When I was twelve, I lived in Fogo in Cape Verde. From my window, I could see about ten small houses, very far away, on a mountain range. The mountains are so high that people come from the United States to climb them. Everyone who visits says it is the most beautiful place.
While I was living there, my best friend was my cousin Aline, and she lived in the United States. Even though she lived far away, we talked every day, sometimes for hours. I asked her for advice because she was older than me and knew a lot. Once I asked her if I should go with an older boy. She told me not to because I was too young and he could make me suffer. I trusted her more than I trusted my mom because she didn’t tell anybody what we talked about. I talked to her about how I felt trapped because my parents didn’t let me go anywhere that I wanted to go. She would always make me feel better.
“When are you coming to Cape Verde?” I asked her one day. I only knew her by the pictures that she sent. In one picture, she was on the beach, playing with her sister. In another picture, she was in the park with her dog. She had short hair and wore glasses. She told me that she would come one day and that day would be soon.
She didn’t call me at all for the next week, and I got worried because she usually called me every day. Did I say something she didn’t like? I got more and more worried. I went to a secret place, far from all the houses, where I went to be alone when I was depressed. It is my favorite place, behind the mountains, with fields of all different types of colorful flowers. They were pink, yellow, and red, all across like in a painting. The birds were chirping and flying through the trees. I closed my eyes and smelled the fresh clean air and a hint of the scent from the blossoms, but even this didn’t make me feel better. I remember sitting on a rock in a sad mood, thinking about my cousin.
In those moments, I heard some steps coming to me, “bomm, bomm, bomm” and I wondered who was coming. Nobody knew about this place! I felt scared and I started to panic. When I turned back to see who was there, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in front of me! It was my cousin. “Oh my God!” I screamed. I stood up and ran with my arms open, jumped on her, and gave her a big hug. I was so happy and excited about seeing her for the first time.
In her hand, she had a beautiful little box that was my favorite color, red. She gave it to me and I opened the box. Inside, was the most beautiful ring I had ever seen, with seven thin gold connections holding the seven rings together.
“This gift shows how much I love you,” she said. “It is a symbol of our friendship. When you look at it, you are always to remember me as though I’m here with you.”
“Okay, I promise I will never take this ring off my finger. I will look at the ring and never forget you.”
One month later, she had to go back to the United States. I knew I would always look at the ring she gave me, like she told me to. I have taken care of this ring just like I take care of my life, with all my heart. I take the ring with me everywhere I go. I have had the ring for seven years now.
We live here in the United States together now and she is the only person who has ever given me a gift that means this much to me. Sometimes, when I feel upset, I play with the ring on my finger, and it makes me forget my troubles. She says to me, “This is what we can call real friendship, because everything started by the phone and look at us now, together forever.”
In this moving collection of essays, 11th grade students from Boston International High School explore meaningful objects from their families and former homes from around the world. Accompanying each essay is a full-page portrait of the student holding their object.View In Store Read more from this book »