Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bestie (05/22/14)
TITLE: Fishing for chums
By Jack Taylor
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My best friendship with Larry shut down like air brakes on a skidding semi. I’m pretty sure it was the broken legs that changed everything. Larry and I were 14 and we played side by side until that fateful day at football practice. George was the tackle pulling out to block for Billy who was running a sweep. Larry and I had sniffed out the play and were ready to stop the run. George could only take one of us. He hit Larry hard and snapped his legs above and below the kneecaps. I got the tackle. I’ve never heard such screams. Larry’s career was over and we hardly saw each other again.
With Tommy, he always says it was my flirting with Caroline that severed our close ties. He’d known Caroline a day longer than me. It wasn’t my fault that her locker was closer to mine and that we had two more classes together. It wasn’t my fault that her family moved in right on the route I used to get home. And it wasn’t my fault she decided to do scorekeeping for my basketball team. Anyway, I always liked Tommy for our superhero days when we were younger. Caroline was actually using me to get to know Jim, so I lost Tommy and her at 15.
Jorge turned 16 the week before me and I always thought it was cool that we both wanted tacos at our parties. We both fell in love with twins and thought of this great plan for a double date. Bobbi and Barbi were best friends with each other and the perfect friends for guys who were just starting out in the dating world. The four of us went mini-golfing, biking and picnicking. And then Jorge suggested that we each choose one of the girls and make our move. I went along with him and suggested he choose first. He chose Barbi. I said ‘fine’ since they both looked the same. After school I saw one of the twins sitting alone at the bus stop. She waved and smiled. I walked up and put my arm around her. Jorge’s punch was totally unexpected. Apparently I had made a move on Barbi. We all broke up after that.
Ihsan latched onto me the second day of math class and always wanted to study together. He told me that I was his ‘chumbuddy’ and I was fine with that. We hung out in the library and coffee shops and tried to do math and be cool. One day he invited me to his home for a few hours. I guess he hadn’t told his parents who his bestie was. After that, he told me we couldn’t work together anymore. Something to do with religious differences and food issues. His math scores went down quite a bit and I always felt sorry for him.
My grad year was a stellar year for best friends. I had five of them, one after another. Stella got me into chess until I beat her three times in a row. Immanuel got me into journalism and spent hours with me until he realized I liked photography and the editor more. Felix tried to teach me baseball so he would have someone to work out with in his effort to make catcher – unfortunately, I was a wild pitcher and two broken windows was getting too expensive for his training camp. Lois lured me into gourmet cooking and steered me out when I didn’t invite her to the Valentine Dance. Grace got me to join her in a Bible study and we kind of finished our high school career in that holding pattern.
My current bestie knows how to draw out my words, grab the good stuff and blow away the chaff without tearing my heart out. Three times a week we hit the trails and enjoy some God and nature time. We don’t even have to guess where we’ll be on Sunday mornings.
My bestie is a writer and I’m a reader. We complement each other a lot, but we also have to work hard at our friendship every day because my perfectionism and slightly obsessive nature requires a special compassion.
Yesterday we got a golden lab puppy with the softest ears, the dampest nose, the cutest tongue and the wiggliest little tail. Grace and I have been married over twenty years now but she better watch out. There’s another bestie trying to nudge in.
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