Monday, May 23, 2005

A Tale of Two Friends

the following was my first attempt at writing anything after a long (10+years) time. It was a story I had told to Erynn, and then to my students, who decided I should write it down.
This story couldn't begin with "Once upon a time," because it's not about a time long ago, but a time of "now." This is the story about Erynn and Emily: two inseparable friends.
They met in Nebraska, when Erynn was three. Each summer Erynn went to Nebraska to visit her Grandma. Erynn and Emily would spend hours coloring, cutting and playing make-believe. One day they were princesses, searching for dragons, the next day they would be dragons, looking for friendly princesses! Emily loved to pretend to be the baby dragon, and have "Princess Erynn" find her.
Each year it was always so sad when it was time for Erynn to come back to California. She would hug Emily, tears welling in her eyes. Even though they would see each other again, it seemed like forever.
One Christmas, when Erynn was six, she got the most wonderful present ever. For reasons never quite understood but always appreciated, Emily was sent to live with Erynn and her family. Erynn was so excited! Now, not only would Erynn and Emily be Best Friends, they would be sisters! And Emily would never be a bratty or bossy sister. They would be like twin sisters: inseparable.
And inseparable they were! They ate breakfast together. They ate dinner together. They watched Saturday morning cartoons together. In fact, the only time they weren't together was when Erynn was in school. Emily couldn't go to school because they didn't have programs for "special" people like her, so she did "home school." Many times Erynn begged to stay home with Emily, but her Mom (and Emily too) told her that school was best for Erynn, and Home school was best for Emily.
Grade school and make-believe gave way to junior high and real adventures. The summer after eighth-grade, Erynn and Emily went to New York city. They gazed out from the crown atop the Statue of Liberty. They stood awestruck on top of the World Trade Center. Erynn even found a way to sneak Emily into a Broadway show! They sat in the darkened theatre and watched "The Lion King."
Junior High is a rocky time for all teens, including Erynn and Emily. Perhaps Emily felt Erynn didn't care, or maybe it was an accident, but one day Emily disappeared. They had been at a "sleepover," and when morning broke, Emily was nowhere to be found! Although the authorities were notified, six sleepless nights followed before the phone call came: Emily was found hiding at the sleepover house. Numerous apologies, tears and hugs eventually convinced Emily that she was a valued member of the family and she returned home with Erynn.
Few childhood friendships survive junior high, but rarer still are the friendships which survive high school. Although many of Erynn's school friends ribbed and teased her about her strange and different friend Emily, most of them came to at least accept Emily's involvement. Many became enchanted by her vulnerability and charm.
As the end of her senior year approached, Erynn began to consider colleges. Erynn wasn't sure that college was the beset choice for Emily. Perhaps Emily should remain at home with the family...
"Emily," explained Erynn, "college is for adults, and maybe you're just not ready yet. But I promise I'll come back at Thanksgiving to see you."
Emily didn't say a word, she just stared forlornly with her head tilted at Erynn.
"Besides," continued Erynn, "what if some of the college kids tease you? You wouldn't want that, would you?"
Emily still didn't answer, she just continued to look at Erynn. But Erynn knew what she was thinking.
"Yeah," snickered Erynn, "You're right. I wouldn't let them tease you.... Do you want to go to college?"
Emily's answer came not out loud, but from the look she gave to Erynn. At that point, Erynn knew that she and Emily would be together, forever, just as they had been since kindergarten.
...Ever since that Christmas when Emily arrived on their doorstep, with the note around her neck that said, "Take care of my special friend."

It is hard to tell from the old picture, but Emily is a brontosaurus. Emily and Erynn are currently sophmores at Cal State - Northridge, where Erynn is studying art, and Emily is just...well just being Emily.


Anonymous said...

Nice one!

lecram sinun said...

:) ... thats all need be said.

airplanejayne said...

tried to get current photo of Erynn and Emily - but Erynn's computer is down. Emily can no longer go in the washer, for fear she will fall apart.