I did not like my new school. The whole building seemed dark, dismal, and scary. Everything was wrong with it. As I walked to the end of the hall to my new classroom, it just seemed to get darker and more depressing. My older brother was 3 grades ahead of me, so he was on another floor. My younger sister was not in school yet, so I was flying solo. No one talked to me, but staring didn't seem to be a problem. It was lonely and scary.
I remember a lot of things about the first couple of days of school. What sticks out more than all of the gloomy memories and always puts a shine on my elementary life is Kristy. I don't know if the teacher knew we would be great friends, was hopeful, or just couldn't be bothered to coddle a child along, but when she asked Kristy to be my friend (not in those words, but that's what it came down to) she made a golden decision.
Kristy was everything I wasn't. She was little, blond, cute, and smart. I was big, brunette, awkward, and behind in my reading. Amazingly enough, we seemed to be just exactly what the other person needed at exactly the right time. I can't tell you why, but she let me be her best friend. She was on crutches at the time, so perhaps she just couldn't get away from me, but later when she WASN'T on crutches she still let me be her friend. I am going to guess that she either actually liked me or I'd just worn her down and she didn't want to hurt my feelings. Either way... we were inseparable for the better part of 7 years.
I won't go into all of the sleepovers, petty fights, phone calls, notes passed, confidences shared, or the other girly stuff. As we moved into the junior high years we remained friends even when she moved to another school. When high school hit she became a more talented musician and far more intelligent. I became a bad ass. Okay, I became a wanna be bad ass. Either way, our lives shot off in different directions.
She went to college and I picked out baby clothes. She moved on to an exciting career in a city and I had my second child. She moved across the country and I went through a divorce. Through those times, we still touched base here and there. I would occasionally run into her mom in the grocery store. My parents would let me know if they heard any news when they ran into her parents at the "Beer Barn". When we talked on the phone, we still fell back into the wide-eyed, giggly, "OH.MY.GOD." patterns of best friend gossip. It was something that just seemed natural... even spanning the years and the differences. True to form, we were still polar opposites and still a good fit.
A year ago this coming October I finally saw her again. She married a wonderful guy back east and brought him home to celebrate their wedding with her friends and family. I counted myself lucky to be invited. As I drove into the driveway of her family's home I was transported back in time. Nothing could compare though to the moment I stepped through the door and saw my friend and her family. She was radiant and beautiful, and the b*tch (I say b*tch in the most loving way) hasn't aged in 20+ years! On top of it all, her family hasn't changed either. Everyone was exactly as I remembered them... except most had mini-me's running around. It was a moment I will cherish forever, almost as much as I cherish that day in first grade when a teacher decided to force me on the poor girl.
Everyone should be so lucky in their life to have someone to rescue them like she did me. I don't know where Mrs. Frazier is or even if she's still alive, but if I could thank her for that gift I would send roses. It was a decision worthy of a plaque... but who gives plaques these days?