I never knew what I would encounter on any given day as I walked through the halls of my high school.
On the first day of my Freshmen year, I remember feeling self conscious and unsure of myself as I looked for my first class. It didn’t help matters any when one of the Seniors, thinking he was being cute, yelled out for all to hear, “Hey, little girl … Kindergarten is over there …” as he pointed across campus.
Laughter followed by those that overheard his remarks, and there was even some finger pointing as well. They acted as if they had never seen a short person before. I just kept right on walking, looking down so as not to make eye contact with anyone, especially those that were making fun of me.
As the school year progressed, I stayed mainly to myself. It was an awkward time in my life. I wanted so badly to “fit in” but couldn’t have stood out more!
Then, one day between classes, I saw a girl about the same height as me with long brown hair. She appeared to be new at the school, and she walked with that all familiar look just as I had on my very first day of high school. With her head down, trying not to be noticed, she’d glance up ever so often to see if anyone was watching.
I can’t remember who spoke first, but the “short” girl with long brown hair became my very best friend in the whole world! Her name was Robin.
When Robin entered my life, it didn’t matter that I no longer seemed to “fit in” with anyone else because I fit in with her!
We seemed to always be together. If I wasn’t at her house, she was at mine. We even got our very first job together in high school at a fast food restaurant. We did everything together!
I had never felt so accepted before or so much a part of something as I did when Robin and I became best friends. We could tell each other anything! We’d laugh at the silliest of things, even getting the case of the giggles just by looking at each other.
Ah, yes … I have fond memories of Robin.
We seemed inseparable … up until the point where she got her first really serious, steady boyfriend. We tried to still hang out and even double date, but Howard claimed the majority of her time. I was understanding, yet admittedly sad that it seemed I was losing my very best friend in the entire world … while she was gaining a relationship she poured her whole being into.
As time and circumstances would have it, we slowly drifted further apart. And, I returned to no longer fitting in with others.
After graduation, I received a phone call that I will never forget. The person on the other end of the line called to tell me that Robin was dead. She died in a car accident. I remember holding the phone but being completely frozen, unable to move. I managed to breathe, although I still am not sure how at that point in time. I listened to the words coming through the phone and into my ears, and yet, I was having trouble comprehending what the person was saying.
My best friend from high school was … gone.
Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from Robin’s sister confirming the news. She was so much younger than us, yet she reached out to let me know what happened and of the funeral arrangements. Her family even offered to allow me to ride with them several hours away to where Robin would be laid to rest. I seriously contemplated but later denied their offer. I preferred to keep the memories of Robin alive from happier times, not to see her in a casket. It wasn’t long after this phone conversation with her sister that I received another phone call from a “friend” asking if I was going to the funeral. When I said, “No …” I received such judgment in return with the “How COULD you even think of not going to the funeral? You were her BEST FRIEND!” Oh yes, judgement is surely what I needed at a time like that! Even still, I was firm in my decision. To this day, I have not regretted it either.
A few weeks ago, Robin’s sister found me on Facebook! She sent me a message followed by a friend request. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read her message. She was only seven years old when I first met Robin and started going to her house. Little Charity would follow us around as she wanted to be included. I never had a younger sister – but an older one – so I thought it was cute having her follow us around. Robin was not entirely amused by it, though.
Charity and I talked in messages, and we shared memories of Robin. She and I both cried a little during our conversation.
One thing that Charity and I have in common now, and oh how I wish we didn’t, is the fact that both of us have lost our one and only sibling – our older sisters! I’d like to think that our sisters found each other in Heaven and are friends keeping each other company until we get there. My sister had a problem with fitting in as well, and I’d like to think that Robin helped her feel at ease and welcome in her presence just as I felt when we became fast friends years ago.
I never had a friend like Robin before, and I doubt I ever will again. I didn’t have very many female friends that I hung around because it seemed that drama followed. Imagine that – drama and teenage girls – yep, it is still that way today as I’ve watched my own daughter struggle to fit in and to escape the drama that other girls bring with them. During the better part of our friendship, though, it wasn’t like that with Robin at all. We truly were best friends!
As a forty-something year old adult woman, I still have feelings of not fitting in, and I doubt I’ll ever feel so at ease and have such peace within a friendship again as I had with Robin. Just when I started to feel sad about this again, I stumbled across a message that said, “I never intended for you to fit in. ~God” Wow. God really does know what you need, right when you need it. I feel like He honestly sent that message to me right when I needed it most today. Maybe I truly am not meant to fit in with others, for “fitting in” might mean going the way of the world instead of following Him. I’d rather NOT fit in then, instead, I’d rather stand out or just be a loner. At least with being a loner, there isn’t quite so much drama to deal with. At other times, I think it would be nice to have a friend to have lunch with or get together for some girl talk occasionally. I know deep in the back of my mind, though, that no one will ever fill the void that came about with losing my very best friend in the whole world.
Today has been filled with memories and a few tears. As I reflect, I am thankful for the “short” girl with long brown hair that allowed me to fit in with her during those rough high school years. We were, indeed, the best of friends, and oh the memories I will forever hold close to my heart!
In loving memory: