Most of the time, I didn't feel like I was bringing a lot to that friendship. I wasn't nearly as witty, or as quick, or as pretty. I didn't know what she saw in me, and I suppose for a long time, I deep down expected her to get bored with me and drop me back into the pit. She never did, and as I got to know her better, I realized she never would -- she was a great believer in loyalty. Comes from reading too much King Arthur, I suppose. :-) And I slowly grew to believe that she actually liked me too.
I couldn't offer her much, but I could offer loyalty. I followed her around much like a puppy dog, and tried to make myself useful when I could. Checking her spelling on papers, that kind of thing. And running lines.
Even then, she knew she wanted to be an actress. And we spent hours upon hours in the musty theater, sitting on stage, or backstage among the walls of costumes and props (Miss Porter's was remarkably well-supplied with such things), me with a script in my hand, and her pacing back and forth, reciting furiously, occasionally stumbling, then catching herself and going on. Hours and hours, and maybe, someone looking on at us then would have shaken their heads and thought me pathetic in my loyalty, my devotion. I had no dreams back then; I was content to help with hers. It could look pathetic, I suppose.
But me, I look back and remember those hours as full of magic and possibility and laughter. Full of joy. I was never an actress, but through her I was given access to that world, to its ephemeral passion and despair. And in her, I had my first adult friendship, one which has lasted to the present day, and one which I expect will probably last until the day we die. Because we're loyal, we are. Too much King Arthur, as I said.