I Believe in the Sanctity of the Pinkie-Promise
Second grade was a good year for me. In part, because I was the rising tetherball champion at recess and I was finally learning the foreign art of cursive writing, but also because, while I didn’t appreciate it at the time, my relationship struggles ranged from finding someone to sit with at lunch to making sure I didn’t get partnered with the kid who ate his boogers. If only trust was as simple as a pinkie promise or the matching bracelets you shared with your best friend promising eternal friendship and slumber parties.
During my sophomore year in high school, my understanding of trust was completely challenged in an experience that turned my peachy keen world upside-down.
“I’m dying,” she said to me. I don’t remember exactly what she said next. What I do remember is feeling the scratchy carpet under my bare feet, the sink running in the bathroom across the hall, and a Lysol commercial coming on in the background as my world came to a screeching halt. “What?” I asked my best friend. She went on to explain that she had a 40% chance of living till that September because her brain was bleeding to death due to complications that had begun to arise from her having Brittle Bone Disease.
It didn’t strike me odd at the time that she didn’t cry when she told me this. I suppose at the time I assumed she’d known about it for a long time and had come to accept it or that maybe she was just very hopeful about a recovery.
In any case, nothing could have prepared me to learn that it was all a lie.
I won’t go into all of the details because, to be honest, I’m absolutely embarrassed that I believed any of it. Nor will I explain the shocking and heartbreaking path of discovery my other best friend and I endured in seeking the truth. I will say this: she went to enormous lengths to have us fooled and for a time, she was successful. I still remember the tears I shed over the expectation of losing someone so close, all to find out it was just some desperate bid for attention.
I did take something from our shattered friendship. Not only do I practice extreme caution when I share my trust, and more fully appreciate those with whom I know I share complete reliance, I appreciate the role I have in other people’s lives as someone to depend on.
This is what I know: don’t talk to strangers, never overheat a hotdog, and not all boys have cooties. And if you have honest, true relationships, hold on tight. They mean more to you than you know. Pinkie promise.
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