As a child, my playmates were my older brother and younger sister, my cousins, and the neighborhood kids. I didn’t have a best friend until the fourth grade.
Delma walked up to me one day during recess and announced we were best pals. I was stunned and delighted. Someone who wasn’t related to me liked me. She didn’t need me to play third base or be “it.” She just liked me. This was new territory for me.
Delma showed me the best bud basics. She saved me a place in the cafeteria. She sought me out at recess. We swapped school pictures and the Valentine cards reserved for “best friends.” She talked to me about boys, her family, and her favorite things; and as my confidence grew, I reciprocated her kindness.
At the end of fourth grade, she told me she would not be returning to our parochial elementary. Her parents found it too expensive and she was going to public school. I was broken hearted. I was losing my one and only best friend.
When I told my grandmother, she smiled and hugged me. She told me I would never want for friends, but I doubted that to be true. I have always been reticent when it comes to making friends. It’s like that “Friend Request” on Facebook. The risk of being ignored, declined, or unworthy is painful.
I never heard from Delma again but I have thought of her often. I would like to thank her for her vote of confidence. I would like to thank her for her kindness and friendship.