SECRETS

How do you cope?

Prologue

Your best friends are going to hurt you every once in a while. But you must forgive them for that.

When you're 17, you start to think you have the worst life anyone could ever have. You don't like the attention your parents give you and no one's there when you want the attention. Your love life is non-existent and there are always the popular girls out there who make you feel even more worthless. You're so paranoid that you start to doubt your bestest of best friends, if you can call them your "friends" that is. Insecurity is one of your biggest enemies because looking around, all you see are thin girls and tanned guys and begin to wonder whether you were born on the right planet.

You aspire to write a best-selling romance novel but you write a few sentences and the thrill doesn't seem to be there anymore. Sometimes you just don't even want to live because you feel like you don't belong, don't fit, don't match up and basically don't care anymore.

But I've realised as you get older, you start to care less. You accept your life as it is. You learn to let things go and suck it up if something happens that you don't like. You don't want to burden anyone with your problems because who wants to carry yours when they have problems of their own?

In my family, we don't talk about our feelings or open up to express our true thoughts. I know they love me but that's just the way we are – or at least that's the way I am.

I don't open up to my family. I wasn't raised to talk about my feelings.

But to my best friends, I am an open book. They are my haven. My angels that kept me sane. They'd pick me up when I was down and do just about anything else. We were all so different to each other but we were what the other wasn't. It's hard to describe but it worked between all four of us.

We'd known each other for 6 years already and what started off as a group assignment when we were juniors turned into so much more. It was Gail, Nancy, Tania and I, Suzanne the fantastic four. We all had different personalities and definitely different outlooks on life.

We found ourselves in the same class, on the same table at the beginning of high school with no one to talk to and no friends. Our teacher told us to form a team of four so we could do a quiz so naturally we were put into a group together. We ended up getting top scores as Gail knew almost every answer to the music section, Nancy knew about all the movies in history, Tania was a sports fanatic and I, well, I helped out. We then realised we were meant for each other and began to hang out together.

We promised each other we wouldn't conform to any of the labels high school would bestow upon us, we would be ourselves and not some kind of groupie wanting to fit in. But it was inevitable, as we grew older, high school took its toll and in the end we all had a label and it kind of grew on us.

The truth about me was that I relied on these girls to keep me safe. I didn't know about them, but my worst nightmare wasn't cockroaches, heights or the dark, it was us splitting up. I couldn't bear to think of it. I loved them all unconditionally that if one of them was away, I'd feel a part of me was away too.

"Boys come and go but best friends for life right?" That's what Gail always used to say. You could always count on her to be the wise one.

"But we all need boys, sometime." Nancy, never stopped thinking about boys. She was boy crazy and always seemed to have one by her side. Although incapable of actually asking a guy out, she always relied on us to "introduce" her to her own chosen targets.

"I bet you don't need boys more than you need sports. Although there are some hot guys in the swim team." Tania, always there trying to make us (especially me) excited about sports. Which never really worked as I thought walking up 5 flights of stairs everyday was considered a sport.

"Boys and sports (not) we all love. But we love each other the most yes?" That was me, keeping the peace. Which I didn't mind at all, because they'd all reassure me, that we indeed loved each other the most.

We did. We will always.

Right?