About the Author
Mark Victor Hansen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He is a professional speaker who has dedicated his live to enhancing the personal and professional development of others.
Kim Kirberger, a noted expert on teen issues, is the author of all titles in the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul series.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of
feeling safe with a person, having neither
to weigh thoughts nor measure words.
The Friend That You've Outgrown
Here's to the friend that you've outgrown,
The one whose name is left unknown.
The one who wiped away your tears,
And sought to hold your hand,
When others turned the other way,
No beginning, just an end.
She's the one you turned to,
The one that you called friend.
She laughed with you, she cried with you,
And felt it was her duty,
To remind you of your worth,
And all your inner beauty.
When others' eyes could only dwell,
Upon your exposed outer shell.
They saw a fat girl steeped in braces,
Not seeing you they turned their faces.
But she was there to whisper,
When others didn't care.
She held your secrets in her heart,
That friends like you could share.
You never had to be alone,
But now she is, 'cause you've outgrown
Her for those others whose laughs you share,
As you run carefree through the air.
Time has eased your form and face,
But she's the one who knew your grace
When those who you now call your friend
Saw no beginning . . . only end.
C. S. Dweck
My Friend, Forever
When we were merely little girls, still full of innocence and wonder, I tied your shoes and made sure your lip wasn't bleeding. 'Best friends since third grade,' we've always said. We've been to hell and back, with our bleeding hearts and tampered souls.
We've watched each other slip helplessly into the realms of addiction, holding mercilessly onto one another's palms, simply praying that it was just some horrid nightmare.
You held me with your soothing tones over the phone when my heart first broke in pain. You told me it would be okay and that I was much too strong to let some stupid boy topple me over the edge.
When I felt as though no one could possibly understand the torment going on within my soul, you were always there to reassure me that one day it would pass, and that I could always turn to you. The pain I held back with others, I could share with you—and you with me.
I suppose all I want is for you to know that I know you've been through far too much for seventeen years, and that you are the most beautiful person I have ever known. The distance that separates us now doesn't change my love for you, my sweetest friend. I can feel your thoughts from miles away and when I close my eyes I can see you there in all of your beauty.
We will rise above this. We will travel the world, write poetry and dazzle the hearts of everyone we meet.
I will never let go of your palms, my friend, and I will always be there to lift you up and tie your shoes. Best friends since third grade—to hell and back.
There Is No End in Friend
Lauren and I met during summer camp after fifth grade. We were stargazing. She was looking for Orion and I was lying on my back searching the night sky for the Little Dipper when she tripped over me and fell backwards.
'Oh sorry! I was trying to find the stars in Orion's belt and . . .'
I took her hand and pointed with it to the sky. 'Just over there.'
She smiled and introduced me to the Little Dipper. That was right where it all began, a chance encounter with a fellow camper as curious as I was about the stars.
Lauren and I were instant friends, spending the remainder of the summer together jumping rope, swimming in the lake, crushing over the cute camp counselor and gushing over our diaries by candlelight. We were attached at the hip—partners in crime, secret handshakes and lazy-day promises over fresh-squeezed lemonade to remain friends forever. She beat me at checkers and I was the chess champion. We both had June birthdays, annoying younger brothers and last names that started with W. We both loved books, funny movies and laughing until we cried.
Lauren and I lived two hours apart, so during the school year we went months without seeing each other. We maintained our long-distance friendship by telephone and e-mail. When boys broke my heart, she was there to console me at 2:00 a.m. on a school night and when Lauren's parents divorced when we were in ninth grade, Lauren came to visit for a long weekend and cried on my shoulder into pockets-full of Kleenex.
No matter what happened in our lives, we knew we would get through it because we had each other. We were convinced that a good friend was the best medicine, especially a friend that could make you laugh.
'There's no end in friend,' Lauren said.
'You're right . . .'
'You are the sugar in my tea.'
'Today I feel like coffee.'
'Okay then. I'm the cream in your coffee.'
Through thick and thin, love lost and found, family tragedy and fair-weather friends, we always knew that the other was only a couple of hours drive up the coast, an instant message, an e-mail or a phone call away.
