By Maxine Hsiung
This is a piece dedicated to some of the closest people of my life, all of whom I had never expected to be so crucial to my personal growth.
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
Sixth grade: we walked out of math class, stunned at how terribly we did on the test. We looked at each other. You too? We burst into laughter.
I never thought we would become best friends—you had your friends, and I had mine. Yet, I was drawn to your energy; you were always laughing. Through you, I learned how to color every aspect of my life with humor.
We would go to Chelsea Market during lunch and wander around through all the various shops and take in all the aromas. We discovered a shortcut—a narrow pathway full of loud large air ducts—to our spot with our beloved Thai curry pot pie, and then struggled to find seats. After school, we would loiter around 16 Handles sampling all the flavors and only occasionally actually purchasing our own cup.
Our adventures didn’t stop after middle school. One summer day, we took a ferry to Governors’s Island and wanted to rent a surrey bike. We were both under eighteen, so we approached a random Asian lady and by some miracle, I was able to use my clumsy Chinese to convince her to pass off as our guardian. We took turns learning how to navigate the surrey bike and struggling to get it uphill while getting soaked by a fire hydrant.
Despite not being able to see each other much in person, we talk every day. We communicate through memes and random Snapchats. Even a Snapchat of just you sneezing will send me into a fit of laughter. Throughout the challenging school year, we FaceTime to motivate each other to work. Your presence alone gives me the energy and strength I need to get my work done.
Reflecting on everything about our friendship—from the chance way we met to how we’ve stayed close despite attending different schools—reminds me of the strength of our bond and the gratitude I have for you. You have made me more confident and outgoing: you know me completely and still accept me. You finish my sentences even when I can’t articulate them, and you are always there for me. Seven years after our failed math test, I can’t wait to celebrate the successes our lives have in store for us.
Neither of us quite remember how it happened: after six years of loosely knowing each other, we found ourselves in a friendship. We go to the piers near Battery Park and let out whatever is on our mind while the sun sets. Intention sometimes gets lost in our texts, but our missed connections and endless inside jokes never fail to make me laugh. Every year, I look forward to updating our “progress doc” with our reflections and our hopes for the future. You are always there for me when I need to rant, and you always offer an insightful fresh perspective.
You have continuously inspired me through your various passions—knitting, ukulele, violin—and optimistic mindset. I love how we cheer each other on, try new things together, and share opportunities with each other. In fact, I would not have been able to write this piece if it weren’t for your creative mind and willingness for me to emulate your work. I’m grateful that we’re there for each other, and I enjoy sharing new experiences with you.
We met at a bus station in the Bronx on our way to our first 5K race. We made the usual small talk. We both were looking for a running buddy: although I barely knew you, we exchanged numbers and planned to meet up every Saturday morning to run in Central Park. We didn’t talk much when we ran, but being by each other’s side pushed us to run further. I often feel like stopping, but I continue since you keep going. I learned later on that you, too, felt like stopping but only continued since I did.
In January, five months after our weekly runs began, we finally ran the full loop without stopping. Running, like relationships, takes time to progress. Every time we meet, we build upon what we had. Despite not being a morning person, I now eagerly get out of bed on cold Saturday mornings to run and bask in the beauty of Central Park with you.
Relationships like these have shaped who I am today. By sheer chance, we meet people who have the potential to meaningfully impact our lives. It takes just one person to spark joy, passion, or motivation in you.
Maxine Hsiung is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in New York, NY.