best friends

i *should* be doing report cards.

my first best friend was li. i was a very shy child in kindergarten, having had no preschool experience, so no other social interactions, except with my cousins. li was an immigrant who was still learning english. she and i lived in the same building, and we were in the same kindergarten class, so we kinda found each other that way. she would go over to my house after school, or i would go to hers. i remember the strong smell of incense at her home. she also had a little brother who would tag along all the time. i know for my birthday, she and her brother came to my party, and i, for some reason, was irritated with them. you could tell in all the pictures from that party! heeheehee. but she was my best friend for about 4 years.

by fourth grade, we had drifted apart. we were no longer in the same class, and my afternoons were filled with classes my mom signed me up for at the local rec center–hula, ‘ukulele, cooking, sewing, and the like. i wasn’t really close to anyone for the next three years. i mean, i had friends, who i’d hang around with at school, but never the come-over-to-my-house type of friends, or even the call-on-the-phone type friends. there was one girl who was from laos and could barely speak english–she and i often hung out, and once she came to my house after school, but i got into trouble when my mom caught us jaywalking, and she never came over after that, but we still hung out at school. in fact, most of my friends were immigrants–it was the area we lived in–now that i think about it, whereas i never really hung out with the “local” kids, even though those were the kids that mostly took the rec center classes. hmm. that’s strange to think about, actually. but anyway, in 6th grade, there was another girl i used to be mischievous with, towards our homeroom teacher. in fact, she got me into trouble one day when she goaded me into drawing this not-too-flattering poster of our teacher. i always felt so bad about that. but after 6th grade, we both went to different schools, and i never really heard from her again.

seventh grade i went to a different school from all my elementary classmates, and again, i was very awkward and shy. i still remember hearing the whispers of other girls in my homeroom as they looked side-eyed at me. it was during my study period on that first day where finally, someone talked to me directly. reesie was very friendly, and she was also a new 7th grader, from a school quite near my elementary school. there were also 5 or so others from that school, and they all sorta clung together, but reesie was nice enough to kinda invite me in to their little circle. while they were cordial with me, i never felt a part of them, even if we were all from the same area, and they knew a former classmate of mine who had transferred to their school. so i kinda had people to hang out with, but yet still not really feel like i could talk to any of them. it was kinda weird.

i had to come back and add in another friend, and now that i think about it, i can’t really remember how we met or got to talking. her name was ana, and she was from hilo, and so she was a boarder at our school. she was very religious and very emotional. her father had passed away the year before, and she took it really hard. but she was very, very friendly, loved to talk and enjoyed making me laugh. i went to visit her in hilo the following summer, and we had gotten quite close, with her and i writing letters to each other about boys and teachers and classes. she was popular among the boarders, so every chance she’d get, she’d try to introduce me to others, or tell them to come help me or come talk to me if she couldn’t. she knew all the rumors too of these boys who supposedly, allegedly, “liked” me, and so she was constantly trying to push them and me together. heh. if i only knew then what i know now…

anyway, at a class picnic, i had no one to sit next to, since ana went on a different day than i did, so reesie called me over, and i was introduced to another shy person, rae. she had been attending the school since kindergarten, but she was so different from the others who had been there all along. she always had her nose buried in a book and was very quiet–so much the opposite of the other students who had been there since kindergarten, too. rae, reesie, and i sat on the blanket that day, watching the boys play tackle football on the beach, not really saying much, but still, feeling bonded. well, i did, anyway.

after that picnic, i found out rae had always caught the same bus to the terminal that i did, yet i had never seen her before. so we started hanging out together in the morning and after school, waiting for the bus. we’d talk about books and poetry, and share stories with each other that we had written. well, i wrote the stories; she wrote the poems (i was so wordy, even then!). there was another girl, lei, who also rode the same bus as us, that started to hang around, as well, and the three of us soon got to be very close. we would conference-call each other all the time. we all seemed very similar–quiet, studious, keeping to ourselves, and all sharing a love of writing and reading.

around 8th grade, i was getting a lot of mixed signals from ana. she would suddenly be very angry at me, and i would have no idea why. she’d send me these notes that were so hurtful, and she showed a lot of pain through her words. i couldn’t figure out why she suddenly turned like this! every time i’d see her to talk to her, she’d turn away from me, in tears. her friends would glare at me, and i honestly had no idea what happened. needless to say, by 9th grade, she and i never really talked to each other any more, much less see each other. she got heavy into being a junior kahu, and i was into my hula. in fact, she did try to join hula, just so we’d have something in common once again (neither rae or lei danced hula), but she quit after a while because it interfered with her junior kahu duties. i was sad, because she and i were so tight in 7th grade, and she really took care of me, and then all of a sudden–wham. she hated me. it wasn’t until a few years ago, when looking through my yearbook to reminisce, that i had found that she wrote a long, long letter across several pages of my yearbook (why i hadn’t noticed it before, i don’t know?), explaining that she had grown incredibly jealous that i was hanging out with rae and lei most of the time, and that was the reason she had grown so cold towards me. that made me sob. i felt so rotten. and it also made sense from what i learned about her later on, years after we had graduated.

