To all of you,

Growing up across the street from someone can make way for great friendships, and endless memories. When we were young, it was never just my sister and I: it was Jessica, and I, and all the neighborhood kids. We formed close bonds with those who lived next door, and even down the road. Some of these bonds came with bad influences, while others came with healthy friendships. Either way, if you were from the neighborhood, and you were around our age, chances are we were pretty good friends.

At the start of our time there, I had two friends. They were sisters, both blonde, and both with the same initials: Kaylee, and Kelsey. We would spend hours outside, sometimes playing on their swing set, sometimes mine, but always playing together. The oldest of the two was my age, so we “tried out” for t-ball together when we were finally old enough. Unfortunately, we ended up on different teams, so we couldn’t spend as much time together as we had planned. As the days drug on, we made other friends, and my two neighbors moved away, leaving behind nothing but memories. I remember being upset that they didn’t even say goodbye. 

We were having a butterfly funeral with my cousins when we met a pair of new neighbors. They had just moved into the house across the street, so there was no way we weren’t going to be best friends. Katherine was my sisters age, and Julie was mine: All the more reason to be best friends. We played “courthouse” in our back yard: making up trials, and taking turns at being the judge, the lawyer, the defendant, and the plaintiff. If I was the judge, chances are Jessica would be found guilty. We would also pretend to be chefs for our imaginary friends, the saw-saws. We’d make them dirt soup by filling an empty bucket up with dirt, rock, water, and grass… whatever was most disgusting because the saw-saws were NOT our friends. We’d make those bead animals for eachother, mine was always the lizard. We’d use their computer on rainy days, because theirs had better games. Jessica and I helped Julie learn to ride a bike, but Julie taught me to be a good friend. 

My parents had slightly discussed maybe moving one day, and I had told Julie about it, making it seem like a for sure thing. So when her parents called to tell my parents about the fact that I’d unintentionally made they’re daughter cry, I felt like a horrible friend. Funny thing is though, they were the ones who moved out of the neighborhood first. I saw her once after the move, for her 7th birthday party: apparently, I was the surprise. I could feel her new friends glares as we reunited over frosting cupcakes and catching up, like they completely hated me. It was a sleepover, so the next morning, as I was getting ready to leave, her brother asked something along the lines of if we could play cars next time I came by. I nodded, hugged Julie goodbye, and that was it. 

We had a few characters after that. There was the girl who thought our dad was our brother, seeing as how she had never known her own. There was the one who moved away, telling us she was going to live in the Disneyland castle. There was the girl who stole my mom’s bike, the one who picked apples with me, from the tree outside. There were the redheads, the one with the dad who smoked. The boy I called Christopher Robbin, and the girl with my sister’s name. 

Growing up, there are a lot of chances to make friends, but there are also many ways to lose them. Sometimes, it’s through disagreements that you let fester. Sometimes, it’s through not making time for eachother anymore. But for a young kid, with only a bike for transportation, it can be as simple as a move across town. I wouldn’t change the friends I had and lost, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. It was those experiences that helped shape me into the person I am. It was those people, the ones who made it so hard to say goodbye to them, that really taught me anything about friendships. And I wouldn’t change anything.

I hope you’re all doing well,

Melissa

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