It took a long time for Aiden to open up to me about how he felt. I couldn't imagine what he was going through. But he knew I was there for him.
One Wednesday afternoon after school, Mom asked me to take a plate of cookies to Aiden and his mom. When I got over there, I found Aiden in the kitchen going through old photos.
"Hey. What are you looking at?" I asked him as I sat down. I could tell he had been crying.
"Oh. Uh. it's nothing," he said, wiping his eyes.
"Aiden, I'm your best friend. And you're back. You know you don't have to shut me out anymore. I'm here for you. You don't have to hide your emotions from me."
"I guess you're right." He pulled out a photo of what looked to be him and his dad. "This is when we went fishing off the pier. That was one of the best days I had with him. We caught so many fish our freezer was full for a week."
"I remember that day. You even gave us some fish. You know I still get sick just thinking about it."
"Yeah. I hate eating fish now. But that was still a good day."
Aiden talked more about how great his dad was and how excited he would get when he would come home after a tour. He even said I was like a daughter to him. That made me tear up a little. Even though they had to move so far away, I was still like family to them.
"Aiden, I'm glad you opened up to me. It's not so bad to share your feelings. Just because you're a guy, it doesn't mean you should hide them."
"I know. But I'm trying to be strong for my mom."
"I know. But it's good to have a cry once in a while or talk to someone about how you feel."
"Well, I'm glad I have you to talk to. And maybe I should talk to my mom, too."