The true act of friendship can be a tricky one at unexpected times. Guest writer Serenity Fournier remembers a time in her life when she found out what it meant to be a true friend.
I pride myself in being a pretty loyal friend and overall person. It’s something as I’ve gotten older I realized is so important. I could lie to myself and to you by saying I was always that way – always loyal to the people who either treated me with respect or were loyal to me first. And if there’s one thing I’m not it’s a liar.
The summer of 1995 defined and defines my life in so many ways. A year earlier, I met the creator of this fabulous site (there you go, Jake; mad props) at his school’s version of summer camp. The experience definitely left something to be desired, but Jake made things a lot smoother thanks to his lay of the land and friends up and down the age range. He’s a popular guy for some reason. Okay, maybe I know why; and you will too after reading this.
I befriended several girls my age by the time I went on my annual August trip to stay with my grandparents (something I wrote about in my last column for this site). But you have to understand that I was a ten-year-old girl who liked not-so-girly things. And being ten, I didn’t understand what it meant to be an individual who didn’t care about following the crowd. I wanted acceptance from my fellow girls! And if that meant not talking about Power Rangers and pro wrestling like I would with Jake, or play beautician then that’s what I had to sacrifice. I even went as far as to sacrifice my time with Jake and our mutual male friends because my new friends didn’t care for hanging with the boys. It was obvious Jake picked up on my attitude change and tried to stay out of my way. It sucked that I was pushing away one of my first Richmond, VA friends.
A month before the day I jumped in my parents’ car and headed back to Raleigh, NC for a few weeks with my grandparents, something unexpected occurred that almost destroyed my family. It’s something I refuse to address on such a public forum like the Internet, but people and friends who have known or know me understand why. Lets just say that it was heartbreaking to say the least.
Most of July I spent in my room, crying my little eyes out; trying to understand how something so tragic could happen. July was starting to come to a close and I didn’t have any more tears to cry. My parents, who were struggling to keep themselves emotionally stable in front of me, suggested that I go back to camp for a few days to get my mind off things and say goodbye to my friends who didn’t know where I was or didn’t know why I was gone. I didn’t want to leave my home and have to explain my disappearance. My parents assured me that no one would ask. Sadly, they were right about the last sentiment.
Returning to camp, I was downright depressed. There was an obvious dark cloud hanging over me and anyone who didn’t want to be drenched in my rainy depression stayed away – including most of the girls I changed to hang around. Not far from the playground was a hill leading to an entrance to a small wooded area. I took a seat on the hill as the day started coming to a close, barely able to keep my head from drooping. I suddenly heard someone walking my way. I never looked up because I really didn’t care. This person took a seat beside me. I still didn’t look up.
Then I heard this person say, “You need something?”
I finally looked up when I recognized his voice. It was Jake, sitting with me; asking if he could do something to help his down, so-called friend who refused to even be bothered with him weeks ago. He didn’t care about that. Jake just saw a friend of his hurting and wanted to help her.
I shook my head because I couldn’t think of anything he could do to help me. It didn’t take long before I realized he had done everything I could ask of him by being a friend when no one else would take the job. He never asked why I was down, not trying to pry into my hurt. He just wanted to help.
I never forgot that moment. It was the first time I can truly say I knew what it meant to be a true friend.