I have the best friends in the world. Perhaps I’ve taken too long to see this, and I certainly can’t pinpoint what I did to deserve them. There’s no way to quantify unconditional love, though I sure can try.
After emotional catastrophe struck last week, I had five fresh pints of Ben and Jerry’s in my freezer and 10 girls, all open-armed and stocked with tissues. Some stayed past midnight, cooing me with sweet lullabies before tucking my writhing frame under the covers and assuring that I wouldn’t cry myself to sleep.
Unbeknownst to me, for my 17th birthday three girls spent six hours (yes, six!) cleaning the tornado that is my bedroom. For those of you who know me well, this is a chore I wouldn’t wish upon anyone; to describe the unlivable space further would just guide me far too deep into self-pity. Shocked to actually see the hardwood floor once I got home, I catapulted onto my newly made bed and then, subsequently collapsed into a puddle of grateful tears.
On my worst days, I can trust one or two girls to let themselves into my home with their spare keys, shake me awake, and whisk me off to Orem’s so I don’t slump in dejected lethargy and waste the afternoon away. My friends are routinely the last people I pester with late-night musings before my head hits the pillow. They’re also the first ones to hear from me come morning, usually in the form of the far too frequent “Wow, looks like I’m late to biology again!” text.
My friends’ moms have raised me. There’s Ms. Meurer, the all-star math teacher, movie fiend, and warm hugger. In the countless times I’ve rushed into her classroom, whether to attempt to comprehend calculus or even just to talk, I’ve always left with a the widest grin on my face. There’s Ms. Ward Hoffman, whose prom picture conversations I cherish as she’s only in Connecticut for so long. There’s Mrs. Burke, who knows I’m addicted to her pretzel M&M concoctions so she’s well prepared to make extra servings. There’s Mrs. Denneen, a lively firecracker who’ll never fail to usher me into uncontrollable laughter. And then there’s Mrs. Sweeney, who deserves an entire column devoted to her cool and collected wisdom, nurturing strength, homemade pizza, and flawless gardens. And trust me, nobody can tend to a chicken coop better.
Wherever I turn, I know there’s support waiting for me at every corridor. The best part about my story, though, is that I know it’s not a rarity. Here in Wilton, many of us have grown up surrounded by the same kids for our entire lives. No one is a stranger; we know everyone’s idiosyncrasies, passions, and favorite flavors at Scoops. Though this interconnectivity can sometimes feel cliché or even overwhelming (consider waiting in line at the Village Market as a high school senior, praying to not be interrogated about the college process by the inevitable family friend you’ll bump into), it’s truly something to be thankful for. If my own little Wilton friendship microcosm has taught me anything, it’s that we are all surrounded by love; all it takes is to appreciate and reciprocate what you receive and it will multiply tenfold.
Eve Ogdon is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.