Best Friends

By xInSaNexBlOoDyxPrInCeSs

When I moved in, first grade

You lived just across the street

You played soccer with me

That first day

We went to school

First grade

And I was your best friend

And you were my best friend, too

We played together everyday

We played soccer

And football

And even jump rope

But starting in second grade

My other friends

Didn't like you that much

"But he's my best friend," I'd say.

"But he's a boy," one said.

"Girls aren't best friends with boys."

I didn't say anything.

I looked down at my shoes.

I was very, very sorry.

We didn't play together at school.

But after school

We were always together

But then in sixth grade

We grew too old

Rarely did we find anything

That we wanted to do together

I liked makeup

And reading Seventeen

You liked baseball

And reading Sports Illustrated

I tried to feel interested

And you did too

But it couldn't be helped

We were slowly drifting apart

In eighth grade

You moved away

To another street

A few blocks away

I tried to go to your house

To be your best friend again

But my friends stopped me

"Boys and girls aren't best friends."

I thought that they were right

And so I left you alone

And whenever I saw you at school

I did my best to not feel guilty

But then at the end of eighth grade

You moved away

To Japan, of all places!

And I couldn't even be your friend

Sure, we called each other

But the conversations were stiff

Sure, we instant messaged

But I found it hard to type anything

But one day

My 'friends' told me I was a bitch

A slut, a whore

Someone who has no friends

I began crying

I slumped on the wall

Some people looked at me

But they soon walked away

I missed you so much

I knew you were really my best friend

So I shouted out your name

Even though you lived in Japan

And then you said, "What's wrong?"

I looked up

You were there

It wasn't possible

I asked, "How?"

You laughed

"I came to visit," you said

"What's wrong?"

And I told you everything

All from the first grade to now

You listened very carefully

And at the end, you hugged me

It wasn't a romantic hug

It was a friendly hug

And it was like

You squeezed all the misery out of me

You said, "Gender doesn't matter"

"It doesn't?" I asked

You nodded

And smiled

"You're still my best friend

"Through and through

"And I'm still your best friend

"No matter what those girls say

"Gender doesn't matter

"Or race, or height, or weight

"Because friendship is something

"That makes all those things not matter"

And I smiled

Because I knew you were right

Because I knew you were happy

Because you were my best friend

There are lots of real-life stories like this, apparently. I have a few friends myself whose best friends were the boy who lived across the street—the only kid their age. When they reach puberty, however, the boy and girl usually start drifting slowly apart. They think gender is something they can never bridge with friendship. But you can.