Where do we find genuine Friendship? Back in 2002, Sandra was 21 and she decided to accept a part-time job at a local video store. She loved movies, and since she still lived with her Mother she only needed a few hundred dollars a month to help with bills and her boring social life. But it was at the video store that she meet Natasha another employee who was also the same age. They had allot in common. They both loved the same movies, the same clothes and even had the same tastes in Men. Eventually, they became good friends and spent their time on the phone gossiping, shopping and partying. Sandra and Natasha did have allot in common, but Natasha was more out going, she was more of a go getter. She worked 2 jobs, one in the morning and one in the evening and she took Business Management classes on the weekends. She moved out when she was 19 years of age, with a G.E.D and keys to a $500 dollars a month studio apartment. She came from a family of 5 Sisters and 3 Brothers all of them older than her and all of them expected her to be as independent as they were. In many ways, these two Women wanted to be the other. Sandra wished to be more like Natasha and Natasha wished to be more like Sandra. Somehow they both benefited from the synergy of their relationship, that is, until something they loved more than their friendship got in the way. One night at a party, a Man approached both ladies, he noticed both of them, taking turns looking at him. He walked over as a Gentleman and was drawn to Natasha, he politely questioned her about her romantic involvements. But he already knew she wasn't taken, her eyes told the story. Sandra sat back in the cut the whole night and watched as her best friend was wined and dined by a Man she was obviously interested in as well. She kept a false smile on her face and lifted her cup at them every so often to show her support for the new arrangement. It was then she started to point out Natasha's flaws in her head. The way she laughed, the way she threw her weave around as if it was really her hair. The love she had for her friend, took the back seat that night, and jealousy was allowed to rear it's ugly head. Sandra couldn't take much more of it, she refused to sit there and look like the third wheel. Eventually she got up and grabbed the first available Man sitting at the bar and asked him if he wanted to dance with her. She was bold, but it worked. What started out as a move to end her depressed mood turned out to be a wonderful evening. The Man that she picked to dance with her turned out to be someone she didn't mind at all at her side that night. They talked until 2 a.m. in the morning about just about everything. The situation didn't seem so bad anymore, both Sandra and Natasha had someone, no one was the wiser. But Sandra produced feelings against Natasha that night, that just couldn't be put away. For some reason she felt betrayed even though she didn't understand why she felt that way. Natasha wasn't stupid either. She could tell that Sandra was “faking” when she told her she was happy she final found a boyfriend. It was the heavy emphasis she put on the word- finally. All the feelings, attitudes and negative vibes led these two ladies into a change of pace, slowing but surely they stopped hanging out, stopped speaking and calling one another. The process was easy anyway because Sandra found another job as a Receptionist at a Lawyer's Office in the city. Natasha quit the video store too, and devoted more time to school and her new boyfriend. Sandra decided that she needed someone in her life also, so she called the Brotha she met at the Club. In only a few weeks she also had a Man to call her own. 4 YEARS LATER. Sandra and Natasha haven't seen or heard from one another in years. Sandra is married, not to the recent boyfriend but to a Man she meet online. This beautiful union produced their daughter 2 year old Allison. And with the help of her new Husband and family, she moved out of her Mother's house and purchased her own. Natasha is not married, but she also has a child and daughter, 2 year old Sakahia. The Father is the Man she met at the Club years before, while they are not together anymore he's always there for his daughter each and every time she needs him. He provides for her Daycare expensive, drops her off at least 2-3 a week, and makes sure her Mother is happy even though their love for one another went their separate ways. From time to time Sandra and Natasha do think about one another. Neither of them ever attempted having a female friendship after that. Females have too much drama. Too much jealous and envy, they keep reminding themselves of these things, it helps them to stay firm in their choice never to call each other. Sandra was a stay at Home Mom until one night after a long talk her her Husband she decided she wanted to do more with her life, she felt she was ready enough to go back out to work. Her Husband agreed. They enrolled Allison into Dr. Taylor's Daycare about 20 miles from their home. Everyone was talking about this Daycare because the Owner was also a Black Child Psychologist and Mother of 9 children of her own. Her Parenting methods made her into a local celebrity. She was known for her intuitive understanding of children. She called them The Young Elders. She also believed that children should be taught outside while they are playing. She felt that playtime is really education time for children and it's the best time to reach them. One of Dr. Taylor's best educational tools was the sand box. She said she would just sit for a few minutes and watch what children made or tried to make in the sand box. She would also send home a “sand box report card” to the Parents. Dr. Taylor believed it helped Parents to understand their child's mental progress, which in her opinion was just as important or even more so than physical progress. Dr. Taylor's methods were strange at times, but everyone believed in her theories because the positive results showed on their children. After about 2 Months at Dr. Taylor's Daycare little Allison seemed more attentive, more curious and would spend allot of time starring at her Father's newspaper. Sandra was the first to notice it. Obviously she was trying to read and she seemed very interested in words. Dr. Taylor sent home a sand box report saying “Allison already has all the key ingredients for a genuine friendship.” While this was wonderful to hear, Sandra still didn't understand fully what she meant. Her Husband usually dropped Allison off to the daycare, but the next morning she decided to do so herself so she could have a chance to speak to Dr. Taylor. When Sandra walked in with Allison, one of Dr. Taylor's Assistants immediately grabbed the 2 year old and took her into the playground to be in the sand box with the other children. Sandra looked around for Dr. Taylor and found her at a large window smiling and waving to her students on the outside. Sandra pulled out the sand box report card and asked her about the key ingredients for a genuine friendship Allison was displaying, and this is what Dr. Taylor told her. “ For us as Adults, it's very rare that we have a genuine friend, you know, someone that will really be there for us when the chips are down so to speak. We might have one, two at the most- yet even when that is the case it is rare for us to be a genuine friend ourselves. This is because society is unbalance, it all starts right out there in that sand box. Human social development, emotional and sensitivity training, it all starts right out there. If only it were possible to shrink society back down into young Elders again and retrain their thoughts, but we can't- we can't take them back to the sand box, but we can start with our own children. Your daughter Allison has displayed all the key emotional and intelligent qualities for being a genuine friend. Do you know how to spot a genuine friend? Look at her, look at your daughter. When she gives someone a toy, she sits back and she smiles at them, she is taking pleasure in seeing happiness in others. If someone hurts themselves, and she sees them crying, she comes along behind them and pats them on their back. And she did something yesterday that just brought tears to my eyes. She was the first one to make friends with the new girl named Sakahia. You know everyday we give them a small snack after lunch, about 3 cookies and these small juices. Do you know your daughter Allison gave the new girl all 3 of her cookies? Look at them, there they are now outside playing together. She is such a brilliant child, it has been my greatest joy working for our children.” Sandra left the daycare full of tears herself. Something about what Dr. Taylor said about friendship reminded her about Natasha. And as she turned the corner going back to her car in the parking lot- there Natasha stood, holding her daughter Sakahia's scarf and coat for later on that day. Had it been any other time, perhaps they would've passed one another in the street. Instead, they hugged and laughed. They laughed even harder after finding out their daughters went to the same Daycare and were now best friends. In time, and because of their daughters friendship, they regained their own. Both Sandra and Natasha learned something very important from Dr. Taylors methods. And to add a bit of poetry to it, Sandra created a large sand box in the backyard of their new house. In this place, these grown Women play just like children and try to retrain their thoughts. Without real friendships, there are no real relationships either. If we paid closer attention to what is happening in the sand box we would further understand what is happening in society. For 2008, build a genuine friendship. -meta.