Some people come into our lives and barely leave a trace, others leave a string of footprints etched upon our hearts, letting us know they are with us every step we take.
You, my dearest friend, have been stamping all over my heart since the day we met. 22 years ago, your 5-year-old self sat next to me on the bus ride to kindergarten and you complimented my floral print dress. It’s like the awesomeness in little you understood the vanity in little me and I immediately complimented your shoes. I mean, who wouldn’t have wanted to be best friends with someone with white pattern leather shoes? The answer was “thank you!”, and with a smile on your cherub-like face, you pushed me under your protective wing and haven’t let go of me since.
As the years passed by, our love for each other grew. You weren’t just a friend, you were the sister I never had, my soul mate and the reason my days were filled with happiness, love and laughter. Even when the sun stopped shining, we’d get out there, splash in the deepest of puddles and make light of any situation life threw our way. We’d smoke candy cigarettes on the corner of Third and Hannibal only to hear my Dad shout at us “You look like a bunch of idiots with those things hanging out your mouth!” We didn’t care, we did things our way because together we were stronger, braver and fairly invincible!
Or so we thought…
Life, sometimes it pulls the rug from under our feet. Suddenly, we find ourselves broken and unable to get back up. When I thought all hope had gone, you were always there to sweep me off of my feet, dust me down and tell me everything is going to be okay. When everyone else had left the room, you were the only one still cheering and giving me that little piece of hope to carry on.
That’s what real friends do. They are the glue that holds us together when we feel like we are falling apart. They are the anchor to keep us grounded when life has a tendency to blow us away. They are the wind beneath our wings, keeping us going when we feel like giving up.
Thank you for being a true friend. For sticking by me, for letting me sob into your shoulder, for allowing me to play that same old tiresome record you’ve heard a trillion times before. Thank you for letting me pour my heart out, for listening and for not just telling me what I want to hear. Thank you for loving me when no one else would. Thank you for staying constant in a world full of change and chaos. And thank you for just being there when I need you.
It’s hard to put it into words just how much you mean to me, because words will never be enough. I know my life wouldn’t be the same without you. We have walked so far, laughed so hard, and cried a sea of tears together. We have climbed each other’s highest peaks, and travelled through the darkest of valleys. You held my hand when moments before I walked down the aisle I was having a mini panic attack, and I held yours when you experienced your first heartbreak. You wiped my tears when my Grammy was dying, and I wiped yours when your father did die, he was like my second Dad too . You raised me up when life had beat me to the ground, and I spurred you on during moments of weakness.
With you by my side the world is a better place. The sun shines a little bit brighter, my smile grows a little bit wider, and in that moment, my problems are no more. You are the most beautiful person, inside and out. You are selfless, compassionate and wise beyond your years. I truly believe I hit friendship gold when you skipped into my life and filled my days with laughter, happy tears and enchantment.
You have not only been my rock, my anchor, my tear catching shoulder to cry upon, but you have also taught me many things in life.
You taught me that friends never judge each other no matter what. When you walked in on me belting out a Mariah Carey classic – eyes closed, hands clenched and lost in the music – you didn’t judge me. You must have been laughing so hard inside, but you managed to keep a straight face and even told me I sounded great. This was a lie – I was way off-key. I knew it, you knew it, and the neighbors 5 doors down knew it!
You taught me to forgive. I have this scene playing out in my head. It was summer, and Laura invited everyone but me to her house for a pool party, and you totally lied on the phone to me that you had chores to do when you actually went. What ensued was the worst argument we ever had yet I still remember the words you said so small on the other end of the phone, “I’m sorry Britt, I’m not perfect, I’m only human”. You were right, so naturally forgiveness and a tearful bike ride to your house was in order so we could hug it out.
You weren’t afraid to give me tough love when I needed it. During my darkest days you were the light that guided my way. After my Grammy died and Tom couldn’t get me out of bed to eat I still remember you coming over, picking me out an outfit and dragging Tom and I both in tow out to a diner. You ordered my favorite food, and said “I know you’re scared of a life without your Grammy…but you can’t shut people out. You have to eat, get dressed and try to smile each day even when you don’t feel like it.” I ate and felt like a weight had been lifted at once from my shoulder. I owe that to you, my friend!
You taught me to always be truthful. Do I look good in this dress? A question that many a friend will ask, and yet, will not receive the honest answer. If my dress is a little on the see-through side, you’ll be the first to let me know. If I’m dancing away and experience a code nip-slip, you’ll be the first person to give me the wink alert. If my bronzer looks more orangutan than summer tan, you’ll say “Hey Breezy, you look like an Ompaa Loompa!”
You taught me that it’s okay to fight. I’m not talking boxing gloves and body slamming, I’m talking fighting over Polly pockets and battling over boys. But no matter how many hissy fits we’d pitch, sulky faces we’d pull and “I’m not talking to you’s” we’d throw at each other, we’d always kiss and make-up…in a matter of hours!
Thank you for being my partner-in-crime, my therapist, my concert companion, my telepathic pal, my gossip girl, my personal life coach, my dancing partner and so much more. Thank you for all the glorious memories, wrapped up in a bow of nostalgia, so beautiful it brings a tear to my eye. Thank you for the times when we laughed so hard we cried, the times we danced like no one was watching, the times we talked until the cows came home, milked into a thousand saucers, and said ‘Heck with this, I’m going to bed!’.
And no matter how much distance is between us now, no matter how many days, weeks and months we haven’t spoken to each other, we ALWAYS pick up where we left.
My beautiful best friend, what more can I say? 50 years from now, I hope I will still be cushioned under your protective wing. I have no doubt that you will still be the person who could turn my every frown into a smile, the person who lifts me up when I am losing faith and the person who carries my tears on her shoulders. I’m pretty sure that we will still be busting out those same dance moves, watching Romy and Michelle on repeat and laughing until our catheter bags burst!
When pulling an “all-nighter” means getting up to pee, “getting lucky” means winning the bingo and the candles cost more than the cake, I promise we will still be the best of friends!