Column: Finding closure

‘You were the first true friend I ever had. Since then, I was excited to go to school.’

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Clarise Tujardon

"I'll always remember you and you’ll always hold an important place in my heart. I love you and I wish you the best. Goodbye, Shelly Belly Guacamole."

I don’t remember much about elementary, but I know you were a significant part of that time in my life. I didn’t have a large group of friends as a child and because of that, I always felt alone.

That was until I met you in second grade.

You were the first true friend I ever had. Since then, I was excited to go to school. Every day, we played outside on the playground and chased after each other and laughed until recess was over. When we adopted caterpillars, we helped each other take of them until they became butterflies. Those were the best times of my childhood.

In third grade, I was saddened you and I were no longer in the same homeroom and I thought it would be the end of our friendship.

Just when I was about to break down into tears, I found out we had gym together and I realized our friendship was far from over. I smiled as you gave me a hug the second I saw you. A part of me was still hurt we didn’t have the same homeroom and the only time we could spend together was in gym class, which I hated more than anything in the world. I decided it was better than not being able to spend time with each other at all.

To my surprise, gym class didn’t turn out as terrible as I thought it would. We still played with each other like the little girls we were and I couldn’t be any more grateful. Your friendship was a blessing, too. Unlike the other kids, I didn’t know how to tie my own shoes and I always asked you to tie my shoes for me. A couple of days later at recess, you decided to teach me how to tie them. I became frustrated, but you never gave up on me. A few weeks later, I finally learned how to tie my own shoes and we were both beaming at our accomplishment. I then looked at you laughing and said “Finally you don’t have to tie my shoes ever again.”

Over the next three years, you and I became close friends to the point where I viewed you as a sister. As time went by, I was able to make other friends and you all went to my birthday parties. We shared numerous laughs I’ll remember until the end of time.

Everything changed when we entered middle school. You began taking advanced level classes and I became obsessed with Twilight and wore pink hair clip-ons. We were still close friends, but it felt like we were starting to slowly drift apart as we grew up. I thought I was just being paranoid or insecure because I didn’t want to lose you.

When eighth grade started, I missed three weeks of school and when I came back, you started hanging out with a new group of friends. It felt like you were starting to forget about me. You began to spend more time with them and I felt jealous. You were my best friend and I missed when it was only the both of us.

That’s when I asked you to choose. Me or them. For the first time, I saw you cry. I hated myself for that, even though I never admitted it to you. If I could go back in time, I would’ve never done any of those things.

For the remainder of the school year, our friendship changed. We never talked the way we used to because our conversations became awkward and you never looked at me the same anymore.

Finally, on the day of eighth-grade graduation we texted each other and it felt like we were the girls we were back in elementary. After the ceremony, my mom took a picture of us and we hugged each other. That was the last time I saw you.

After that day, I attempted to text you but you never responded to any of my messages. You never said goodbye to me before I moved to Texas, which crushed my heart. You don’t know how much I missed you or that I read the letter you wrote me in eighth grade 10 years before I was supposed to read it, in which you expressed your feelings on how hurt you were because of my actions.

For the past three years, I carried that guilt with me until a few days ago when I read your letter with a new perspective. I am no longer the 14-year-old little girl who was filled with anger, but a young woman who wants to become a better version of herself. Though it was hard to read your letter, I realize I had to in order to forgive myself, even if it caused me to cry myself to sleep after reading it.

As I finish writing this, I want you to know I didn’t write this specifically for you or to get you to talk to me. But for myself. I want to let go of this part of my life and find closure. You were an important part of my life and I want to thank you for everything you did for me. And finally, I’m sorry for the way I acted and I want you to know I’ve matured through the years.

I’ll always remember you and you’ll always hold an important place in my heart. I love you and I wish you the best. Goodbye, Shelly Belly Guacamole.