Chapter One -- Beginnings

[July, 1987]

“Gimme that! It’s mine, I saw it first!” The dark haired seven year old exclaimed, tugging at the blue ‘Smurfs’ roller skate with all his might.

“No way, Nicky said I could play with it!” Andy, the little girl on the other end of the skate, shouted equally as loud. Her light brown curls were falling into her face, but she knew if she took the time to brush them out of the way, she’d lose the battle.

“Nu-uh! He did not, he gave them to me! So give it back, Andy!”

“Let go, Tommy! I’m gonna tell!”

Tommy let the skate go, sending the little girl flying backward. Andy landed on her stuffed dog, not happy with Tommy’s actions. She got right back up and, while he wasn’t looking, threw the blue roller skate at his rear.

“Here,” she hollered. “I didn’t want it anyway!”

“Ha! Now I have both of them!” Tommy declared victoriously.

“Yeah, now you can go play with your best friend,” Andy muttered, turning away from the boy.

“But you’re my best friend, too!” Tommy wailed after her.

“No I’m not. You can only have one, and your best friend is Nicky. I’m gonna go play with Jenny.”

“But you don’t like Jenny!” Tommy protested, unwilling to let the girl go elsewhere. “You said she was mean and bossy!”

“So?” was Andy’s nonchalant reply. “She doesn’t have a best friend, like me. We can be best friends.”

“I can have more than one best friend!” Tommy said. “That’s why you an’ Nicky are both my best friends!”

“No, you can’t. Only one can be a best friend,” Andy argued. “That’s why he’s called ‘best.’ Didn’t you know that?”

“My mom says I can have more than one best friend, so there!”

Andy sighed. Once a parental figure stepped into the picture, there was no arguing. Instead, she opted for a second opinion. She marched herself up to the nearest house and rang the doorbell. The adult she intended to talk to answered the door after a moment.

“Mrs. Carter,” she began, tilting her head up toward the woman. “Tommy says he can have more than one best friend. Go tell him it’s not true!”

“Sweetie, it is true,” Mrs. Carter exclaimed, kneeling down to Andy’s level. “When you have a best friend, it’s because you love that person enough to share everything with. Good and bad. Sometimes, though, there’s a chance that you feel that way about more than one person, and as long as they share the same feelings you do, it’s quite all right if you consider them all your best friends.”

“Like me an’ Tommy an’ Nicky?” the little girl asked.

“Exactly. Like you three. You have all been best friends since before you can all remember, and it will always be that way if you take care of each other like you have so far.”

“I guess that’s okay, then,” Andy conceded, nodding her head.

“It’s more than okay,” Mrs. Carter smiled. “Now do me a favor and go see if Nicky’s ready to go out and play.”

“Okay!” Andy raced through the front door and up the stairs. Past the babies’ room, past the girls’ room, and straight into her friend’s room. But he wasn’t there.

“Nicky? Where are you?” she called into the room.

“In here,” came a voice, and Andy found it was coming from the closet. She walked to the closet door and peered in, not seeing anything but a huge pile of clothes and toys.

“Nicky?” she called again.

Suddenly, a blond head popped out of the pile of clothes, startling the little girl. She stepped back some, and, only after realizing it was only her friend, she went back to her position at the door.

“Whatcha doin’?”

“I can’t find my truck,” the boy said. “I put it in here last night, and now it’s gone.”

“I’ll help you find it,” Andy offered, climbing over toys and clothes, rummaging through the closet floor.

After a few minutes, Tommy found his way upstairs and joined in the search, but to no avail. The truck was nowhere to be found in that closet, and there were now more articles of clothing on the floor than hanging from above their heads.

“Are you sure you put it there?” Tommy asked his friend, who nodded.

“Yeah, right before bath time. I remember.”

“Oh! I see it!” Andy shrieked, crawling out of the closet and under Nicky’s bed, soon after producing the yellow plastic toy they had been searching for. She set it on the floor and rolled it to it’s owner.

“Thanks Andy,” Nicky told her. “Now we can go play outside!”

Downstairs in the kitchen, Mrs. Carter stopped what she was doing to listen to the pounding of footsteps above her head, then racing down the stairs and through the front door. As the children’s laughter died down, she returned to her task, smiling all the while. She hoped that their friendship lasted throughout the years, and never lost it’s intensity.

[chapter list | chapter two]