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How My Best Friend Has Changed My Life

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Like any kid growing up I had a best friend; as I grew up she was the big sister I never had and to this day nobody can compare to her in my eyes. As kids we always promised each other we’d never leave each others side; back then I never imagined one day Jenna, my best friend would be more than just a phone call away. As time has gone on Jenna without even knowing has taught me so many lessons being strong and patient are just a to name a few.

My best friend, Jenna Ahern, grew up down the street from me; her two older sisters were my nannies during the summer, which was the main reason we were so close. Over one summer Jenna was sick of me being the only kid my age with water wings, she knew water frightened me by she decided she was going to fix that. That same day she convinced me one day to take my water wings off and little by little I faced my fear of the water, and by the time summer came to an end I could swim on my own. This was the first big fear I remember facing, never after that summer have I been afraid of water, or swimming. As we started getting older we fell apart, and for a time we didn’t even know each other anymore. I had felt like all of those years and memories should be erased, I was too young to even know how to stop it. As the time flew by my sophomore year of high school I had a very random facebook message, Jenna, my childhood best friend who I’d fallen out with began telling me a story. Never did I dream it’d drastically change the next three years of my life.

Jenna explained she had made a mistake; she had thrown her ex boyfriend over the edge. He had become so tired of her he thought filing a restraining order was the only way to be left alone. In her mind she figured she knew him well enough to go see him anyways and to try convincing him to drop it. After she went to his house the cops were called, Jenna heard the sirens and drove away in her sports car. Later that day she was arrested at her house, she spent 63 days in county jail, and shortly after being released she learned her troubles were far from over.

Over the next couple days I thought about it, I remember thinking my childhood bff was insane and I was happy I no longer associated with her. The weekend after that I spent the night with some friends who I thought were cool until they made me start feeling uncomfortable after the smell of alcohol and tobacco filled the air, then hiding my keys at 3 am I decided I needed to leave. I quickly called a bunch of people, no one picked up so I logged on to Facebook where nobody but Jenna was online. After explaining the story to Jenna within 30 minutes I had a ride to her house. I then realized she was not some insane changed person; she was the same as always; a great friend and great person. After that night we became once again inseparable up until the day of July 2nd 2009.

I remember hearing Jenna say “days like this are the worst” not even knowing it’d be a long time before she would see the area again. The day was July 2nd her court date, it was a rainy day, unusually cold and muggy for the month of July which is why Jenna said, “ days like this are the worst.” Around ten am Jenna stood, her lawyer to her right and to her far left stood the prosecutor. After five minutes of a speech given by the Judge I heard “thirty-one months” I was speechless, and the only thing I remember is the wet tears running down my face, and the goodbye hug to my best friend.

I don’t even have the perfect words to describe how hard it was watching my best friend being drug away; it was one of the most painful experiences in my life. It taught me to be strong, I had to be strong, and not only for myself but also for my best friend who would spend the next 2 and half years away from home locked up. At the time she was only 19 years old, she couldn’t imagine the journey ahead of her. Today, Jenna is still my number one role model; she is the best friend anyone could ever have. Looking back over these past years and experiences I see how much Jenna had influenced me by showing me how brave she is. Most girls her age could never see a day without makeup, boys or their cell phones. She’s made up so much of the person I am today, because of all of these things.

Before she was taken away I never imagined my life again without her, or let alone life with a best friend in prison. I realize everything does happen for a reason, and in order to have good sometimes-hard lessons have to be learned. This coming week Jenna will finally make her way from the gated fences and begin a new journey in her life. She has been teaching me as I’ve grown up just like a big sister would, and now I must do my best to help her with things she’s missed out on and help her cope with the everyday reality of being outside the gated fences. I will always stand by her side, like I have throughout the hardest time in her life. I do my best to be as good of a friend as she’s been to me.

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