I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Julie and I were sitting on a hill on campus, watching the students hurrying by. I was picking at the grass absentmindedly, when out of the blue my best friend blurts out, "they're officially announcing my engagement in two weeks."� I stare at her, waiting for the words to register into my brain. It finally hits me like a ton of bricks- oh my god, my best friend is getting ENGAGED!! I realized I hadn't asked her much about her fiancée, I didn't even know his name. I guess I thought that if I didn't talk or think about it, maybe it wouldn't happen and then things wouldn't have to change.

My family moved here from Tanzania, East Africa in the summer of 1995, and I was a young teenager thrust into a whole new world with a completely new culture to learn and become a part of.

It took a while for me to get used to and deal with the vast differences in culture.

I have been friends with Julie for five years now, and she is the only person (apart from my parents) that I would trust my life with. She was the first real friend I made in Minnesota. I met her through our mosque. I still remember when my cousin introduced me to all the younger girls, and my first impression of Julie was "ohmygod what a geek!"� She had braces, and was into wearing clothes that could fit ten of her in there.

It was easy for us to relate to each other because we were both Muslims growing up in a western culture. The biggest problem our mosque faces today is the youths losing the traditions and values that our parents were taught and used while growing up, and passing it on to us. It's hard to try to fit in, and still keep your values and religion intact, because where do you draw the line between the two? We have been through so much together "" venting to each other about dealing with parents who still have such backward thinking, through her Nirvana stage with the accompanying black lipstick, when things got so bad at home that Julie was contemplating running away from home until I talked her out of it. There have been many good times too- our own language of inside jokes that no outsider can enter, when Julie came over and helped me get my outfit together for prom, when she got her new car for her birthday last year, and we took our first ride in it. I started thinking about all these memories we had together- through high school, and now we were going to university together, and I started crying. For like five minutes we both sat on our sides of the grass, crying silently. I finally looked up, and she started laughing"¦ Handing me a mirror, she says, "damn"¦ You look like crap!"� I peered at my reflection and was a little shocked. My eyes were puffy and red with black streaks streaming down my face from my mascara, and my makeup was pretty much nonexistent.

Louise Kendricks and Maya had a similar relationship in the book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. From the moment the two first meet at the annual summer picnic fish fry when Louise stumbles onto Maya they immediately begin to trust each other. "There was a little peal of a scream and before I could open my eyes Louise had grabbed my hand. "I was falling"�- she shook her long braids- "I was falling in the sky."� I liked her for being able to fall in the sky and admit it. I suggested, "Let's try it together. But we have to sit up and count to five."� Louise asked, "Want to hold hands? Just in case?"� I did. If one of us did happen to fall, the other could pull her out."� (141) Louise was also Maya's first true friend, apart from Bailey, and they also had their own language that nobody could decode, the Tut language and a signal too (two waves of the left hand). They seem to have the kind of fun me and Sukaina have, laughing and giggling about anything that is remotely funny.

Louise was the one friend that Maya could go to with her problems. When she got a note from Tommy Valdon asking her to be his valentine, she didn't know what to do, so the first thing she thought of was going to Louise and asking her what she would do in Maya's situation.

Throughout the story, Maya regarded her friendship with Louise with great care so as not to change the status of their relationship. Louise was the one person in Maya's life that was her age, and who could relate to the things she was going through- whether it was giggling about boys, helping each other with schoolwork, gossiping, and other things that are important to a young girl.

It's scary how dependent you can become on someone without even realizing it. Whenever I have a problem, be it academic or social problem, I grab the phone and call Sukaina. When something funny happens, I make a mental note to call her and share it with her. When something exciting happens or I need advice, I call her up and tell her. We take things we think are always going to be there forever for granted, and just expect it to be there like it always has been. Until one day it's no longer there.

I have been waiting my whole life for a pivotal moment to make me feel older, to make me feel more like an adult and less like an awkward teenager. Remember your thirteenth birthday? How you were so excited to be turning into a teenager that you tossed and turned the entire night just thinking about it? And then you woke up in the morning expecting to feel something different"¦ but you still feel"¦ the same as you did when you were fifteen. This was more of a reality check for me, as I realize that whether I want to or not, I AM growing up, and however badly I want it to, things aren't going to stay the same forever.

Just as Maya moved on with her life, I know that after Julie gets married and moves, my life will still go on as usual, and I may find someone new to confide in, but it just won't be the same.

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