Friends! Throughout your life you have and need them, but as a teenager, they're the most important thing there is.
"Melissa, this is Amy. Amy, Melissa," my friend introduced us.
Amy had bleached blonde hair, slickly pulled back in a red scrunchy, bangs perfectly curled, hair-sprayed so they never moved. Her bright red lips formed a smile that reached from ear to ear. But her eyes just stared, blank and empty. The moment I looked into them and her face, I knew she wasn't who she appeared.
Despite my feelings I kept an open mind thinking, Maybe it's just from being in a new school. Day after day her face remained the same. The same bleached blonde hair, the same red-lipped smile and the same empty eyes. Every time I looked into those eyes I realized she was different from who she tried to be.
After a week Amy knew I could see through her facade and she hated me for it. She no longer looked at me with emptiness. Now, when she looked at me, anger and hate filled her eyes. And soon the anger and hate turned to actions. She began to spread rumors about me, telling my friends that I hated them. Normally it wouldn't have made the slightest difference. But, not only was she successful in spreading rumors, she got my friends to believe her. She destroyed one of the most important things in my life. She invaded my heart. And every day for six months she sent me home crying.
Then, one day, after bickering with me she said, "Ya know, Melissa, you think you're so cool, but no one here wants to hang around with you."
I confidently turned to her, A"Let them speak for themselves."
She looked at me and made a face that I will never forget; her eyes pierced through me, her mouth made an unfriendly grin, her whole face tightened up and said, "You better watch your back 'cuz one of these days I'm gonna punch you."
"Why don't you just punch me now," I said with courage suddenly filling me. After that she walked away so mad I thought she would burst.
The next week people acted differently. They no longer liked Amy. Actually, everyone seemed to hate her. And they all told me, "She's such a jerk. She's so fake." But it didn't mean anything coming from them. They had accepted her facade and now that they knew part of who she really was, they no longer cared.
For me it was different. I never liked her. And for a little while I think I hated her. So when she said hi to me I said hi back. And, believe it or not, it felt nice to smile at someone who after hiding for so long, finally showed her true, angry, lost and hurt self. She is someone I disliked so much that I loved her just a bit. Although she made me hate that year and almost destroyed my self-confidence, she made me realize that true friends are people who believe in you, and give you courage and strength. They are the people who stand by you no matter what. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.