Today I had a twenty minute phone call with someone I’ve considered my best friend for almost a decade. Our friendship has grown slowly, but it is one that has developed because, I think, we both really value our ideas and opinions.
I distinctly remember meeting Sara; we both played on an intramural ultimate Frisbee team in college, but neither of us knew what we were doing, and spent most of our time running back and forth and laughing at our inability to produce any results. As I look back on my friendship with Sara, I can think of so many memories that make me smile: splashing in puddles on a suspension bridge until we noticed Sara’s hair raise from the lightning flashes around us, camping out in the dessert to watch the Leonid meteor showers, driving to Northern California and pulling over because one of us was sick, traveling to Mexico together, and many more. I’ve been very fortunate to have these experiences with Sara.
I think she came into my life at just the right time: I was in my second year of college, trying to figure out my life and become comfortable with who I am. For most of my time in college Sara was my go-to person; I spent the majority of my time with her, we worked together, we took many of the same classes together, and developed our plans for the future together. I really don’t think I could have made it through college without her support. At one point, I lived with her, unofficially, because I was so busy in school I didn’t have the time to go to my own house. After I finished college, our friendship didn’t end, but it changed in a marked way. Both of us shifted our focus to our relationships, and though we saw each other less frequently, our bond became closer as we talked about our dating lives, what was going well, and what we were trying to learn. I remember her saying “You used to be so angry, but now you’re so happy,” and this is when I knew that all the struggling, self-doubt, and self-loathing I’d felt were less noticeable, and that I had grown in a way that others could see.
About a year ago my long-term relationship came to an end, and though the details are fuzzy, I remember speaking to Sara over the phone, standing under a cloud-darkened sky with cherry blossoms overhead, sobbing and feeling hurt. I don’t remember what she said, and maybe she didn’t say anything at all, but the simple act of speaking to her helped me. Of all the memories, good and bad, this moment was the most profound for our friendship; I was stripped bare of all the pretenses and walls I’d built up, and Sara was there for me from 800 miles away to support and love me. Sara’s ability to unconditionally love and trust, her loyalty, kindness, and humor have always inspired me. I’m immensely grateful for the ten years we’ve shared together. Somehow, together, we will find our way in this world, and then we’ll laugh about it all, and pull the car over if one of us gets sick.