We became friends because of the Harry Potter series (although knowing my obsession with the books, that’s not surprising). It was fourth grade, and I had just moved to a new school. Norwood Fontbonne Academy was, for the most part, a strict, sheltered, uncomfortable-uniform Catholic School. Comparing my new and old schools was like comparing water and fire; my first school had been a colorful, fun Montessori experience where I had loved learning, had much more freedom and many more friends. My parents, who believed that my education was very important, had made many sacrifices over the years to give me a good one. We were never really rich, and I had moved schools mainly because we could no longer pay the tuition, which seemed to me to be about a million dollars - and the new school wasn’t much cheaper.
At this point in my life, I had read up to the fifth book in the series. My parents, being completely oblivious to the pain and suspense they were putting me in, told me that I should wait a while before continuing. (Thanks to a friend who had read all the books, however, I knew nearly every character who died - even ones I hadn’t met yet). But it was that book under Isabel’s arm - and the way she carried it, as if she too had that intangible sense of how precious it truly was - that made a little voice inside me sing out, “Friend potential, Friend potential, Friend, Friend!!
The next day, I brought in a book. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was one of the lighter books in the series, and would serve my purpose. At dismissal, I was careful to keep the book out of my bag. As the raucous herd of wildebeests in white shirts, plaid skirts, and navy pants, otherwise known as my class, stampeded towards the carline, desperate for freedom, I drew level with Isabel. Now, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to say anything, but at that moment, something truly magical happened. For reasons unknown, the herd stalled, leaving me standing next to Isabel and her book. And slowly, her eyes moved from her book up to take in me, and, then, to see her book’s sister volume practically screaming out, “I’m here, notice me!!” - clasped in my hand. She smiled, her green eyes lighting up, and I shyly beamed back.
“I guess we like the same books, huh?” she murmured. I nodded, and the herd moved forward once again, separating us. That was victory enough for me, though. She knew I existed, and that we read the same books. She had been friendly. And for that moment, I was very happy.
We didn’t become friends in that split second, of course. But gradually, the relationship began to evolve. I kept bringing in a Harry Potter book, and would tentatively drift over to Isabel at recess. We would talk, and we discovered that both of us were fond of tag - or more dramatic variations of it. And slowly, a strange friendship developed. I switched to bringing in the Goblet of Fire, and we read the end together - her for the first time, me for the second. Then, Isabel began to read the next book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the book my parents had stopped me from reading six months ago. At that point, I began the argument: I was old enough, mature enough, I could handle it, Isabel was reading it, PLEASE??????? And eventually, they conceded - and I finished the book in about a week (although it did prove to be quite a deterrent during classes). The process was repeated with books six and seven, during which time no sound would echo through my room except for the fwip, fwip of turning pages.
I hope that I never forget the moment I completed the seventh , and last, book - it was a moment of elation and grief, a bittersweet knowledge that I had reached the end, the real end, but how wonderful, how magical, it all was. Torn between laughter and tears, I suddenly knew how deep, complex, and beautiful the world could be. But, of course, I would read the book again - it would resonate with me throughout my life - and, once Isabel finished it, I would discuss it with her.
I was only at Norwood-Fontbonne for a year - but by the end of the year, I was almost sad to leave. I would miss my homeroom teacher, a wonderful person, and some of my classes. But most of all, I would miss Isabel, and the interesting group of people that I had met, mostly thanks to her already existing friendships. I attribute most of my success during that year to her presence, even if we were in different classes.Throughout the year, Isabel and I, though we could see each other rarely, would talk, laugh, and develop inside jokes. By the end of the year, I knew that the little voice inside my head had been right - here was a friend!!!! I only hoped that, with our now being in different schools, we would remain as such.
We did. All throughout 5th grade and 6th, and now into 7th, we have remained friends. While II gradually adjusted to Jenkintown, and now have some amazing friends here as well, Isabel and I have stayed close. We write each other letters, and, though we are no longer together every day, see each other whenever we can. And we have discovered, through the years, how alike we really are. We both love to read and write, especially fantasy, have a flair for drama, are very conscientious, and are fond of music and art. We even look alike, both of us sharing blue-green eyes and dark, chocolate-y hair. I have often joked that we should tell people that we are sisters - and people have asked - but even I was surprised when a woman recently asked, “Are you twins?” I responded, “No, as much as we look alike, we’re just friends,” - and I am certainly happy about the latter.
Isabel is a kind, smart, funny, very talented person, and I am extraordinarily happy to be her friend. She turned thirteen a few days ago, and I will in about a month. We are all moving forward into the future, but some things remain the same. I can only hope that our friendship - from the marvel of Harry Potter to pretended sisterhood to everything else - will be one of them.