so anyway, rae, lei, and i all were pretty close, all throughout high school. we’d go to carnivals, movies, the beach, even the shopping mall, just to hang out and read each others’ stories and poems. rae was such a great poet. i seriously thought she’d be a great poet with lots of books out by now. she was so wonderful, and all our english teachers agreed. the three of us were the three amigos; one couldn’t say one of our names without including the other two. well, except for hula.

rae and lei didn’t dance hula, so i was on my own there. hula met three times a week, for 3 hours each class. i became close with another girl who i found out lived right across the street from me! she also had gone to that school since kindergarten, which is why i never saw her in my elementary school, and like rae, she didn’t have that haughty attitude that most who did attend there from kindergarten had, though she wasn’t nearly as quiet as rae. she was very gregarious, and always laughing. and she loved to party, which i didn’t quite care for. so outside of hula, we never really hung around each other, but in hula, we were very close, especially since i often caught a ride with her or she with me to our classes (our families would trade weeks). i had a feeling she was taking advantage of me (her mom loved me, and not her other party-loving friends), and it was confirmed later by her mom, but still–she made me laugh, and sometimes, that’s all i really want. anyway, we kept in touch all the way through college, until she had gotten married, and then pregnant, and so she stopped going to hula.

i realize i’m jumping all over the place here. anyway, back to rae and lei. by 12th grade, i started getting really irritated by them. i suddenly found myself not going along whenever they went out, and always making excuses for not wanting to talk on the phone. i had made three other friends at this time. one was leah, who shared my love of a certain pop star; one was lane, who was also in hula with me, but we shared the same last three classes, one of which was lunch, so we’d often hang out together in the counselor’s lounge, along with another classmate who soon became internationally known. the last one was daisy, as she liked to be called. she became my closest friend that last year of school, even though i don’t really think i was hers. she pushed me to get more involved, and i ended up going out for things i normally wouldn’t have. she and i had the same spanish class, and we’d always talk about our teacher. i spent a weekend at her beautiful home in a rich part of town, although we rarely hung about on the weekends–she was usually at work at night, while i worked during the day. but in school, we were always together. she’d write long, long letters to me (hey, a common theme? my one bf that i had really loved used to always write long, long letters–both email, and by hand–to me, too! and that’s why i think i really fell for him. 😳 ) and i swear, she’d crack me up. she was so excited about everything! she really tried to get me into the same college she was going to, even dragging me to the college fair, but i knew i wouldn’t be able to leave here to go to an out-of-state college. i wanted to stay home. so sadly, we parted ways after graduating, though we still wrote to each other a lot that first year (in a time before emails!) and a little in the second year, before losing touch all together. i did recently find her on facebook, though! i’m kinda surprised to see how she ended up, but she sounds happy, so that’s all great!

and right there stops my best friends list. hmm. i know all throughout college i didn’t have a best friend. there was my hula sister i’d ride in with, but that was all. rae had gone off to college in california. lei had gone to the same college i did, but got really caught up in a church group, and she’d spend every free minute with them; after a couple of years, she transferred to hilo. ana was, of course, at hilo. lane and i had written to each other for the first year, but then she had met an awesome, awesome guy, and then the letters stopped. daisy and i kept up correspondence for about two years. leah and i, for about the same (she, daisy, and rae were all in colleges in california, lane was in washington). i went about college, mostly keeping to myself. i had friends, but not anyone i was really close with. oh. well, there were my exboyfriends. eh, but they don’t count. 😉

when i started working in my career post-college, the first year, a colleague and me had gotten close, and she spent a lot of time at my new house, and we’d go out shopping together for things in our classrooms. she transferred, though, and then i became close with the colleague that took her place. she and i would always go out on the weekends–daytime–as at night she liked to go clubbing, and i’m not that type of person. we’d stay late after school, working, and then spend another hour in the parking lot just grumbling/chatting about school. when i wanted to leave, she said she’d go, too, as she couldn’t stay there without me and deal with that big mess. she came to visit me during that hellish year i had, even though she was at a different school, offering support and lending an ear so i could sob about the troubles i was having. in the past couple of years, though, we were only really corresponding through email–we did meet up at the graduation ceremony of my first class of kids. i didn’t really want to go alone, so she offered to come with me, which i thought was nice, considering she didn’t really care for that class. the following year was her favorite class, but she wasn’t able to get out to the graduations. and this year, it was maybe only an email here and an email there, but that’s really it. i think i saw her at a craft fair, and i’m pretty sure she saw me, but didn’t make any move to say hi or anything, so i didn’t either. that really sounds like the story of my life, huh? ah well.

so right now? my best friend…would probably be my sisters. or my pets. they listen a lot to me, too. 🙂 i get along well with my colleagues, but not in the way where i’d feel comfortable hanging out with them in a non-work-related thing. i don’t go to hula any more. i don’t really even go out! i think that when i start my new job, at least i’ll be able to hang around with different people, and maybe, just maybe…i can make a new friend that way. but until then…i have my sisters. and pets. just keeping it family, it seems. 😀

all right. report cards, here i come.



  1. […] first was i heard from one of the friends i talked about a couple of weeks ago! my hula buddy. she found me via facebook and wrote me a long letter asking for the scoops! wow. […]

  2. […] someone had taken my breath away. the writer was informing me that one of my friends, whom i had just written about, had passed away. i normally am speechless, but this was just … wow. i kept reading and […]

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