That day. That day had finally come. Starting primary school. Most may think it’s an easy and straightforward transition, but not for little old me who was shaking in her freshly polished Clark velcro shoes. I felt like I was being chased by a pack of wolves. My heart was racing, my thoughts in a panic. I expected to be eaten alive by these unknown children. I wanted to escape the eerie environment I was about to face.

As mum fastened me into the car she kept reassuring me that “it’ll be fine”, but deep down I knew she was just humouring me. I was trembling like a crisp winter’s leaf. Her sympathetic words went in one ear out the other, and she simply didn’t understand my fear. As we arrived, I was preparing myself for defeat.

The tall metal fence, the long dark halls, the ghost town like playground. It was as if I was about to enter a prison. The moment I had been dreading had come- the time to say goodbye to mum. She cupped my cheek with her warm, smooth hands. She tucked my hair behind my ear, and softly pecked my forehead. That touch, that warm mother’s touch. The touch that comforted me, made me feel at ease. That was the soothing bond I did not want to leave. Once again, she uttered those same words in a reassuring manner,

“It’ll be fine.” It was like separating a nesting bird from its mother, punishing and cold-hearted. Shortly after what felt like the hardest and most heartbreaking moment in my life, I was chauffeured to my classroom by my new teacher, Ms Lang. Ms Lang had a beastly look to her with her straw-like, lifeless hair, her skin as cold and white as a winter’s moon, her thick black eyeliner tattooed across her waterline.

If I am being honest, she resembled a witch. She told me to sit next to another new girl, Lilly. She exclaimed that I should stay by her side for the day and to look after her. Being the considerate leader I was, I took the initiative to plonk myself right by her side. Personal space and common courtesy out the window, I practically sat on top of her. Her dimpled and delicate face turned to me where I was hit with a confused look. “Hi I’m Eve,” I bravely said. “I’m Lilly,” she shyly replied. That was it. An awkward introduction which forced her to get up and leave. This was what I had been fearing. Being judged, not being accepted.

I felt stunned, in a way cheated. I was so tense it felt like my bones could pierce through my skin. I had to be strong. I had to do what Ms Lang told me. So, after Lilly got up and left to sit somewhere else on the miserly rag carpet, like a little creep, I followed her everywhere resembling a tiger cornering their prey. I wasn’t leaving her side. Wherever she went, I followed. This ignominious cycle continued into the late morning up until recess time. Unfortunately, at this point Lilly practically had no choice but to play with me. As the bell chimed, children stormed to the playground as if there was no tomorrow. Lilly and I reservedly walked over together to the swing set, beginning conversation. Something special I noticed about Lilly was that our personalities aligned. We shared similar interests. We just clicked. As Lilly and I were rhythmically swinging, I felt warm and happy.

I finally felt like I belonged. The glorious golden sun radiated its warm haze. The fluffy, white pillows of clouds gently waltzed over us. These feelings were foreign to me. The cool breeze ruffling our hair, our laughter filling the spring air. At this special moment we had no cares in the world. Looking back, I truly made a fool of myself. What was I thinking, following her around at ALL TIMES just because the teacher said to stay by her side.

But guess what, I wouldn’t change my peculiar character for the world: mum was right, it was fine. Fast forward twelve years later and the rest is history. I have learnt that throughout life you will meet an individual whom resembles no other. You could converse with this person from dusk ‘till dawn and never get bored.

You could tell this person anything and everything and they will never under any circumstance judge you. This person your kindred spirit. Your soulmate. Your shadow in the darkness. They are someone who can be pensive with you in a snapshot of gloom. Somebody who can remain with you in an hour of anguish and deprivation. Someone who loves you unconditionally and grows with you.

That is a best friend. That is Lilly.