Maria Parfenova — Memoir

By Maria Parfenova

The Time I Met My Best Friend


When I began high school, I noticed that the friends I had all the way through eighth grade had changed a lot over the summer, making themselves almost unrecognizable to me. I think this had to do with everyone’s desire of fitting in and adjusting to the transition.

Since I had spent most of my time in Yellowstone that summer, I wasn’t able to see many of my friends. When school finally began, I had a hard time socializing with most people from my past – it just didn’t feel as natural as before. I assumed that I was just having a bad week and thought that everyone’s nerves were overtaking them.

As weeks and months went on, I realized I grew even further apart from my friend group than I had ever been. This made me hate school more than ever. Not only was I struggling in my classes, but I didn’t have any close friends to support me and offer me help when I asked for it.

On the day before winter vacation, Dec. 23 2014, I got into a fight with my friend and things got physical. I ended up spending most of my day at the nurse’s office being interrogated by her and the office staff. She let me go down to the cafeteria to get lunch, and this is where it all started.

When I sat down at a table of some guys I was sort of friends with, I saw a kid I didn’t recognize. I could tell he was looking at me, and I decided to ask where he was from. Instead, he made me guess his ethnicity. It took me a while to think up an answer, but he told me he was a mix of Chinese and German. I could even detect an accent in him, which was relieving because as immigrant myself, and I know what it feels like to be part of another culture. After learning a bit about him, I found out that he was visiting from China and shadowing one of my classmates.

When I returned the nurse’s office, I didn’t think much about the situation and decided to just relax. It wasn’t until I got home that I was reminded of him. I received a Facebook request from Daniel. I accepted it, and saw that a message was already waiting for me.

We talked on the phone throughout the entirety of vacation, but weren’t able to hang out in person because I was spending time in Miami. On New Year’s Day, we both had scheduled flights to take us home, so we wouldn’t have had a chance to see each other again since the difference between us was over 7,000 miles.

It was tough, but it didn’t discourage us. We continued calling each other and discussed our personal lives. I found out that he had a lot of friends, but no friendship that felt real to him.

I didn’t believe that people had such similar problems to me because I was only exposed to students being bundled up in their tight friend groups. Our struggles at school is what led us to guide each other and grow even closer.

This winter he decided to fly back to Boston and I got a chance to hang out with him for the first time. It was a wonderful moment because we always had something interesting to talk about and didn’t need anything but ourselves.

Daniel has taught me so much about his view of the world and it helped me discover my true thoughts too. It was hard saying goodbye to him this time, but I have a feeling that our paths will cross in the future.