We first met in second grade during my first week at a new school. She came up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Do you want to play UNO?” When I said yes, she led me to the table where her other friends sat. On that day, we became best friends.
Her name was Jada. She was a sweet, bubbly, straight-A student who made friends everywhere she went. Her favorite color was blue, she loved playing with the latest Bratz and Barbie dolls and she was a night owl who went to sleep at 5 a.m. on the weekends. As the years went by, we did everything together.
Although I had a few friends before I met her, Jada was my very first best friend. There were things I could do with her I couldn’t do with anyone else, like sharing my embarrassing secrets and school crushes.
Shortly before my 11th birthday, I moved to Coatesville, Pennsylvania, from Philadelphia. I was devastated because I was leaving the city I grew up in and my best friend, whom I considered a sister. The worst part was I couldn’t even say goodbye because I left a few hours after I found out I was moving.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get in contact with her. Not being able to reach her made me feel like a bad friend because it seemed like I gave up trying to talk to her.
I moved and started a new school in April 2012. My mom said this move was supposed to be temporary, and I would return to Philadelphia in the summer. However, as the summer came and went, the chances of seeing Jada again grew slim.
When I started my new school in Coatesville, I tried to make a new best friend. I wanted to make new memories to help me forget about everything my old best friend and I did together. I tried to find a new Jada by making new friends who matched her outgoing personality and liked the same things she did.
The friends I made at my new school were nothing like my best friend from home. We couldn’t hold a short conversation without it being awkward, and some of them weren’t as sweet as Jada. I had nothing in common with these new friends at school, but Jada and I had everything in common.
I gave up trying to find a new best friend. The stories I heard about my new classmates and their best friends from grade school made me realize the friendship I had with Jada was something special and irreplaceable. I felt determined to continue my search to reconnect with Jada.
It took almost two years before I got in contact with Jada again. The first thing I asked was if she remembered me, and I felt my heart stop when she said she hadn’t forgotten. Happiness washed over me as we talked that day.
We shared new interests with one another and reminisced over the things we did before we were separated. Our conversation flowed naturally, as if we never lost contact.
The call left a smile on my face because I finally reached the person I had been longing for. Our conversation made me feel like a little kid again, especially when she invited me to her sixth grade graduation.
I remember how wide Jada’s eyes widened when we made eye contact, and how she pulled me around the auditorium to introduce me to her other friends. Seeing Jada happy made me happy too because I finally had my best friend back.
We made a promise to never lose contact with each other again, and because of that, our friendship only grew stronger.
Jada and I still have our moments when we’re obsessing over High School Musical, but our relationship has changed since elementary school. I’m in college and Jada is a full-time mother and entrepreneur, our free time doesn’t always align.
Whether it be at a restaurant or her house, we try to see each other as much as we can. This year, we’ll be celebrating 16 years of friendship, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.