FRIENDSHIP: A HISTORY

Lindsay and I became friends in seventh grade. Lindsay picked me out. I’m still not sure why. After years of trying, I had only just clawed my way up from the social bottom to the social middle. Lindsay’s been popular since first grade, when she moved here. In the class circus that year she was the ringleader; when we did a production of The Wizard of Oz the next year she was Dorothy. And in third grade, when we all performed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , she got to play Charlie.

I think that pretty much gives you an idea. She’s the kind of person who makes you feel drunk just by being around her, like suddenly the world’s edges are dulled and all of the colors are spinning together. I’ve never told her that, obviously. She’d make fun of me for lezzing out on her.

Anyway, the summer before seventh grade a bunch of us were at Tara Flute’s pool party. Beth Schiff was showing off by doing cannonballs in the deep end, but really she was showing off the fact that between May and July she’d sprouted a pair of C-cup boobs—definitely the biggest of any girl there. I was in the house getting a soda when all of a sudden Lindsay came up to me, eyes shining. She’d never spoken to me before.

“You’ve got to come see this,” she said, grabbing my arm. Her breath smelled like ice cream.

She pulled me into Tara’s room, where all the girls had piled their bags and their changes of clothes. Beth’s bag was pink and had her initials marked in purple embroidery on the side. Lindsay had obviously gone through it, because she immediately crouched down and reached for a clear zipper case, like the kind we had to store pens in when we were in grade school.

“Look!” She held it up, rattling it. Inside were two tampons.

I don’t remember how it started, but suddenly Lindsay and I were running through the house, checking bathroom cabinets and drawers, gathering up all the tampons and pads that Tara’s mother and older sister had in the house. I was so happy I was dizzy. Lindsay Edgecombe and I were talking , and not just talking but laughing, and not just laughing but laughing so hard I had to squeeze my legs together to keep from peeing. Then we ran out onto the deck and started throwing handful after handful of tampons down onto the pool party below. Lindsay was screaming, “Beth! These fell out of your bag!” Some of the tampons swirled down into the water and all the guys were suddenly pushing and shoving to get out of the pool like they were going to be contaminated. Beth stood on the diving board, dripping wet and shaking, while the rest of us nearly died laughing.

It reminded me of the time my parents took me to the Grand Canyon in fourth grade and made me stand on a ledge to get photographed. My legs hadn’t been able to stop shaking and my feet got a tingling feeling in the soles, like they were itching to jump: I couldn’t stop thinking about how easy it would be to fall, how high up we were. After my mom took the picture and let me back away from the ledge, I started laughing and couldn’t stop.

Standing on the deck with Lindsay I got that exact same feeling.

After that Lindsay and I were best friends. Ally came in later, after she and Lindsay were in a field hockey league together the summer before eighth grade. Elody moved to Ridgeview freshman year. At one of the first parties of the year she hooked up with Sean Morton, who Lindsay had had a crush on for six months. Everyone thought Lindsay would kill Elody. But the next Monday at school Elody was at our lunch table, and she and Lindsay were bent over a plate of curly fries, giggling and acting like they’d known each other forever. I’m glad. Even though Elody can sometimes be embarrassing, I think deep down she’s the nicest of any of us.

Contents