No matter what happened in our lives, we knew we would get through it because we had each other. We were convinced that a good friend was the best medicine, especially a friend that could make you laugh.

“There’s no end in friend,” Lauren said.

“You’re right . . .”

“You are the sugar in my tea.”

“Today I feel like coffee.”

“Okay then. I’m the cream in your coffee.”

“Half-and-half.”

Through thick and thin, love lost and found, family tragedy and fair-weather friends, we always knew that the other was only a couple of hours drive up the coast, an instant message, an e-mail or a phone call away.

When Lauren met her high-school sweetheart, she sent me photographs and made sure he called me on the phone so I could approve of him. His name was Isaac and he seemed really nice. She promised to dig up one of his friends so we could double-date the next time I went to visit her.

“Awesome. I love you to death,” I said, laughing.

“Oh yeah! Well, I love you to life!” Lauren exclaimed, voice creaking through the phone.

And she was right. She always knew how to rewrite the rules so that things made perfect sense. She modernized clichés and came up with secret passwords and sayings that suited us like twin, red dresses and matching pigtails.

The distance between our homes couldn’t separate the bond we had. Lauren and I would be best friends forever. She was my soul mate, finishing my sentences and blowing me kisses from her backyard to mine.

Lauren and Isaac broke up about a year later, and I had just broken up with my boyfriend, Jake, a few weeks previously. Sweet sixteen was right around the corner for both of us and school was almost out for the summer. For some time, Lauren and I had been talking about going back to camp and now that we were old enough to attend as counselors with a summer salary to boot, we decided to return.

We spent our summer the same way we had six years earlier—stargazing, river rafting and crushing on the cute counselors over juice and pretzels. It was the first time since junior high we were able to spend the entire month together. We had grown up. Once upon a time we were little girls, whispering after lights-out and misspelling words in our diaries. Now we had driver’s licenses, SAT prep courses and unrequited love stories. We had mastered the art of kissing boys, acing English papers and coming up with good excuses for getting home after curfew. We swapped stories, gave advice, listened and talked through the night. Virtually exhausted every afternoon, we napped in a heap on the counselors’ couch.

On the last night of camp, we hiked to the top of Silver Mountain with our flashlights, and sprawled out in the dirt and grass, young women giggling and reminiscing about the first night we met.

“It was right over there,” I said, pointing.

“I tripped over you just like this!” Lauren laughed, pushing me into the dirt.

Lying on our backs, eyes to the sky Lauren raised her hand. “You see that up there? That’s Gemini.”

I looked over her shoulder. “Where?” I asked.

“See the two heads? And the legs coming down—like that.”

I squinted and sure enough there they were. Twins joined at the hip, best friends forever hanging out in the sky.

Rebecca Woolf

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