Childhood, Friends, Life, Writing

Braided Barrettes

I recall you wearing purple and yellow braided barrettes when we had a fight and you stopped speaking to me. We had gone to a fun fair at our school the night before, and you had become friends with the new girl on our street. We didn’t talk for three months, but it felt like years.

I was never the same after we reconciled.

I was always fearful of losing you again. As a result, I kept you at arm’s length.

When I was in the sixth grade, our neighborhood friends and I were playing a game at the bus stop, and I was running so quickly that I couldn’t get my feet to stop moving. I ended up running into the front porch wall of the girl who had stolen you away the previous year.  My head was bleeding, and each one of our neighbors was concerned about whether or not I was okay. I felt the need to demonstrate some bravery, so I pretended that everything was fine. Despite everything, I got on the bus and went to school.

You sat next to me on the bus and held my hand the entire ride. You offered to accompany me to the nurse if I needed it. I said I did. I ultimately returned home. Later that day, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a concussion.

You were perhaps my first love. I believe that our earliest best friends are. Perhaps we are reluctant to confess this because we are unable to express these things aloud.

Why couldn’t our guidance counselors teach us how to have healthy connections with other human beings instead of focusing on earning good grades or getting into an Ivy League college?

I learned that all of our old schools are being demolished. I watched video tours of their interiors sent to me by a friend. It was like learning of your death for the first time all over again.

32 thoughts on “Braided Barrettes”

  1. Aw, friendship troubles are so hard. So difficult to process when we are young, and even as we age. I’ve moved on from friends in adulthood, and I sometimes wish those relationships would’ve developed into what I’d initially envisioned. My closest friend, the one I thought I’d be friends with forever, ended our friendship about 6 years ago because she grew frustrated that I wouldn’t sever ties with my family of origin. She didn’t have children and didn’t see how that was not possible as it would hurt my kids so much. I’ve learned/am learning to keep my family members who hurt me at a comfortable distance. I wish I could get my old friend to see that. It hurt so much that she left me when I needed her most.

    A family friend made me braided barrettes and sent them in the mail. My hair was too short to wear them, but oh how I wish I could’ve. I thought they were the bomb. Gotta love the early 80s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate the statement “some of those lessons can only be learned at an early age.” You’ve offered me a perspective I hadn’t considered. We sometimes need to learn those things, no matter how difficult they are. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I once read that at an early age the ear can “hear” a lot more, and after a certain age certain differences are extremely difficult to detect, which is why learning languages without an accent is much easier at a younger age. Similarly, I believe certain social interactions may only be well “heard” at an earlier age, and after a while, we may become entrenched in habits that may make us “deaf.” But the soul is vulnerable at an early age, too, and like you said, those lessons can be difficult on the soul…

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  2. What a thought-provoking and beautifully written piece of your heart.
    I’m so very sorry about the loss of your childhood friend; I think your memory of her is a beautiful thing to share. XO

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry about the loss of your childhood friend. I’ve found out about two college boyfriends who passed, only because I googled them. I wish I’d never looked them up.

    I loved your point about what guidance counselors SHOULD be focusing on. I hope they do a better job today, in light of the current state of mental health in this country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard of so many people being devastated by the loss of their first boyfriends/girlfriends, and I’m sure I would be as well. These people were part of our life story, and to say we weren’t affected by them would be a lie.

      School counselors play an important role in our society. Hopefully, the next generation will be better prepared mentally than we were. ❤️


  4. You’ve got me thinking about first friendships, now. My first important one did not last past first grade, when she went to the private Catholic school and I went to the public one. I remember a short period of struggle, when I wanted things to be as they had been before, but they just weren’t. Change is the only constant, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

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