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  • Alexandra Hillenbrand

you've got a friend

Isn't it so insane that we are all souls put on this planet, just running around and searching for connection? As children, we discover if this comes easily to us or not. You go to your first day of pre-school and you meet someone who likes the same flavor glue as you. The next day, you're in their backyard running through the clear water of their green garden hose. Their mom brings you lemonade and cold grapes and you eat them on their back porch. The little blonde-haired girl is your best friend forever. Even if forever only lasts a week. Or until you get assigned to a different homeroom teacher. In the September sun, the two of you hold hands and the world feels so perfectly quaint.

Walking to the park when you were 13, did you ever bend down to tie your shoelace and look up to see that everyone kept walking without you? You had the thought, 'If I just never caught up to them, they might not even notice that I'm gone.' Of course, regardless, you tie your shoes quickly and run to meet them. It is not worth the risk of being forgotten. The risk of learning no one was willing to stand with you while you tied yourself together.

This scenario follows you throughout the rest of your life. Who is willing to stand with you while you kneel on the sidewalk? Who waits for you to pull the gravel out of your knees and brush the grass off your ankles? When there is no one there on that sidewalk with you, watching them walk away opens the same wound you thought had healed. Wasting your time catching up to people, their expectations, and their needs. It conditions you to chase after them. Knowing the truth: that if you turned around and walked home, no one would notice.

There are so many people willing to wait for you. Even truer is this - you are worth waiting for. Life only gets harder when we get older. There are so many reasons for us to stop on the sidewalk. When our throats get tight and the world gets too close to us. Loss, devastation, grief, heartbreak, disappointment, failure. We all get hurt and we all hurt other people. When you find yourself becoming too close to human - infallible and broken - it is nice to have people to sit with you in the silence of your sadness.

A piggyback. A ride to the train station. Wheelbarrowing you to your front porch. When you have a friend, that is what they will do for you to carry you home. To lift up the heaviness of the world, to throw themselves on the floor to sit with you, to bend down and tie your shoes before you even notice they were unraveled.

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