>Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde

>This is the story of how I became friends with Charissa. 🙂

In the summer of 1993 I was 14 years old and attending my first year of high school summer camp. I’d been going to Heavenly Hills Christian Camp every summer since I was 5 years old but this year was going to be different because I was finally a high schooler. Which of course meant that I was completely grown up and knew everything that I would ever need to know. (ha!) For some reason, my older sister wasn’t at camp that summer but one of her best friends was and I spent the whole week hanging out with DeeDee, who was a senior. DeeDee made me feel older, cooler and not quite as awkward as I knew I was. She also introduced me to a boy named Jason who was 16 and really cute. One night after the camp fire, we were all hanging out talking and Jason held my hand and asked me to attend the banquet with him at the end of the week. For any of you who was ever a 14 year old girl, you know that having the attention of a 16 year old boy makes you feel like you are on top of the world. Friday night rolled around and DeeDee helped me get dressed up and ready to go and I felt like a grown up, at least 16. 🙂 We were sitting at the table eating dinner and the next table over was full of girls that I didn’t know. They kept throwing things at me, mostly bread but one of them even threw a fork at me. I was totally confused about why they were doing this but tried to just ignore them and not be embarrassed by it. Still I couldn’t figure out what I had done to make them not like me when they didn’t even know me. All in all though, the night was fun. I talked to Jason a couple times after camp that summer, but nothing serious ever happened because after all, I was only 14. I do remember that he called me one night the following October, I remember because it was the night before my surgery which was a major event in my life. He told me not to be nervous because everything would turn out fine and I think that was the last time I ever spoke to him. But I’m getting off course, this post is about Charissa after all!
About a month after camp, I got a phone call from a girl who told me her name was Charissa and she knew me from camp. She called to tell me that she was sorry. She was sitting at the table next to mine at the banquet and it was her and her friends that were throwing things at me. She told me that the previous summer one of them had liked Jason (I don’t remember if it was her or one of her friends) and the reason they threw stuff at me was because they were jealous. She said she was very sorry and asked if we could be friends.
I remember hanging up from that phone call and thinking she was pretty amazing for being brave enough to call and apologize. And I remember thinking that I definitely wanted to be friends with her, even though I still wasn’t even sure what she looked like.
Charissa and I are still friends, 17 years later. We haven’t seen each other since college but we keep in touch over email and I still consider her a great friend. And every time I think about how our friendship started, I can’t help but admire her. I don’t know what led to her making that phone call but she taught me a valuable lesson that day and I’m so glad that we are still friends. I hope that if I ever do someone wrong, I will be as brave as she was.
There was another time that she called me and I remember every word of our conversation (it was very short). She asked me how I was and when I told her I was fine, she said, “Are you sure?” I told her I was fine and she hesitated for a moment and then asked again, “Are you sure?” At that point, our phone call got disconnected and I couldn’t call her back. But the thing was, I wasn’t fine. My grandpa had died and moments before the phone rang, I had just found out and was sobbing. After that call, I decided that I was going to be more honest when people asked me how I was and to this day I still try.
I’m not sure why but I’ve been thinking about Charissa a lot lately. Over the years we hung out in and outside of camp until college when we both moved away. I’d love to hang out again sometime but in the meantime, thank you Charissa for the valuable lessons you taught me. I still admire you, 17 years later. 🙂

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