I was just turning fourteen when my new adventure began as I entered high school. Having many friends from middle school was a help, but there was always room to make new friends. Many new faces passed by as I walked along the hallway, from jocks to nerds and skaters to Goths. I thought, “Any one of these people will soon be my high school friends.” Making a new friend is like exploring a whole different world — a world where anything can be discovered and revealed. But the only way of revealing the secrets of this world is to break down the ice.
As the day dragged along, I wasn’t sure about friendship until I saw this girl who stood out amongst everyone else. She had something about her that stood out, something I can’t quite explain. Whether it was her smile that was pure, or her shining eyes, it was just something that made me want to find out who she was.
Annie Wei, a freshman with me James Lick High School. A girl I shared three classes with, a girl, who now I know, would be my friend all through high school and on. Ever since I first approached her, we have been getting along in every aspect. We shared similar taste in food, favorite movies, and future careers. It was as though she was my soul mate and the one close friend that every high school student should have in their lifetime. Annie was never sad nor mad; she was always smiling even when other people made fun of her. Nothing ever got past Annie’s smile, not even the tragic life she had to deal with at home.
I thought I knew everything that could be known about Annie, but that was a mistake. Annie had a step mom and two step brothers who were in kindergarten. Her father had a job which required him to travel for months, maybe even years. Her step mom would often hit her for made up reasons. She would pick up Annie at school and wait for 40 seconds; if Annie wasn’t there, she would leave. Annie lived in the mountains, exactly 2 hours and 54 minutes away by walking distance. Throughout high school, Annie had 1 pair of shoes, 4 sweaters and jackets, and 2 pair of jeans. Everyone knew because some of her clothes had non-removable stains that are noticeable. Never once did Annie ever shared her problems, she would always smile and that’s all she did. Even after two years, Annie still had that ice wall blocking out a true understanding of our friendship.
I believe that it takes time before you can break the ice between two individuals. There will always be ice walls blocking the path of exploring a new world. And I believe that if you have the will power of discovering what is hidden inside someone, then those thick ice walls can be broken.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.