Fifteen years, that’s how long we’ve been friends. We met during the first days of seventh grade, my first days at a brand-new school in a brand-new state. I remember talking in the gym class bleachers, marveling at the fact that she had colored hair mascara in her hair. No one in Ohio had had unnatural hair color and I didn’t know what to make of it.
The first place we went together was a haunted house. We went out for pizza afterwards and laughed at some younger boys talking about girls – “Liking a girl just because she’s pretty is wrong. You gotta have inner thoughts!” We were in the same awkward, in-between place in life: still young enough to (secretly) play with dolls (well, in our case, Beanie Babies), but old enough to vie for the attention of boys.
We were inseperable from day one, but fifteen years held a lot of ups and downs. We barely spoke during eighth grade. We didn’t speak at all for our entire senior year of high school. Somehow, we always found our way back to being friends. I remember hearing that she hoped to see me at graduation; we did end up talking that night and from them on we were back to normal. Although we went to different colleges, we managed to stay in touch, although sometimes sporadically. Then we got jobs and discovered the joy of gchat at work and phone calls while stuck in traffic on the way home.
In middle school, people thought we were twins, even though she was half a foot taller than me. In high school, we had our own written language. We would pass a notebook back and forth, our secrets written in code so our messengers (usually boys on which we had crushes) wouldn’t know what we were writing. We had a minimal spoken language, too; we could communicate without people knowing what we were talking about. In a lot of ways, we still can.
We’ve had separate lives for the past nearly-ten years, yet we’ve stayed best friends. We’ve bonded over boys, over mental health, over weight loss. We’ve talked shit and told secrets and cried over the phone. We’ve been there through breakups, friend problems, and job stress. We’ve shared books and music and sometimes crushes. She’s my person, the closest thing I have to a sister (especially in the “sometimes you drive me crazy but I still love you” kind of way!), and as of today she lives two states away.
I don’t know how to deal with it and I’m not sure how I feel. On one hand, it’s not as if we spend every day together; it’s not as if we’ve lived in the same place or seen each other daily since high school. At the same time, to have 30 miles between you and suddenly have whole states in the way is quite an adjustment.
I worried for awhile that we wouldn’t make it, wouldn’t be able to stay close. So many people say “let’s stay in touch!” and totally give up. But looking over the past fifteen years, I have good reason to keep my fingers crossed that gchat and text messaging and phone dates can keep us the same BFFs as always.