There are towns that are so isolated that those who wander through are stared at, and ogled as though they came from an alien planet. When I was about five we moved to a town like that. A place where the mountains that surrounded it was so high that rays from the sun would not reach down all winter. (hint; far north).
I was a stranger, although my grandparents lived there, and was made to feel like an outsider from day one. Coming from a sunny place with happy outgoing people; this little town felt like hell, even to a five year old. I hated it, and had no friends at all. My brother, Mr. Cool, soon got friends, but I was shy and literally did not speak the language, so I was alone.
I spent hours playing with my dolls in my grandmothers yard, among her many flowers and loved to hear the drone of the waterfall and river next to their house. Often I would sneak off and sing at the top of my lungs at the river, knowing that the drone of the water would drown me out. Once when I snuck off (what parent would want their child playing near a raging river), there was a girl there. An older girl, with thick glasses that made her eyes huge, and shoulder length curly brown hair. She made me really nervous, but I still sat down on one of the rocks near her. She had a kind face, that smiled a lot. As I remember; that first time we just sort of sat there and smiled at each other a lot, but soon we were inseparable and played together every time I was at my grandmothers house. Karin was my Bestie!
We played house, and I was always in charge as the husband who had to go to work. Karin, although clearly older than me, always allowed me to be in charge. She was quiet, and very kind. I was her only friend it seemed, and she mine. Karin liked Barbies, but although we played them some I just couldn't get into it. I loved playing house, and cowboys and Indians. She went along.
Karin went to school with me, but she was older, so we did not have any classes together, nor did I ever see her, but we would walk together if I went to my grandmothers house after school.
We lived in this town for a total of four years, but after second grade we moved quite a ways away. I was so sad. Although I had made a few other friends, leaving Karin was torture for me. We moved in July, and I did not see Karin again until Christmas. I ran into my grandparents house after the long drive, hugged them and immediately ran across the street to Karins' house. We both cried and hugged, and it was not until later that I noticed how much older Karin was than me. The joy in seeing her was overwhelming, and we played everyday until I went back home again. Our friendship survived, and we were Besties every time I came to town. We wrote each other and sent cards and were still Besties.
Time passes quickly when you are in elementary school, and soon I was done with fifth grade. I was changing, and more interested in pop music and lip gloss than dolls. Summer vacation was going to be spent mostly at my grandparents, something I had lobbied for hard because I wanted to hang out with Karin all summer. The night before we left my mom came into my room, and sat on my bedside.
"Are you excited to see Karin again?" Yes I was, I told my mother of all my plans for us. We were going to go the movies, swim at the pool, ride bikes and look at boys, and just have fun. "Are you going to play house?" Probably not, since I rarely did that anymore. "You don't like to play with dolls and play house anymore?" Not really. And that is when my special mother told me that Karin was the kind of little girl that was never going to get tired of playing with dolls. Karin was always going to want to play house, and cowboys and all those games that we used to play. "You are changing and doing new things, but Karin is just going to stay the same," she said. "Being friends with Karin is a gift," she said,"and a responsibility." My mom asked me to take a better look at Karin, and a better look at myself, and "I just know that you will find that you might still like dolls just a little bit."
Seeing Karin again was a shock. She had boobs, and looked to be at least seventeen. But I just knew that regardless of our ages, I was still the older one. The last time I saw Karin, I was a nineteen, and we played Barbies, ate ice-cream and sang into the waterfall. I don't know anyone in that town now, and I don't know what happened to Karin, but I hope she is as happy and content as always. She was my first Bestie, and maybe my best Bestie of all time. She, and my mother taught me, that inside all of us are little kids, some of us just lose our ability to access them anymore.