The Power of Companionship

David - Poway, CA, California
Entered on January 16, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

“Your grandmother just had a stroke this morning, have a nice day at school.” The exhaust fumes from my mom’s car seem like the only tangible object in the school parking lot. I feel like I could crumple on the asphalt and lay there for eternity. My grandmother? Memories of my childhood with her blur my vision, her toiling away each year to make me homemade pajamas each Christmas, her bringing me chicken broth which somehow served as a panacea to my every childhood illness, the card games, the magic tricks, the daily art projects, and mostly the way her creased pensive face would light up when she saw me. Now I didn’t know if I would ever see her again. What if she could never talk again? What if she couldn’t remember me? What if she was dead? Only the stringent, acrid, scent of carbon dioxide could answer me now. I trek across the gray school yard, lost in thought, staring blankly ahead, hollow to the world around me, my consciousness separated from my physical body.

The boy plasters a smile to his face, masking his broken self. The boy approaches his group of friends in the bleak morning and listens to them complain about homework, driving, AP classes, and keeping his lips sealed about his own internal crisis. From this encounter, the boy rediscovers patience, just as his grandmother would spend hours rocking him to quiet him down as a baby. The next class takes him to a friend that is also suffering loss, and although he keeps silent about his own issues he rediscovers nurture and sympathy through simple words and gestures of consolation, similar to the chicken broth his grandmother used to give him when he was ill. He begins to feel part of his being return to him through his friends. David, still exhausted, wanders to his usual group of friends for lunch and gets a hug from one of them. It is a commonplace greeting for him, but somehow today it makes him feel comforted, like the homemade cookies his grandmother used to make him when he was upset. His spirits lifted, David strolls back to class after lunch, looking at the expanse of blue sky ahead of him, cherishing all of those childhood memories with his grandmother that he was so fortunate to have. Suddenly a rush of blonde hair passes over his eyes and bright blue- eyed girl tells him some entertaining story unmemorable to him in content, but meaningful to him still to this day because I laughed, finally feeling like I could breathe again, finally feeling like myself.

For this very reason I believe in the power of companionship. Though I was hollow and shattered at the onset of my day, my friends were there for me the whole time without even knowing it, reminding me of some of the best times of my life, and helping me recollect the pieces of my being. Through their presence, somehow no matter what happened I knew would end up alright. Through various seemingly “normal” experiences my friends helped me rediscover myself and overcome the grief that plagued me, filling in my shattered, hollow self through mere association. Though my grandmother was never the same after her stroke, I rely on the power of companionship every day, to inspire me to live my life to my full potential like my grandmother would want me to, and most importantly to laugh and enjoy life every day.