They were the best of friends. It was a fateful day in art class when they met. The two little girls both loved drawing. Now, they weren’t extremely great for five year olds, but they loved it nonetheless. The class was full of older kids, no one else in their kindergarten class. Art was an after school class at Maelin School. So, the two became fast friends.
“What’s your name?” One asked.
“I thought the teacher called you something else.”
“It’s really just my nickname. My real name’s Elizabeth.” Lizzy said this as if it were a secret.
“That’s cool.” The other girl marveled.
“What’s your name?”
“My name’s Mary Jane, but you can call me MJ.”
“You just want a cool nickname like me.”
“Yeah. Can we be best friends now?”
“Only if it’s forever and ever.”
“Deal.” The two girls beamed at each other.
They were inseparable after that. The girls’ parents met, and so they had their first sleepover at Lizzy’s house. It was very much fun. They gave themselves temporary tattoos out of a book that MJ brought, and stayed up as late as Lizzy’s mother would let them. Even then, they laid in bed making up stories about crazy things like racoons to tell each other.
When first grade came, a new girl came into the girls’ art class. Her name was Cheryl, but Mary Jane and Elizabeth gave her the nickname of Cherry to match with them. Cherry became fast friends with MJ. Apparently, they had been in preschool together and were friends there. Cherry didn’t like Lizzy very much, and Lizzy could never understand until one day.
“Hey, MJ, let’s go play in the sandbox.” Lizzy suggested one day at recess.
“No, MJ wants to play on the monkey bars with me, not you!” Cherry said.
“Why can’t I come?” Lizzy asked.
“Because we don’t like you.”
“But I like her. She’s my best friend.” MJ interjected.
“No! You're my best friend, and she stole you from me!” Cherry whined.
“No,” Mary Jane proclaimed, “She’s my best friend, and you were never my best, and now you’re not my friend at all.”
Cherry left the school at the end of the year, and neither Mary Jane nor Elizabeth could say they were mad about it.
Jump ahead to the third grade, when MJ dropped out of the after school art classes. She was starting something else, Brazilian jiu jitsu. The girls were still best friends, but Lizzy sat alone for her art classes.
For MJ’s birthday, Lizzy got two friendship necklaces. One half of a heart for Mary Jane, and the other for her. This way, they could show everyone who didn’t already know that they were best friends. MJ was very happy for her present, but she lost the necklace within two weeks. Lizzy stopped wearing hers because she didn’t want to wear it alone.
In fourth grade, one of their friends, Caroline, joined art class with Lizzy. MJ and Caroline lived in the same neighborhood, and were good friends. Caroline was nice to Lizzy, and they were good friends too. They became better friends in art class.
It was fifth grade that made Lizzy remember a moment from kindergarten.
“My parents said that I’ll be here until fifth grade, then I’m going to the middle school by my house.” MJ had told her. It didn’t matter back then because fifth grade had been so far away. It did now.
Lizzy forgot about that, once more, when she was accepted into the new AIG program at school. She didn’t tell anyone, and since the school was so small, she would still be in class with everyone else but be doing stuff on the computer with a few other kids in the back of the room. One of them was Julianne, a friend.
While it was never explicitly said, Lizzy always got the feeling that MJ was jealous of her. She knew MJ had asked the teacher why she couldn’t be in the AIG program, and that the teacher told her something and never brought her into the program. Lizzy never said anything about this to MJ, and let their friendship remain the great thing it still was.
The week before sixth grade started, Lizzy went to see a jiu jitsu competition that MJ was in. As far as she knew, Mary Jane was still enrolled at Maelin School. The day was fun, from what Lizzy could see. She had forgotten her glasses at home while rushing to get ready. She could mostly see, but she definitely couldn’t read anything.
The next night, after Lizzy’s mom picked her up from dance, (Lizzy has been taking dance classes since forever, and she loved it.) they got a call saying that Mary Jane was accepted into a different school. Both girls were very sad, and crying about this, but their mothers promised they could see each other one weekend a month. This made it a little better.
Sixth grade was an okay year. Caroline’s best friend, Angie, has also left the school. Lizzy spent most of her time with Caroline and Julianne. It was so weird and surreal that MJ wasn’t there. She got used to it, eventually. She hung out with Caroline and Julianne, they now all called each other by nicknames. They were Liz, Line, and Jule.
It was December before Mary Jane could come over to Liz’s house. Liz didn’t say anything about being called Liz not Lizzy anymore. MJ, however, said that she went by Mare now. They had fun, but it was kind of awkward after not seeing each other for so long.
Liz didn’t know that she wouldn’t see Mare for a long time.
Since both girls had phones now, they exchanged numbers and texted sometimes. They might have a conversation, then it would be months before talking again. They were drifting apart, and Lizzy knew that.
Seventh grade came, and Jule had to leave the school. Her dad got a job about two hours away, and so her family was moving. When Jule got a phone, she texted Line and Liz all the time, unlike MJ ever did.
At the end of the year, Lizzy got a text from her old best friend. She didn’t know when, but she had decided that Line was a better friend that wouldn’t ditch her even after high school.
Hey, Lizzy. Sorry I haven’t been the best best friend lately. I hope we can still be friends. Also, what high school are you going to?
Lizzy gave MJ another chance. She knew they would never be the greatest friends that they were, but maybe they could still be friends. She also knew that MJ might just be worried about going to a new high school so maybe she could ask and make sure that Lizzy would be there too.
One day in eighth grade, Lizzy saw that MJ had posted on her Instagram story. It was a chain mail type thing that involved sending the person one word that made you think of them, and then the person would come back and start talking to you about that subject. Lizzy sent in her word: art class.
This was MJ’s reply:
I miss art class. And Lizzy, I know I haven’t been the bestest friend at all, but I’m glad that once upon a time we were friends. I’ll always be glad that my childhood best friend was you.