Defining friendship was never easy for Elizabeth. After all, her best friend couldn’t speak. The two had been neighbours since Abby came into the world four months after she did. They spent a lot of time together as kids, attended the same schools and pretty much went everywhere together.
Elizabeth carried two photographs of them in her purse – one from a trip to Movieworld two summers ago and one of them splashing together at the beach as toddlers. The second produced mixed emotions. It made her happy and proud she’d known her best friend her whole life. It made her feel safe and loved, but also made her incredibly sad about what the disease had taken from her bestie.
It was not long after that beach picture that Rett Syndrome started taking things from Abby. First it was her walking, then her talking and her ability to use her hands. Within a few months Abby had gone from being just like Elizabeth to someone who could only manage crawling on the good days. It was unfair, totally and completely unfair.
And it didn’t matter one bit to Elizabeth, who still rated Abby as a perfect BFF. Sometimes they’d just hang out and watch movies. Sometimes they’d cook up a mess in the kitchen. Sometimes they’d get a makeover with hair, nails, everything. In fact, Abby was everything Elizabeth could want in a best friend - she was always happy to see her, there were no expectations and the silence didn’t matter. It was just easy being in her company.
Over the years Elizabeth had made other friends who were perfectly capable of speaking. None of them were as trustworthy or as close as Abby. Words, Elizabeth had decided long ago, were overrated.