I made a new friend recently. I’ll call him S. He is in the grade below me. He approached me one day when it was hot and sunny, in a field with no shade outside the middle school. He had drawn all over his jeans in Sharpie and was wearing what might have been a band T-shirt but might have also been a club or a company name. He looked young with his short brown hair framing his round face.

“Would you like to be friends?” he asked. I said yes. I wish all friendships started so officially! No guessing whether someone is a friend or just a friendly person. No worries about fakeness. I liked this kid.

After my band’s next gig S. invited my whole group of friends to his house, even though he only knew a couple of us. His house was filled with ornaments and tapestries; it smelled like fire and incense and bread. We walked down a narrow winding staircase and into a glowing room.

“This is my room,” he said. It was huge and filled with colored lights. There were lamps and fairy lights everywhere splashing a million colors across the walls, which were covered with art and license plates. We gaped at the lush carpet and the comfortable-looking couches and the hundreds of places to sit or lie down. We fawned over the Buddhist shrine and the TV and the books. The room was dark but full of candles and rainbow mirrors everywhere. That doesn’t make sense, but that’s the only way to describe S.’s room. It was beautiful. We were in awe. We started gushing about it simultaneously, and S. looked a little embarrassed. “I’m an only child,” he explained.

We watched Birdemic, and it was horribly lovely. We played with fake blood and fire and goggles in the dark.

I hung out with S. alone the next day. It turned out that we had all the same psychological issues and similar experiences, like losing a parent, having been bullied, and hating therapy.

I could already tell we were going to be good friends. I could share things with him that I’ve never told anyone—not even parents, friends, or therapists.

This friendship is going to be good for me. ♦