Whenever I type the word “allies” I don’t see the plural of the word ally, I see “Allies” as in plural of a girl named Allie (pronounciation al-lee, vs al-lie).
Allie was this girl I knew in elementary school. I don’t think she really had any wrong with her that puberty didn’t eventually take care of, but she was the slowest girl in the class, the most socially awkward, the most sheltered and babied by her family. But she was also a sweet girl who stuck by the people she decided to care about. The real tragedy is that kids are mean little fuckers and nobody really chose to or remembered to care about her.
She and I had an odd push-pull friendship. My best friend at the time was opinionated and forcefull, and Allie wasn’t approved to hang out with our little group unless we absolutely had to, but I remember days when my best friend wasn’t around, and Allie and I would stand around on the playground, observing the others, both feeling like we didn’t quite fit in, awkwardly pretending to hate each other but enjoying the company and connection regardless.
One time, we were in crabby moods and being more snarky than usual with each other and we started trading “yo mama” insults back and forth, first out of frustration trying to get the upper hand, but soon we were caught by the humor of it. It turned into a game trying to make the better “yo mama” joke, and while we pretended it was still a fight, the was an unspoken agreement that we were enjoying ourselves, being two normal little girls who might not have been friends, but who weren’t alone either.
I lost track of Allie during middle school. I was swept up in the normal social life of a non-popular but also non-pariah teenage girl, and Allie slipped further into the shadows. It’s been almost 10 years since graduation and she could be anywhere by now. But anytime I write the word “allies” I still see her name, and think about how we could all use more Allies in our lives, unassuming and a little awkward, but eager to just share a laugh and make a connection and make the world a little bit nicer for everyone.