When Lauren met her high-school sweetheart, she sent me photographs and made sure he called me on the phone so I could approve of him. His name was Isaac and he seemed really nice. She promised to dig up one of his friends so we could double-date the next time I went to visit her.
'Awesome. I love you to death,' I said, laughing.
'Oh yeah! Well, I love you to life!' Lauren exclaimed, voice creaking through the phone.
And she was right. She always knew how to rewrite the rules so that things made perfect sense. She modernized clichés and came up with secret passwords and sayings that suited us like twin, red dresses and matching pigtails.
The distance between our homes couldn't separate the bond we had. Lauren and I would be best friends forever. She was my soul mate, finishing my sentences and blowing me kisses from her backyard to mine.
Lauren and Isaac broke up about a year later, and I had just broken up with my boyfriend, Jake, a few weeks previously. Sweet sixteen was right around the corner for both of us and school was almost out for the summer. For some time, Lauren and I had been talking about going back to camp and now that we were old enough to attend as counselors with a summer salary to boot, we decided to return.
We spent our summer the same way we had six years earlier—stargazing, river rafting and crushing on the cute counselors over juice and pretzels. It was the first time since junior high we were able to spend the entire month together. We had grown up. Once upon a time we were little girls, whispering after lights-out and misspelling words in our diaries. Now we had driver's licenses, SAT prep courses and unrequited love stories. We had mastered the art of kissing boys, acing English papers and coming up with good excuses for getting home after curfew. We swapped stories, gave advice, listened and talked through the night. Virtually exhausted every afternoon, we napped in a heap on the counselors' couch.
On the last night of camp, we hiked to the top of Silver Mountain with our flashlights, and sprawled out in the dirt and grass, young women giggling and reminiscing about the first night we met.
'It was right over there,' I said, pointing.
'I tripped over you just like this!' Lauren laughed, pushing me into the dirt.
Lying on our backs, eyes to the sky Lauren raised her hand. 'You see that up there? That's Gemini.'
I looked over her shoulder. 'Where?' I asked.
'See the two heads? And the legs coming down—like that.'
I squinted and sure enough there they were. Twins joined at the hip, best friends forever hanging out in the sky.
Friendship is a horizon—which expands whenever we approach it.
E. R. Hazlip
During fifth-grade recess, my girlfriends and I wouldn't play kickball with the other kids. Instead, we stayed behind at the benches and made pencil sketches on blue-lined binder paper.
We sketched puppies, flowers, kittens, and my personal favorite—the future prom dress, with every detail, down to the long staircase (for the big entrance) and a crystal chandelier.
I was ten then; prom was seven years away. I was Chinese, so I didn't have a quinceanera, debutante ball or Bat Mitzvah. Prom was the one shot I had to live my Cinderella story. My only other opportunity to live the princess fantasy would be my wedding day—and I wasn't going to wait that long!
I needed prom. It was what high school was all about. Where even the most gawky of girls (me) could become a swan. It was puberty's heyday.
The dresses I sketched were fit for a night of being swept away by a prince. But I could never get a sketch quite right. All the other girls drew their dresses so evenly, earnestly and beautifully. I couldn't do it. All the while, I had a very picture-perfect vision of my prom even though it never translated well onto paper.
Years into my teenage life I still sketched these future moments. Not with paper, but in my mind—sometimes down to the last syllable of imagined dialogue. Sometimes down to the most minute detail of weather or scenery. I sketched first kisses, weddings, relationships and big, important events that transform a life into 'a life.'
Sometimes I think I've spent more time sketching than living.
Two days before the prom my boyfriend left me for someone else. He had a new girlfriend and a new date for the prom. I ended up going with my best friend, Danielle.
I wore a black slip dress. As Danielle and I danced, I tried not to look at my ex while he danced with and kissed his date. I tried not to cry about how wrong this whole scene was.
There was no romancing. No grand entrance. And it was expensive, the pictures especially, considering my eyes were closed and puffy. But I had Danielle, my best friend, to keep me fro...