“Oh, God, how do I tell her?” I thought, starting to panic. It was August of our first year in high school – and our first year having no classes together. The what-if’s bounced around in my head. “Just do it,” I told myself. “She is your best friend.” I flashed back to two years ago when we met. I almost smiled a little..almost. My thoughts jumped to the summer after seventh grade. The pain was unbearable, the secret swelling in my chest until I could do nothing but scream. No more of this, I decided. Taking a deep breath, I did one of the hardest things I would ever do. I told her.
In life, many things shape who you are and what you do. One thing that I have found to be true is that the people in your life do the most important shaping of all, whether it be positive or negative. My beliefs have been shattered and restored more times than I can count over the course of my sixteen years on Earth. Perhaps the most important belief to have been given to me was a gift from my best friend, Cristina. She taught me many things, the most important of which being that no matter what hardships might come our way, our friendship will always be stronger. I believe that friendship can overcome anything, can transcend any situation. Though my belief has been tested over the years, I still hold fast to the truth that lies in my relationship with Tina.
Telling my best friend that I was raped was ridiculously difficult. She was the first person I ever sat down and honestly discussed it with – she was the only person I would trust. I was terrified that she would not believe me or that it would change the way she viewed me and our relationship, and I’d have to say that it has – for the better. That day, sitting on the floor in her room, I opened up to her in a way I have honestly never opened up with anyone else since. (I am terrified of vulnerability, even if I’d never admit it to anyone.) Tina was incredible; she listened and tried to understand. She became my rock through the stressful and terrible reality that became a part of both of our lives. At times, the stress was too much for either of us to handle – my relationships with many friends became strained because so few knew what went on inside my head and why I acted the way I did. My emotions were overwhelming and, honestly, I spent a great deal of my time “all over the place” mentally and emotionally. I became angry and bitter as time went on, and lashed out at the world around me. The ones I loved received the most harsh words, and for that I am sorry. Unlike several close friends, Tina refused to quit. Sure, she got frustrated, and for a little while it was uncertain if we would ever be able to speak again, but the emotional connection we shared overcame it. My depression was sometimes impenetrable, and at times I’ll admit I was unreasonable. But through the confusion and emotional chaos, Tina was by my side. True, we fought – we still do. That might actually be an understatement. But following every fight, we draw a little closer to each other. I don’t think I’ve ever said “I’m sorry” to someone so many times. I know for a fact I have never felt so heartbroken and remorseful about fighting with anyone else. She didn’t deserve the stress or the hurt of the emotional burden I gave her. But time after time she chose to be there for me and to catch me every time I fell. Together we are unbreakable.
Though it took me over a year to tell her, I’ve never been more certain of my decision. She is my best friend, through thick and thin. Through the bitterness and fights, our relationship has been made strong. The love I have for her is so great that words fail me time after time. I can’t express how grateful I am to have her in my life. She has offered me strength in times where all I have is weakness, and has restored my faith in love, and friendship. My relationship with her brought me back from a place of intense pain and betrayal and into a place of trust and laughter. I could never thank her enough for the gift she has given me: the gift of hope, and of a kinship so powerful that I know, no matter what the future brings, we will never truly be apart.