Welcome to the second installment of my blog series “True Teen Stories” featuring non-fiction essays from teen writers. For the record, I’d just like to say how impressed I am by the work I’ve received thus far. One of the greatest challenges for new writers is the ability to write honestly. That doesn’t mean every word the author chooses must in fact be the definitive truth, only that it represents their truth (or, in fiction, their character’s truth).
Today’s story, “Glass Houses and Shattered Bonds,” written by fifteen-year-old Emily T., does just that—detailing the unraveling of a friendship without cynicism or pretense. When I first read Emily’s story, I was struck by how familiar it felt to me, and to the friendship break-up I had back in high school. Sadly, I think it’s probably familiar for many girls. But by articulating those feelings in writing, Emily might just be able to get through this difficult situation with more clarity, instead of, say, waiting 20 years to write about it in a YA novel. (In case you didn’t know, REUNITED is about a friendship break-up.)
Emily T., age 15, is an aspiring writer from Staffordshire, England. In addition to writing, her interests include fashion design and punk rock music.
Glass Houses and Shattered Bonds
By Emily T., age 15
At the very beginning of primary school, I had one best friend, Amelia. Amelia is my oldest friend and vice versa, and though we shared a strong bond of friendship, near the end of primary school this friendship grew to include identical twins Lana and Elena. The four of us were inseparable, but the problem (according to Lana and Elena), started during our first year of high school when another new friend, Sandra, joined our group.
It all happened because of my fifteenth birthday party. As we all know birthdays are on a set date, they don’t just randomly change with each coming year. So as a normal person would do, I arranged for my party to be on the weekend of my birthday, (as my birthday unfortunately usually falls in the middle of the school term). I invited all my friends two weeks before the intended party and all was well… up until one week before my party, when Lana and Elena informed me that they had been invited to another party a month before I had told them the arrangements for mine.
Which was fine, if they’d been invited to that one first and had said yes to it, then that was fine I couldn’t just expect them to change their arrangements because that wouldn’t be fair on them. But of course, it did upset me slightly, considering they had known me for so long and had been to every one of my parties and as I’ve said before, birthdays don’t change. So not wanting to have a party without them, I graciously changed my arrangements for them, putting my entire family out, as we were supposed to be going away for weekend. But not wanting to be alone on the weekend of my birthday, I invited Amelia and Sandra over to my house for a sleepover as they weren’t going to this other party and would be doing nothing either.
Next thing I know, Elena is standing behind me saying that she and Lana will still be able to come on the original date and asking when to drop their stuff around. Usually, I wouldn’t have cared, but considering it felt like they were ditching my arrangements for someone else’s, I didn’t think it was right for them to just expect to be invited to my consolation do. So for the first time ever, I stood up for myself and said that the actual party was next week, but there was no point them coming to the sleepover as they would have missed most of it anyway by the time they got there.
This, of course, caused world war three amongst the group. They weren’t talking to me and I wasn’t talking to them. The entire week before my birthday I walked home ranting to Sandra, who patiently listened to me before we parted ways. But as soon as I was alone the tears came. I spent the entire week before my birthday feeling miserable.
Two days before my birthday, they said they wouldn’t be coming to my party because it would be too awkward between us, I of course tried to convince them otherwise but they weren’t having it, they even got their mum involved in the text conversation, painting them as the victim. This brought the total number of people in the text conversation to three against one. At this point, I could too have got my mum involved, but considering she gets paid to argue it would have been the kiss of death for the friendship. So I was outnumbered and I ended up apologizing for something that was completely irrelevant to argument and making up with them. Or so I thought…
However during the next day of school, I was sitting between them in one of our classes and none of us were talking; I was having a hard time stopping myself from breaking down into tears. Fortunately, I had to leave the room to do a job for the teacher but Elena was asked to come too. Once outside of the room, I broke down into tears and said, ‘I thought we’d sorted this out.
To which her reply was; “Why are you crying?” asked in a tone which said she couldn’t have cared less; which to me said if she really didn’t know then maybe it wasn’t worth fixing.
It was such a stupid argument, but I’d like to think it changed me for the better. Throughout this time I found out who my real friends were.
I’d like to think things got better between us from there, and for a while, they did. Until one day Lana ran off crying and Amelia went to comfort her, leaving me, Sandra, and Elena sitting awkwardly together.
Feeling fed up with the on-going argument, I arranged to meet Elena and Lana alone one day in town to discuss where we were as friends.
After spending an hour and a half going round in circles, I learned that they blamed Sandra for the friendship falling apart and wanted it to go back to just us four. Me, Amelia, Elena and Lana. When it was my turn to speak, they did what they always do and didn’t listen as to what I had to say, instead choosing to talk over me, then walking out on me, claiming they felt as though they’d gotten nowhere. Which effectively they had, because they hadn’t listened to what I was trying to say.
I still speak to Elena and Lana, seeing as they are in all my lessons, but it’s not the same. They’re not the same. I partly agreed with them when they said they wanted to go back to how it was in primary school, just not the part without Sandra. If they could go back to being their primary school selves, not repeatedly snapping at me, making me think I have to be careful with what I say when I’m with them; not being so paranoid as to what I do and who with; and less spiteful e.g. not talking to me in attempt to show me how they feel; as I can say for fact I would never do that to them. Then maybe they may be more fun to hang around with.