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I’ve Got a Secret

Since they moved in next door, Daisy and Marie-Claire have been best friends. They go to the same school, they take dance classes together and often play with each other on the weekends. Marie-Claire sometimes comes along when Daisy and I do errands and Daisy accompanies Chloe and Marie-Claire on local shopping adventures. Marie-Claire and Daisy get along well and on occasion, Daisy answers my simple questions in French instead of English; I think that is a bonus. I would say they are best friends. Mags has been my best friend since we moved to Monterey Park. She was the first neighbor I met and we got along well from the first conversation we had, but I don’t think there are limits on the number of friends one can have.

Daisy came home asking about another little friend from school who wanted to be Daisy’s best friend. Daisy’s questions centered on how she should respond. I asked Daisy what she thought a best friend should be. Her answers reflected the world of a young girl. She cited someone to play with, share stories with, allow to use her toys and tell secrets to. I asked her if her new friend met her criteria and she thought for a few seconds. Then she suddenly thanked me and left to roller skate on the sidewalk with Marie-Claire. I was still in the dark on the answer to the big question.

I glanced out the window from time to time as the girls skated along in front of our houses. They giggled, smiled and attempted tricks. I knew they wouldn’t be out long because it was getting colder and their cheeks were already getting flushed. This break in the weather was temporary and they would be playing inside for a while before spring arrived. I stepped out the door to let them know they had just a few minutes left and saw Daisy’s foot start to drag her skate that had unbuckled and gotten loose. I took her skate key and planted her foot back inside the skate to tighten it. Daisy thanked me and skated off. Daisy and Marie-Claire skated into each other’s arms and automatically turned and skated at the same pace down the sidewalk in front of Marie-Claire’s. Maybe that is how a best friendship should be, automatic, like you know exactly what to do for each other. I knew I was lucky having Mags and felt the same way about Chloe also. We shared secrets during our morning talks and put our heads together sometimes to speak without others hearing. It wasn’t necessarily because we were saying anything wrong but we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if they didn’t think the same way.

Daisy and Marie-Claire came inside to warm up and Daisy asked if Marie-Claire could stay for dinner. I told her to have Marie-Claire ask her mother if it was okay. The girls put their heads together and called next door. Chloe gave permission and the girls went off to wash up. Junior came into the kitchen and I asked him to set the table. I think it is important for boys to know how to do every chore as well as a girl would. How else would they take care of themselves when they grew up. He grumbled a little but started the task anyway. The girls came in and helped him and after Steve came home, we all ate together. Daisy asked Steve who his best friend was at dinner. Steve looked over at me to check if there was some right answer to provide but I purposely looked at my plate to cut my food. Steve asked Daisy what she meant and she repeated her criteria she had given me earlier. In that case, Steve told her, Mommy is my best friend. The children all giggled. Steve had lots of friends, work pals, golfing buddies, some men from the church and the neighborhood was full of men he competed with in lawn duels. I thought about that. Our friends are mostly nearby. Those old friends we had moved away from were still important people in our lives but they couldn’t really meet the criteria as Daisy pointed out.

Daisy told Steve about the little girl at school and he asked her what she was going to tell her. Now I would finally know the answer to the burning question. Daisy sat for a moment and said that they could start out as friends first. She wanted to keep best friend status for those closest to her. I think I do too. Sharing with lots of friends is great but having best friends is special. After the kids went up to bed, my best friend Steve made me a cocktail and we sat cuddled up on the sofa watching TV. There was something extra special about having a best friend you can snuggle up with. I leaned my head on Steve’s shoulder and told him how much I appreciated his answer at dinner. He just smiled. I really couldn’t tell if he was just happy he chose the right answer or relieved he didn’t name one of the guys, but I took it as a good sign anyway.

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