To Sammie, This is how our friendship made me feel

To: Sammie

From: Michael (As told to Lauren Brill)

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Dear Sammie,

As you know, through the years, it hasn’t always been easy for me to make friends. I have been bullied. In group settings, it is hard for me to engage. When talking to people, sometimes, I struggle to find the right words to say. Most kids don’t take the time to get to know me – the real me.

I have Asperger’s, which is a form of Autism characterized by difficulties socializing.

Michael met Sammie in first grade.

I am different from most people.  But Sammie, I want you to know you are also different even though you don’t have a condition like me.

Our parents say we met in first grade, but I remember you from second grade when we were in the same class. Even back then, you were so sweet to me. However, it wasn’t until middle school that we started to hang out. It was right before my family and I moved to Texas.

One time, toward the end of seventh grade, we spent the whole day together. We saw the movie Maleficent, walked around that shopping area and got some frozen yogurt. It felt so good to have someone my age spend time with me. I felt appreciated. I realized that you do care about me and you understand me.

Most kids don’t take the time to get to know me – the real me.

When we moved from New York to Texas, it was hard. Honestly, I still miss New York and it’s mostly because of you. I have never made another friend that treated me with such kindness and compassion. That’s why even though it’s tough to maintain a long-distance friendship, I have made sure to stay connected to you through text and Facetime.

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Michael took Sammie to his senior prom.

One day, during my senior year of high school, I called you on Facetime. Simultaneously, a family friend brought a tray of cookies to your house. The cookies spelled out prom with a question mark.

You said, “Yes!”

And on the inside, I screamed, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

I was so relieved. I would not have gone to prom if I could not go with you.

You flew to Texas and wore a blue dress. You looked beautiful.

As always, we had a great time together.

We are both in college now – you in New York and me in Texas. Our friendship is special. Because of you, I am more confident and comfortable with myself than I would have been otherwise. You were never afraid to talk to me – someone who gets lost in the crowd or doesn’t always fit in as well with others.

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Growing up, you were one of very few kids my age who accepted me and got to know me for who I am, which is a person who values intelligence, works hard and wants to be there for others.

Sammie, the reason you are also different from other people, is because you were one of very few willing to give me a chance.

Thank you!

I am forever grateful for your friendship,

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