One of my best friends is getting married. We have known each other for well over a decade. We’ve survived fights, tantrums, awful haircuts, questionable boyfriends, and me having a baby, wedding and eventually new family. Now in a short amount of time I get to watch her walk down the aisle, at least I think there’s going to be an aisle. Who knows with wedding venues these days, I got married in a community center with wifi codes on the walls like a fucking boss. Anyways, she recently came to my house to play Halo 2 and NOT talk about feelings. In the process she dropped off her “save the date” refrigerator magnet. On the one hand I was astounded at what wedding products you can get made today, and on the other it made me pretty freaking nostalgic.
When Emily and I first met each other, it was in freshman gym class. She hated me, and I did not even notice. We bonded over our mutual disdain for forced recreational activity and open locker rooms. She was bubbly, happy, and a bit like a puppy. You could not help but love her even if she hated you (obviously I still hold on to that). I was prickly, a loner, and I hated the whole stereotypical high school experience. In a way, we were both outsiders for different reasons. I was too mature for my years, having been aged by a mental illness and subsequent hospitalizations seeking stability. Emily was so easy to be friends with. She did not judge, but not from the typical perspective where you flaunt it, instead she just accepted humans as they were.
Emily’s family welcomed me with open arms, to this day I still do not know why. There were sleepovers, late night talks, and videos where she forced me to dance Hannah Montana with her (again, I am still holding on to this). I left for university, and eventually crashed and burned in my own fiery turmoil, while Emily experienced her own struggles. The funniest of which was a firetruck running into her car (I mean who can say they had a hit and run by a freaking fire truck). We’d meet at our local Sheetz when we were home from university, buy doughnuts and slushies, while she had me give her number to the “cute” guy working the register. She has always been a constant even with our texting fights, and me telling her our friendship was over. We grew together, we grew apart, and eventually we just settled in to our reality that the other was always there even if we did not talk regularly.
She showed up after my son was born. She did henna on my feet the night before I got married. She was always lurking in the shadows, or more aptly throwing forced sunshine and rainbows onto my dark and brooding nature. I read a letter to my husband that she wrote me when we were 18, and he told me he’d never known a true friend like that. Emily has always been there, even when I wanted to push her away. Even if no one else reads this blog, I know she will.
When we were 17, and then in our 20’s, we made each other lists for who we should end up with. The original versions were obviously filled with things only 17 year olds can value. For Emily that was innie bellybuttons, because apparently bellybuttons are what we should look out for. The second time we did it there was more substance. Emily wrote about how I needed someone intelligent, if not I would become bored. I wrote about how she needed someone trustworthy. The funny thing is my husband, and her future husband, fit our boxes perfectly. I am so happy for her. I am so hopeful for her. But most of all I am proud of her.
We each had to evolve to better versions of ourselves. For me that meant finding stability, and learning how to be happy. For Emily that meant maturing and finding her passions. Although this post is about the upcoming nuptials of my best friend, it goes deeper than that. She is only ready for marriage because of how she respects herself. She loves herself. She is pursuing a new field, with such bravery and ardor it makes me proud. On the surface Emily looks like a captivating, silly and easy going friend. Underneath though lurks intelligence and ability she rarely acknowledges. She is an enigma, and I cannot wait to attend her wedding. I am slowly creating my speech, and trying to figure out how to not cry while reading it.
I thought this post would be about the silly lists we made, but instead it has transformed into remembering why Emily and I have been friends for so many years. She is flighty, and I am moody. She is bubbly and I am sarcastic. We are opposites that should never work as friends, and anyone else with her personality would exhaust me. Somehow though she is the only person besides my husband that I can fully be myself with. She is one of the few people whose energy does not make me crawl into my antisocial hole. She is there to always tell me when I need to snap out of an obsession I’ve created. I am only a phone call away to tell her she’s incredible.
Although we live three hours apart, and have very different lives (with very different texting habits), in some ways nothing will ever change. We will always have our favorite memories to laugh about, I will inevitably end up going to her parent’s house when she is in town, and neither of us will knock on doors before we stroll in. Nothing can ever break a real friendship, and I am very fortunate I not only found my soulmate best friend, but that neither of us ever really gave up on the other.