“All That Matters”

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

No matter how old I grow, the meaning of friendship has always remained the same – loyalty, sympathy, understanding, and unwavering support. I learned this lesson early in life, back when my best friend’s trampoline was the cornerstone of my social life. It was there that I learned the value of friendship and the understated importance of simply “being there.” For something we depended on so much, the four of us certainly abused that trampoline. Its face had been scorched by summer days, caked in pollen, covered in leaves, and buried in snow. It had even tolerated a sticky rainbow of popsicle drips from days when we would lie on our stomachs, lazing in the sun.That trampoline heard its share of secrets, and it managed to keep them all. It stayed updated on who had crushes on whom, and kept quiet when the aforementioned boys jumped on with us. It served as our meeting place for devious plan-making, as well as our drawing board when we went back to square one. More importantly, it was a place to lie there together and do nothing – sweet, blissful nothing. One summer, the trampoline played an even more important role than usual – the summer that Elizabeth’s father died. The week before he passed we sat on the trampoline in silence, broken only by the crying of the suffering springs, indistinguishable from the crying of suffering girls. We offered Elizabeth our support, with minimal success. The only thing that helped was our presence on the trampoline, together, as we had been a million times before.That was also the summer I moved away – away from popsicles and secret plots. Although there was nothing I could do about it, I felt guilty for leaving my childhood friends, especially when it felt as if they needed me most. So I came back. Last year I revisited the trampoline (and, of course, the friends), and we remembered the giggles, the smiles, and the gossip. When we had finished catching up, we found ourselves in a reverent silence, like we had been years before. Looking down at that trampoline, I realized one very important detail: sometimes simply “being there” is all that matters.

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