Eight years ago, I met my best friend. I realize that term is something 7 and 13 year olds use and every age in between, when being close means you’ll sit with them at lunch and they can borrow your crayons. But it’s true. I stand by it. If we had the same classes, we sat together at lunch, and I let her borrow more than just my crayons.
We became best friends. She knew that when I said that I didn’t care about a grade, it really meant I was worried I wouldn’t do well. I knew that boy she said was only for fun was actually a lot more than that. I knew how she liked her pancakes; she knew what kind of movies would cheer me up. I told you, we were best friends.
And then life got in the way. We got older, I became a mess, she became distant. We both battled with things—similar issues, it turns out—but we didn’t know how to voice them. Or maybe we did and felt like we couldn’t. Or, more likely, the lure of getting lost in other people and partying and making college the best four years of your life got in the way. It doesn’t hurt me, not anymore. I don’t blame myself; I just about got over that.
Eight years ago, I met my best friend. I lost her a while after that. Not just her, but myself. Am I going to say it was all the same? No, I would never. Yes, it hurt so badly, but as much as she knew my world, she was not it. A big part, no doubt, but there was more to it than that. Call it the universe, divine intervention, or maybe just growing up, but I needed to see it. I needed to rely on myself more than her. I needed to realize that the mess I became hurt others too, not just myself.
A year ago, I met my best friend. I met the 20-something version of her. I met the woman she has become, impacted by the memories we made on good days and the parts she tried to forget from the bad ones, all mixed with the moments that have shaped her ever since. I met the woman I always imagined she’d become, but when you’re 19, you really know nothing about how things will go. I met the woman she has become. I guess the rest doesn’t matter.
A year ago, I met my best friend. Her career did not take her where I always thought it would, but her glowing skin told me it was fine. I never expected us to both end up in the place I always knew I would, but I’m glad we did. I think I’m not the only one. Do I still know her favorite snack? Perhaps. Could she name my favorite book? Well, it’s quite a list.
Eight years ago, I thought meeting my best friend meant eventually knowing the toothpaste she preferred, the hangover food she craved, the boy she had a crush on. Eight years ago, I thought a list of things meant we were best friends.
A year ago, I met a woman whose preferences I once knew almost better than my own. Whose wants I once could identify in my sleep, whose needs I tried to put before mine.
A year ago, I met a woman who somehow knew me better than anyone, even though she perhaps still doesn’t know the toothpaste I prefer, the hangover food I crave, the boy I have a crush on. Well, she might—she does. But that’s not what makes her my best friend.
Years went by. I met my best friend my first year of college. I lost her sometime throughout my third. Last year, I met her again. The friend I’ve known for years, the one I get to know all over again. Last year, I met my new best friend.