we met early on in high school and were not instant best friends. she and i were too much alike, but over the next four years we would learn that there was, in fact, enough room for both of us in our tiny suburban friendgroup. over coffee and concerts and way too much time spent making questionable fashion decisions at Forever 21, we became best friends. we wrote poetry and baked macarons and sang along to Taylor Swift together, woke up at sunrise for amateur photoshoots and spent way too much time at the waffle shop downtown gossiping about our friends and the going-ons in our hometown. people toss around the word soulmates and while i've never put much faith in the idea as a romantic concept, sometimes you meet people in this life and find that your souls are made of the same whatever-souls-are-made-out-of.

i didn't understand how easy we had it until years later. we were twenty-something and figuring out what we wanted out of this life for the first time; learning how to want things when we had to seek them for ourselves, no longer bound by the narratives we had spent our entire lives being told that we should want. she loved someone very insecure, and he was afraid that i would be a bad influence on her; nevermind the fact that we'd already spent our formative years having irreversibly shaped each other.

i wasn't ready for an argument on a summer night in June to turn into a never-speaking-to-you-again fight. we've always been melodramatic together; even the way she wrote me a letter afterward was very us—no one else before or after has ever mailed me a dramatic life-changing letter again. she'd written, i'm sorry i broke off our ten-year friendship for x. i hope you're doing well. i cried the next five times i read it because i always thought that we would be part of each others’ lives; thought that we were going to write the kind of story which went like, we met when we fourteen and then we were inseparable. suddenly we were strangers again, our entire existence together reduced to ghostly social media posts and hearing about each other's lives as stories told by mutual friends at Christmas parties.

as it turns out, the story goes like this: we can avoid each other and never speak to each other for three years straight. but three years later, i can show up and sit on her porch and instantly say all the things i've never said out loud to anyone else; get on a plane and sleep on her couch and this time it's a little different but somehow exactly the same—we're still us, wandering Chinatown and driving through suburbs and trading notes on jewelry and riffing on a weird comedy routine where we make fun of clothes in the mall, but this time instead of the Forever 21 in our hometown it's a Zara in a whole new city. she picked me up when i landed in Virginia and put on a playlist, and it shuffled to the somewhat-obscure indie pop song i'd been listening to on loop for the entirety of 2020. we both knew all of the words—mixing adderall and two buck wine / trains at hollywood and vine / first time that i called you mine / that wasted summer. and then i knew that i'd never find anything like this again. they say that female friendship is complicated, but it is also intensely rewarding for all of its complexity. there is a specific way in which only other women can know you.

some people see you in all of your hidden dimensions; appreciate the things you thought would only ever be inside jokes with yourself. with her, my sense of humor is not snark, it's wit. my internal monologue isn't melodrama; it's worth listening to. every detail is made meaningful because we dissect the same things; experience the world in similar ways. she's the one to which i can say, come with me to this concert, this poetry slam, this rave. let's dress up as ABGs for one night, just to see what it's like. nothing would ever be strange with her. when i visited her for the first time in years, she said, if i hadn't been in quarantine we could've done so much wild shit this weekend. i said, i know. with her, everything has always been effortless.

she and i have always been mirrors of each other—wanting the same adventure; the same wild. she understood me when i was seventeen and scared, and she understands me now; understands what it is like to turn down a lot of money in search of so much more adventure, understands that after an entire life of being safe, you want to go out and do interesting things and be wildly openhearted in the world. this time around we're a little bit more grown up; the advice we trade is a little bit different. she tells me not to date sadboys and i tell her that you can freeze virtually anything. also, here's a recipe for lemon cookies. buy the shoes; wear them on every summer date. figure out the career things, say yes to the night out, talk to your siblings more, read this book. we still know almost nothing about this world, but we know a little bit more together.

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