Switching schools is always a huge adjustment, especially a kid as awkward and self-conscious as me. It always consisted of anxiety attacks, not knowing what to do with my arms when I walked, and doing my best to find the most secluded spot in the hallway to hide in so I wouldn’t be noticed. By anyone.
In ninth grade, I transferred from Pleasant Grove Junior to Mountain Ridge. The first few weeks were, as I said, basically just one big huge anxiety attack. After mistakenly being taken under the wing of a very emotionally unstable girl, and “going out” with a boy for two weeks who turned out to be a very questionable character (I broke up with him at lunch, in the exact same spot he asked me out in, both times I was holding my clarinet case), I finally found my place. Among other friends, I met Shaqual.
She was small, she was hilarious, she was sarcastic, she hated pink and bubbly girly girls and being in school just as much as I did. We liked black. Correction, we loved black. So much so that we basically wore it every day. We also shared dysfunctional family life, converse shoes, skipping class even though we didn’t have cars so we just walked around outside school, dancing like teenage girls do, taste in boys, teacher’s aid for the band teacher, and band class. Yes. I played clarinet and she played oboe. Yes. We were basically wanna-be-punk band kids. It was pretty weird, but I like to think we made it work.
In my friendship with Shaqual, I found a kind of safety, and a way to get through school without all of that anxiety and fear. I finally had someone to be with through that dreaded lunch hour. I finally had someone to have a matching hair style with (yes, she cut her hair and, naturally, so did I). Someone to sit in an odd doorway with, and call it “the cave.”
|picture Shaqual drew of me, she sent it via MSN Messenger|
You know those friendships, where you look back and realize that your time spent with this person was something that molded you? Something that, in more than one way, made you who you are today? My relationship with Shaqual was no exception in this sense. She was always so bold and daring. I was shy and insecure – all the time. I truly feel that she helped me to feel worth while, and showed me that it was okay to show my personality.
Rest In Peace, Shaqual. You were much too young to leave us. Thank you for your friendship, you are and will be missed dearly.