Rebecca's Best Friend: Part Two
I remember one time in third or fourth grade when Rebecca came over my house. We had learned how to make board games in school, and we wanted to create one of our own. So, we whipped out the paper and the markers and created, “A Trip Across Neopia”. The object of the game is to travel to all of the lands in Neopia, including Kreludor, and find a jewel from King Skarl’s crown. The last land to visit is Meridell, where the jewels of the crown are given back to their rightful owner, King Skarl.
I found this game sitting in my closet today. I still cannot believe that our imaginations came up with it. Just looking at her handwriting next to mine made me cry. Would we ever have that much fun again?
How does Rebecca make so many friends in so little time? How does her laugh and smile make everybody want to be around her?
I wish with all of my might that I have just some of her social skills, just some of her likeability. I know that if I act just like her, I will make friends. But I don’t know how to copy her.
It’s Saturday again, and I’m bored.
Wow! Today after school Rebecca surprised me with tickets to see M*YNCI tonight! I have never been to a concert on a Monday, but I asked Troy if I could go, and he said that I could.
I’m so excited! Rebecca is picking me up in fifteen minutes, and I have to get ready!
The concert was a lot of fun yesterday. Rebecca came over to my house before the show to hang out. We talked a lot about nothing, like how our teachers tried to be cool and how the food in the cafeteria smelled. But what I really wanted to ask her was how she got so many new friends and why she did not want to introduce them to me.
When it was time to leave, I flew to Tyrannia with Rebecca on my back, remembering how many times I had flown her to various places. Once, right after I learned to fly, I took Rebecca up on my back and teased her a little bit. I pretended to drop her, and I nosedived so fast that she did almost fall off of me. Once we landed on the ground again, Rebecca said, “I love having a friend who is a Shoyru, but sometimes I don’t.”
As I was flying with Rebecca, I realized that our friendship is now just made up of memories. There is no present friendship with us.
Then we landed in Tyrannia for the concert and I realized that I was wrong, since we are making our own memories now. Of course Rebecca and I still have a friendship. We always will, and I regretted being so jealous of her new friends. She is allowed to make new friends, as long as she stays loyal to me.
We entered the concert hall and were escorted to our seats.
“I’m glad I brought you,” Rebecca said to me.
I was not really listening, but eying the Tyrannian food stand off to the corner. I hate to admit it, but I love Tyrannian food. “Me too,” I said absent-mindedly.
“It seems like we’ve been drifting apart somehow,” said Rebecca.
This caught my attention. Finally Rebecca noticed that we are not as good friends as we used to be! I decided that now that we both realize this, we can find a way to fix it.
Rebecca ran a paw through her hair, which, I noticed, was a lot more tangled than normal. “I mean,” she said, “I know you’re jealous of my new friends and all, but I’m glad we’re together tonight.” She sighed and said, “It’s just like old times.”
Nothing was more true than what she had just said. I was jealous, and it was just like old times. However, I admit I was too proud to admit the truth. “I’m not jealous!” I snapped. I saw the hurt look on Rebecca’s face and melted inside. “I mean,” I said quickly, “I just miss you. A lot.”
Rebecca gave me a wobbly smile and I could see the tears pricking her face. “I miss you too, Rae,” she said, and we embraced. It was the first time we had hugged in a while, and we could not have picked a stranger spot than the Tyrannia Concert Hall.
We parted, and I finally came up with the courage to ask her the question that had been occupying my mind since the second day of middle school. “Rebecca,” I stammered.
“Call me Becca now, please,” she interrupted.
“Becca,” I said. The word felt sour on my tongue, for I had never said it before. She is not named Becca; forever she will be Rebecca.
I paused, trying to find the right words. Suddenly, the lights in the arena dimmed.
“Ladies and gentleman,” a voice said. “The best band in the world, M*YNCI...”
I gritted my teeth. I was going to have to wait until the end of the concert to talk to her. Meanwhile, the crowd around me was going crazy.
“...will start in just five minutes!”
The crowd moaned, and I turned to Rebecca again. “Becca,” I said. The second time in saying that awful word was no better than the first. I felt disgusted calling her by that putrid name. “I have something to ask you.”
“You have five minutes,” Rebecca replied. She intended for it to be a joke, I could tell from the faint sparkle in her eyes, but I did not laugh. It kind of hurt me, to tell you the truth, but I have no idea why.
“Becca,” I said again, trying not to gag. It took so long to say what was on my mind. Before middle school, I could tell Rebecca anything, and now I had so much trouble in asking her a simple question. “How did you get so many friends?” I blurted.
Rebecca furrowed her brow. “I don’t know,” she admitted. She thought for a moment. “I guess I’m that sort of person who likes being around people.”
“So am I!” I said.
“Not really,” said Rebecca. “No offense, Rae, but you are kind of closed off to new people. That day at lunch when I invited you to meet my new friends, you would not talk to a single one of them. Now you don’t even eat with us anymore.”
She was right. I now eat lunch in the bathroom, afraid to face my friend. “I talked to Annie,” I replied. “And she wasn’t that excited to talk to me. She only wanted to talk about you.”
“You only talked with her for five minutes!” She was indignant. “Then you were just silent, not willing to make conversation. When I made friends, I did not wait for them to talk with me. I had to talk with them! That’s what you need to do. If you wait for somebody to be your friend, there’s no use in waiting.”
I did not understand her philosophy. “I waited for you,” I whispered. “Back in second grade, I waited for somebody to talk with me. And you did.”
Rebecca’s anger ebbed. “Rae,” she said. “Not everybody is like me.”
I hung my head. For the third or fourth time that evening (I had lost count), Rebecca was completely right and I was completely wrong. I think the reason why I was sitting around waiting for friends to come to me is because I wanted somebody exactly like Rebecca. I thought back to the red Usul on the first day of school. I could have easily invited her to sit next to me and introduce her to Rebecca, but I did not, because she was the exact opposite of my best friend, all timid and shy. Rebecca and I are so close, I believe, because we are opposites, as well. I am timid and shy, like the red Usul, and she is outgoing and fun-loving. I know it sounds corny, but we actually complete each other.
“Ladies and gentleman,” said the same voice. “I, and all of us and the Tyrannian Concert Hall, invite you to see... M*YNCI!”
The lights went off in the arena, and Rebecca and I squealed in unison. The five Myncies that we all recognized came up through a trapdoor in the stage, shrouded by a puff of smoke, singing the first bars of their hit song.
I stared at my best friend sitting next to me. Nobody is like Rebecca, and nobody ever will be. I have to accept that I have the greatest best friend in all of Neopia, and making friends who are slightly less amazing than her is okay.
As if by magic, I crossed paths with the same red Usul from the first day of school today. I was rushing through clustered hallways to get to social studies. I bumped into what looked like a tall pile of books, and we both toppled to the ground. I scrambled to help pick up the books and saw the Usul in front of me.
“Hello,” I said.
She responded by pushing a lock of red hair behind her ear. She piled all of her books on top of one another again.
“Do you need help carrying those?” I asked.
She shook her head. “I’m fine,” she stammered. I forgot how musical her voice was. “I really need to get to class.”
“I’m Rae?” I said. As I look back on the conversation now, I remember those two words sounding like a question, even though it was a statement.
The Usul got to her feet and smiled. She uttered one word before she went on her way to her classroom. “Emily.”
To be continued...