A Letter to my Friends by Claire Ockner

Dear friends,

Here we are. We stand, all of us, on a ledge. One foot planted on safe ground, the other dangling over. Soon, we’ll all jump. As scary as it is, we all have to do it at some point — take the leap. Leap into what? We look cautiously over the edge. What we see is not some gorge of darkness, nor a ravine of despair. It is independence, something new, a future of our own.

Friends, we’re all jumping off the ledge together, but who knows if we’ll end up in the same place? Some of you, I already know, will end up far away. Oregon, Maine, even Scotland. Some of you I take with me. Just a few hours away from this place, two and a half, to be exact. And yet it feels like I’m jumping off a ledge. Not jumping to my death, but to something else — a new life. G-d, I can’t wait to see where all of you land.

So, we’re all going somewhere. Somewhere other than Aldersyde Drive. We’re all jumping off a ledge, unplanted our feet from the ground we know so well. Calling it a ledge makes it sound like something to dread, but it isn’t. A ledge is just what I’m choosing to compare it to, in my current state of mind.

I hope you text me. Maybe you’ll only text me when you’re missing home or when you’ve already watched every single show on Netflix and have nothing better to do, but I’ll always be glad to hear from you. Always. And I mean that.

We still have a few months before we jump, so we should probably stop worrying about how close to the ledge we are, and start enjoying the moment. We’ll be friends, like we have been for however long. We’ll enjoy this summer and then, when we walk off the ledge, we’ll realize that where we end up doesn’t change the friendship we share.

Going away doesn’t erase the memories we made. It doesn’t erase the car rides with windows down and the High School Musical soundtrack playing on repeat. It doesn’t erase the times when we laughed so hard, our stomachs hurt. It doesn’t erase the smiles in the hallway. It doesn’t erase anything. It only adds to the memories. We’ll laugh together in December, probably about how “your roommate did what?!?” or “your mom called you when?”.

I can’t wait to see what you all do. Each and every single one of you can do anything and everything you put your mind too. And I can’t wait to be there, cheering all of you on.



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