When I was ten years old, my best friend gave me a necklace.
I never asked him, but I assume he had felt guilty that he hadn't gotten me anything for my birthday the day before. He was a weird, sweet kid with a rough home life and no money, so he took the necklace out of his mother's jewellery box.
I was furious with him. I thought he had stolen it. I thought he was trying (in that prepubescent, innocent fashion devoid of sexual heat) to change our friendship into something more. I told him to take it back, that I didn't want it. I fiddled with it in class, unable to focus, and for the first time in my life, our teacher scolded me in front of the class and took the necklace from me.
I didn't ask for it back.
It was my mother who retrieved it from the teacher some days later. I had told her not to, content with the idea that I would never have to look at the necklace and confront the idea of my best friend loving me ever again. When she gave it back to me, I was mad all over again.
His mother worked for my Dad, so one day after school I went to their office, and I tried to give it back to her. She smiled at me and placed it in my palm, and closed my hand with hers. She told me he hadn't stolen it. She had known that he took it, and how much I meant to him. She told me he had asked her for permission, and that she wanted me to have it.
I took it back, put it in my jewellery box, and left it there. I have never worn it.
He died two weeks ago.
We had fallen out of touch. The last time I saw him, I screamed at him as he tried to follow me home. I was heartbroken by his choices, his lifestyle, his way of being that was so at odds with the sweet little boy who was my best friend.
Beau; I have hated you as much as much as I have loved you. Even as a gloomy, morose 7 year old, you said you would die young. It made everyone uncomfortable to hear it, but as it turns out, you were right. I'm sorry your life wasn't as filled with joy as you deserved. But I'm glad you always found joy in it anyway.
I didn't agree with so much of what you did or who you were. But you were unique, loving, and while I was a dirty little tomboy growing up, you were my very best friend. All I have of you is my memory, and a little heart necklace that I thought you had stolen for me.
I'm sorry. I love you. Thank you.