Friendship First, Sanity Second

The hillside is quiet, only a soft breeze rustling through the grass keeps it from being completely silent. I stand just at the peak of the hill and look down at the unmoving form in front of me. Something has to be done.

I move forward and drop down onto the ground, pulling my knees to my chest, wrapping my arms around them, and setting the side of my head upon the apex of my bent limbs. I sigh loudly and peer at you out of the corner of my eye. You do not move.

"You want to talk about it?"

Silence and still no movement.

All right, I guess this is how it's going to go. One sided conversation it is then.

"The sun is out," I try. "I shall stay until I start to get hot. And remember, I don't get hot very easy."

Nothing.

I tilt my head back to straight and prop my chin up on my knees. "Be a shame if we wasted a day like today just sitting here in a stalemate."

Silence.

Try another road, maybe that will work.

"Your hair is really curly today," I blurt out. "I don't think I've ever seen it this curly. I wish my hair would curl as nice as yours does. I've tried to get it to work. Never seems to though. Just ends up looking like some critter tried building a nest there. Do you think I could pull it off? Make a new trend? Chipmunk nest hair. I think it will work."

Still nothing. It's a tough one today. Hasn't been like this in a while.

"Do you want something to drink?" I ask as I pull a water bottle out of my backpack. "I have another one in here if you don't want to share backwash."

Not even a hint of movement. I shrug and take a swig of water.

Silence reigns for a moment and I pop the bottle back into its pocket. Options, options, what are my options?

"You know I wandered over that hill over there the other day," I say while pointing to the hill off in the distance. "Not much on the other side. More of the same really, grass, trees, birds, planet earth. You should check it out though. Makes for interesting conversation. As you can tell."

Wait, was that a twitch? I might be on to something.

"Dad told me the other day that he was planning on coming out here sometime soon. Maybe we'll check out the other direction." I jerk my thumb over my shoulder. "Might be even more of the same that way. You know, blue sky, flowers, squirrels."

No more twitches but your shoulders look a little tighter. Making progress.

I fiddle with my bare toes and watch a bird hopping through the grass in front of us, about halfway down the hill.

"Do you want to check out that hill with me before dad comes out?" I ask tilting my head back to its sideways position on my knees, my eyes straining to look at you through the lock of sun-lightened hair that has slipped forward across my face. "We could run down the other side screaming like mad and hopping through the grass with wild abandon."

A shudder can barely be seen. Almost there.

"Could make us questionable company if anyone comes out here and catches us though," I say with a tone of thoughtfulness. "Maybe we shouldn't scream and hop. Walking and screaming though, that seems a little more on the sane side."

A corner of your mouth lifts.

"Or should we leave out the screaming and just run with wild abandon through the countryside? I don't think it will be as much fun though. What is wild abandon without screaming? Just doesn't seem right."

Your shoulders continue to tense up and I am almost positive that I hear a soft snort try to sneak its way out.

"Screaming and hopping it is then," I say. "And should the neighbors ask I will tell them that we are still well within the rules of fun and sanity. For the rules clearly state that if one runs with wild abandon then they must also scream. High and piercing is preferred. Nine out of ten girls agree."

Yep, definitely a snort.

"I don't know where the boys stand on the matter though."

That does it. That single line produces the most explosive guffaw of laughter I have heard in a long time. Your shoulders sag in defeat and then bunch up once more as you tilt forward in unhindered giggles. I grin widely and try to contain myself. To get caught up in it with you would ruin the streak I have going.

"No, higher pitched," I say, "You know, like that time that the fish started nibbling on my toes in the stream yesterday."

The laughter is shaking your whole frame now and you turn to shove me sideways into the grass. I flail with windmilling arms and tumble into a uncoordinated heap. The vision sends you over the edge again.

Finally I let myself join in on your joyous outpouring and I straighten myself to lean into your side. Both of us shaking with giggles and snorts until we can no longer breathe and we begin to calm once more.

"It's your turn tomorrow," I say as we stand up to begin our walk. "And you still haven't beaten my record of fifteen minutes."

You grin at me with that mysterious grin of yours. The one that speaks of hidden thoughts and careful planning.

"We just started doing this... whatever it is, a week ago," you say. "I haven't had much of a chance yet."

I return the grin and we throw our arms over each other's shoulders. Our steps matching and creating a staccato rhythm on the hard packed trail. "You will never be able to resist my charms."

"Fat chance," you burst out with an undignified shriek.

Our babbling continues on as we meander down the trail. It is clear to us that, should someone come upon us, yabbering away in our own version of conversation, they would surely turn around and beat a hasty retreat. But we don't care. And that is why we are friends. Because friends care more about a continued relationship than they do about how other people view their sanity. Friendship first, sanity second. Such is the way it is and such is the way it will always remain.

Thoughts? Opinions?