DI Voices | Who is your childhood best friend? | Part I

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Talia Duffy

Assistant Opinions Editor Talia Duffy is seen with her childhood friends Pierce Abed and Kaylee Bajgrowwicz. Talia and other students talk about their childhood best friends and how impactful they have been in their lives.

By Talia Duffy, Assistant Opinions Editor

As we move throughout life, we’re touched by the presence of many people — but few have an impact as lasting or as precious as a childhood friend. Some stay forever, some move away and some spark out after a fight or some other kind of drama. Everyone will have a different story when they’re asked, “Who is your childhood best friend?”

I want to start this two-part series with a story from my own life — my own response to this question.

Talia Duffy, Assistant Opinions Editor

I don’t remember meeting my childhood best friends — that’s how young we were.

According to my mother, I met Pierce when I was only one year old, at one of those baby classes where mothers sit in a circle and do cute little activities with their kids. There, she befriended a woman named Andrea, whose baby, Pierce, was around my age. I guess we went on baby playdates. We probably babbled baby nonsense words back and forth.

A couple of years later, Pierce and I entered the same preschool where I met another one of his friends named Kaylee. Thus, our trio was complete. I expect it was as much a friendship formed on our own as it was our parents getting along and deciding to have their kids hang out together. But either way, we clicked. This span of time — when we were three, four years old — is when my consciousness of Pierce and Kaylee begins. As I said, I don’t remember meeting them — which also means I don’t remember my life without them.

In my brain, there’s a montage of my best moments as a child, and many of them contain Pierce and Kaylee. I see us sitting in each other’s laps to ride down the big metal slide at our local park. I see us trekking through nature preserves to look for a little plastic box because our parents wanted to try geocaching. I see us side by side at the “Summer Challenge” program at our school, where Pierce and I both cut our hands on X-Acto knives on the same day while trying to cut popsicle sticks for a project.

We were very close for a very long time. In elementary school, we were often in the same class. Every core elementary school rite of passage — math homework, class parties, atrocious art projects — we faced together.

But when sixth grade rolled around, Pierce ended up at the other middle school in our district. Kaylee and I went from seeing him every day to very rarely, at least for the three years until we would reconvene in high school. And even Kaylee and I, at some point, formed groups of friends that didn’t quite overlap.

So as it happens with most childhood friends, we grew apart. The only reason for it was the passing of time and our gradual growth as individuals. We’d say hello in the locker-lined hallways of our high school, and sometimes — but not often — stop to chat before rushing to our next class. We’d catch up at family functions, Fourth of July parties and random movie nights in the depths of summer, mosquitos swarming the outdoor projector that cast 2014’s “Annie” remake on Pierce’s garage door. These reunions are infrequent, but I cherish them.

We aren’t best friends any longer, but this way, they remain a constant presence in my life. They’re the glue that holds the pieces of the background together.

We go to different colleges now. I attend the University of Illinois; Pierce plays soccer at Quincy University; Kaylee is down south at the University of Alabama. We’re farther apart than we ever were. But I still can spell Kaylee’s abnormally complicated last name from memory. I still think of Pierce every time a new FIFA game is released. And I still keep a picture of the three of us on my desk — a moment, frozen in time, with my oldest friends.

 

Talia is a freshman in Media.

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