Posted: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 1:35:11 AM
When I was just a little girl, my mother became seriously ill and was diagnosed with lupus. This was an extremely difficult time for my family, and it led to us moving to Eastern Ohio, near my mother’s parents so that they could help my mom and dad with me and my siblings. When we started going to a new church, I met a girl my age named Emily. We found that we had many similarities: we both loved doll babies and dogs and horses; we both had an older brother and at least one younger sister.
At six years old, that was enough proof that we should be best friends, and so we announced ourselves as such and became inseparable. During these delightful few years with Emily, my mother continued to suffer. The only doctor who could help was located in Southern California. His unorthodox remedies combined with the dry climate of California were our only hope, so we packed up our belongings and moved to the opposite of the farm country where I had been raised. I was heartbroken. Emily couldn’t come, of course. We said our goodbyes outside of her house – I remember the garden full of sunflowers where I left her. We were eight years old.
Emily and I missed each other terribly. We talked on the phone and sent letters, but I cried often when I thought of her. One year for my birthday, she sent me a card. It was a pretty shade of blue and had dandelions pictured on the front. I opened it, and out came a song.
When the night has come, and the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we will see
No, I won't be afraid, oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
The words of Ben E. King played over and over as I read her scrawled writing on the side. She told me about her animals and that I should have a nice birthday. I treasured that card. I put it in a special place in my room and listened to it every time I missed her. The simple words of that song she chose told me that my best friend will always be there for me, whether I’m having a difficult time adjusting to a new school or if my mom is very sick, just as I will always be there for her.
It’s been ten years since Emily and I became best friends. For eight of those years, a few weeks in summer is most of the time we see each other. My mother is miraculously well, though we must remain in California to keep her that way. We missed each other’s Sweet 16s and we aren’t able to go through high school together, but Emily and I always pick up where we leave off.. We’ve been through many difficult circumstances together, and through it all, she’s stood by me.