I remember when I was really young, maybe about 5, I met a girl who would soon become my best friend. I’m not quite sure how we met, but I think my uncle may have introduced us. He was probably friends with her relatives or something. I was a really quiet child. Awkward doesn’t even begin to describe my behavior. It was nice to finally have someone to spend time with. She taught me a lot about myself. I was learning that there were things I actually excelled at outside of school. Some of my classmates were even jealous of our friendship. We would hang out everyday and let our imaginations soar. One day we were riding motorcycles, the next we were shooting aliens with high tech weaponry. All I wanted to do was eat, sleep, and kick it with my best friend. I didn’t think life could get any better. But it did.
On my 10th birthday, she showed up to my birthday party looking like a whole new person. I almost didn’t recognize her. It’s as if she completely changed overnight. She didn’t act any different though. Our relationship was as strong as ever. She was cool with some of my other friends, but in my mind what we had was special. Our adventures were becoming more magical, more elaborate, more exciting. You couldn’t have convinced me in two lifetimes we would ever grow apart. Everything is so simple when we’re young.
When we hit our teenage years, we predictably started changing. I was starting to go places where she couldn’t always join me. And she was starting to become wildly popular. I wouldn’t say we grew apart, but our time together was different. Our shared experiences reached an even higher level, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that our friendship was suddenly on borrowed time. I didn’t know why I felt that way. I just did. She was starting to become my crutch. I wouldn’t hear from her until I was at a low point. She would come by, lift my spirits, and disappear into the night sky. I appreciated her for it, but I missed the days when we were together at all times without a care in the world.
As I reached adulthood, I thought about letting her go for good. We were all grown up and headed in completely different directions. We no longer wanted the same thing out of our friendship. She wanted to share her gifts with the world, and I wanted them all to myself. She wanted to be around me at her leisure, and I needed her by my side at all times. I held on as tight as I could. I did everything in my power to keep her close. But she needed to be free. She needed to grow. Expand her horizons. She needed to…..evolve. I did too, but I wasn’t ready.
It’s been years since I made the decision to move on. We never stopped caring about each other, but things were definitely different. I went on to have kids, experience heartbreak, travel, and meet new people. She did the same. We would kick it from time to time and exchange war stories, and I must admit it felt as good as it did when I was 5. I think it always will. The time apart helped me realize how selfish I was. Who was I to think someone this special should be hidden from the world? The joy she brings me is a joy everyone should experience. It doesn’t matter what other people like about her. It doesn’t matter how many friends she makes. All the judgments about her are irrelevant. This is friendship in its purest form. When we’re together, only her and I exist. Others can come along for the ride, but only I know how she makes me feel. I don’t need to defend her honor, because she is many things to many people. I only care about what she is to me. I suspect anyone else you ask about her would echo that sentiment.
It’s ironic how my attempt to break our bond proved how unbreakable it really was. I thought she hated who she used to be and ran from it, but now I realize she was just becoming who she was always meant to be. I don’t have to like everything about her, that’s the beauty of what we have. I get to keep the best parts of her and ignore the parts I don’t like. There was a time when even being seen with her was a cause of ridicule. Not these days. She has a long line of people vying for her time. So I’ll never take ours for granted. After all, she is my best friend. Everyone should be so lucky.