Study Guide

Things Not Seen Friendship

By Andrew Clements

Friendship

I mean, it's not like I'm some psycho loner or anything. I've got friends, kids I eat lunch with, stuff like that. (1.77)


Maybe Bobby's not the coolest kid in school, but he's not a loner either. So when he finds that he's invisible, he doesn't necessarily feel relief—instead he just feels worried that he'll never be able to go to school or talk to people again.

"You want some cocoa? They have good cocoa at Starbucks. Really, you need to warm up. Here, put your left hand on my cane out there in front of mine, and you can just walk in with me. Everyone gets out of my way. Let's go." (11.66)

You've got to hand it to Alicia… she really is a caring soul. Instead of standing there and gaping over the news she's just heard, she immediately starts to worry about how cold Bobby is, since he's standing around naked and all.

I'm thinking about what I just said about Alicia. About how she's a friend. And about how it's true.

Because, already, that's what Alicia is. She's a friend. (12.69-70)

Bobby may have just met Alicia, but he just felt like he could trust her with his biggest secret ever. That makes her a friend—a true, close friend—even if they haven't known each other for more than a few days.

"I guess I was popular before it happened, but that didn't help. All the kids I hung around with just disappeared—all but Nancy, Nancy Fredericks." (13.51)

It seems that Alicia had a lot of fair-weather friends before she became blind. Once she had her accident, all of her friends slowly trickled out of her life, except for the one true friend who was willing to stick with her through the hard times.

And then I see what she means. Because I did have to tell her, just like she has to tell me all of this. I had to trust her. Sometimes, you have to tell someone else what it's like. Because if you don't, you'll go nuts. (13.57)

Sometimes you just know when you meet the right person. Call it love at first sight, call it an instant connection… it doesn't matter. All that matters is that Bobby knows that he can trust Alicia as soon as he meets her.

And I learn that I can have a girlfriend. Or at least a friend who's a girl. That's because I talk to Alicia a lot. We talk on the phone, and we do instant messaging. She's got a text-to-speech translator on her PC, so whatever I type into a message window, her PC says out loud. She types a lot faster than I do. And we just talk. (14.16)

Okay, so maybe Alicia isn't Bobby's official girlfriend, but she sure is taking on the emotional role of one—they tell each other everything and talk constantly. It's like they've known each other all their lives.

"I know where you are right now, Bobby. I've been there too. I have. And if it hadn't been for Nancy, I'd have probably tried to kill myself or done something else really stupid, stuff like you're talking about. So I'm going to be your Nancy. I'm not giving up on you, no matter how long it takes for things to get better, or even if things never do get better." (17.76)

Alicia's not going to give up on Bobby, even when he's angry and frustrated and confused. That kind of behavior might scare other people away, but Alicia is well-versed in it. After all, that's how she dealt with her own problem.

We both hang up, but it's like there's still a connection. I can feel it.

And it feels good. (17.88-89)

The whole invisibility fiasco might be a huge pain in the butt for Bobby and his family, but at least one good thing comes out of it: He makes a friend who will stick with him through thick and thin.

By the time we get to the couch in the family room, I'm cured. I can get back to being mad some other time. Right now, I'm just glad to be with Alicia. (18.105)

Alicia may be testy and sarcastic all the time, but she can also be a great distraction. Bobby even gets over the fact that he's furious with his dad for ignoring him when she's around—she just knows how to cheer him up.

For the second time during this phone call, I've got to get something just right, first try. "Because this afternoon… because it felt like we rode out there to Sears together, and… and then we came home alone. I didn't like it." (22.103)

Now that Bobby's got such a great friend in Alicia, he's not going to let her go. Instead of ignoring the fact that she was weird on the cab ride home, he confronts the tension head-on. He'd rather talk it out than let things slide.