LIFE would be empty without friends, but it’d be a disaster without best friends. Best friends have that special edge over other friends: they are the ears to your most intimate secrets, you laugh more freely with them, you can be silly with them, you can do just about anything and never worry one jot.
Wei Ling is such a friend. She’s a classmate who sits four rows in front of me because she’s short. I have known her for only one year and two months, but I feel as if I have known her for years. I guess that’s what friendship is about—you just hit it off.
Our friendship started on the day I approached her, after she was bullied in the canteen. Another classmate, Xinlu, had commanded her to return her plates to the plate-return corner and she meekly obeyed. I was outraged though. Speaking to her, I would learn that she was bullied too into lending money, erasers, pens—all of which weren’t ever returned.
Xinlu was lucky I never punched her. I had just encouraged Wei Ling to stand up for herself, that meek, timid girl. I generally dislike mousey people, but with Wei Ling, I closed not one eye, but two. And that’s the strange thing about friendship. It’s partial, biased, and not very logical.
Wherever she lacks in courage, she more than makes up for with a great sense of humor, an irrepressible urge to seize the comedy in almost everything. Once, at PE, when we were stretching the tricep in that exercise where you pull your right arm leftward with the left forearm, she made her right arm go limp like an elephant’s trunk, and for good measure, she moved the wrist up and down, and announced: “Look! Elephant!” How funny that in her unabashed playfulness, a thick-skinned sort of courage comes through, while mine just disappears, consumed by mortification.
But that’s fine. Wei Ling has many fine qualities. When you talk to her, not only her ears are with you, but her eyes as well. How many good listeners are there in this world like her? And how many happy-go-lucky girls are there like her, considering how every other student in school is a worry wort, stressed up to the nth degree, myself included.
Her jolly, merry, devil-may-care attitude makes her a bubble of positive energy. No wonder Korean barbecue is all the more delicious in her company; and movies, all the more fun and enjoyable. I consider Wei Ling to be reliable—she’s always punctual to a fault, but don’t trust her with your secrets. She has never kept any of her other friends,’ which somehow end up flying to my ears. Maybe she’ll keep mine, but I haven’t tested her out yet.
Perhaps soon, but in the meantime, I just smile thinking how fortunate I am to have such a friend. She calms my nerves, teaches me to worry less and laugh a little more. Who knows, if I hang out with her a little more, I just might end up laughing with my fists to the lips, just like a squirrel.
Jiji Setavoraphan, Secondary Two
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