My goal was to explore experiences of my friendships and how they've shaped me and caused me to grow. I feel that my scenes are very descriptive and strong and I am most proud of the picture they create. However, I struggled with finding a unique takeaway in my reflection. I did come to some conclusions, but I could improve on expanding those ideas to make them more prominent takeaways.
Facing the Storm
Laughter from people on the now abandoned lifeguard chair echoed across the mostly empty beach, one of the only sounds besides the lapping ocean. The full moon streamed down and lit the cold sand as we walked, and we were occasionally spooked by a passing floodlight from a house, resembling the pattern of a lighthouse. Drowsily, we sat in the sand, leaning, laughing, flicking sand onto one another. They both knew about my fear of the dark, Avery mocking, him giving me empty haunting looks as they proposed horrific tales. Still we joked as I pressed closer to him, pushing the fears away.
Soon it was almost one in the morning and previous fireworks had faded away, deepening the darkness. Avery, knowing of my new fear of some werewolf type creature, laid in the sand, feigning injury and then transformation. He and I began to run for the dunes, towards home. Falling behind in the half solid ground without shoes I called to him, "Hey, wait for me, and then we can face her together."
I started at him, sprinting with my hand outstretched. His eyes glowed with the thrill of the chase, with real fear hidden in his smile. He paused, then continued to run as she began to charge up the hill. The sand, once packed cooly under my feet, sprayed up from where he ran, causing sharp granules to shoot against my skin. I quickened my pace as he waited breathlessly at the top, slipping my sandals on and my hand into his, laughing fearfully. Avery reached us, panting and snarling with the game. We all laughed and continued down the dune, with me between them, holding hands safely as if we were children crossing a street, instead of teenagers crossing paths with our fears in the night.
We faced nothing but some darkness, some "werewolves", and other shallow mental fears. But as I tightened my grip on their hands, pretending to be afraid of their new jokes, I thought to myself:
Will those we hold closest leave us in our times of need or face the storm with us?
They didn't let go.
In that moment I began reflecting on my life, on the ups and downs and inbetweens. I realize the people who have been there for me have remained the closest to me. As I’ve grown up, those people have shifted from my parents to my close friends. It has occurred to me that part of growing up is creating your own healthy relationships and finding strong support systems for yourself. To me, becoming stronger and smarter with handling my emotions has been learning who is there to help me, instead of isolating and trying to face the storm alone.
I can remember my friends’ shrill singing clear as day.
“On three, one, two, three!”
“Chiquitita, tell me what’s wrong!”, Rose started.
‘I have never seen such sorrow
In your eyes”, Louise responded.
They belted line after line, rehearsed, but sometimes muddled with encouraging laughter. My friends already knew what was wrong, but they sang for the effect. I could see excitement mixed with concern in their faces. They had been preparing this song all summer just to cheer me up in my times of sorrow. Slowly, I felt the strength of their support lifting me and my mood. They were there at my defense, their song creating a shield around me.
“How I hate to see you like this… Wait what’s next?”
More laughter proceeded as they stumbled over their lines, realizing they were all jumbled up. Their perfect performance lasted a good three verses and began to deteriorate, but so did my sadness. The grey of the sky and the cold and the messy rain that drizzled outside faded from my mind. I felt a finalized smile on my face, it had been slowly tilting up throughout the song. I relished in the moment of calm we had uncovered, and stayed in the warm, safe tangle of limbs and blankets. Though my sorrows were to be far from over, I knew that with the help of my friends I could be “dancin' once again, and the pain will end”.
A healthy relationship requires balance, which means I owe it to my friends to help them whenever they need it as well. A friend once came to me saying he felt like a part of him was missing. I rushed to his side immediately and stuck by him even as I learned his troubles were sparked by a bad haircut. I listened and understood that his hair was an extension of his expression, and he just needed love and support to accept the change. As he was there for me in the past, I had no problem being there for him. The love and care my friends have shown me taught me to love and care for others to their extreme extent and to go that extra mile to uplift them in times of need. Before them, my friendships were meager structures that couldn't withstand a fight or a crisis. Now all of my serious relationships are based on mutual support so we can help each other through problems.