The Prompt: Who was your childhood best friend? Describe them–what brought you together, what made you love them. Are you still friends today?
We became friends at six years old- a friendship held together, I thought, by the glue of another. I was always doubtful of the strength of our friendship. Our personalities were so similar and our level of self-awareness so different. We shared a larger than life personality that entered the room before our bodies – dominating conversations and exploding the energy with our humor. And boy were we funny, fun, and smart. But Jennifer was brave and strong and secure in her identity yet there was an air of shyness in her demeanor. I was meek, and scared, and desperate to be liked with no true understanding of who I was or who I would become. To many she seemed abrasive in her delivery, but it was obvious that her fierce loyalty and dedication to those she called “friend” was tireless.
We spent much of our childhood dancing, singing, and wondering what the future would hold. And we laughed. We laughed hysterically as we tried to get through Huck Finn for a project that I really don’t think we ever finished. We laughed our way through monotonous classes at IS 192 avoiding the fights (more or less) that awaited us at every turn.
Then, in a blink of an eye, we lost each other. I was thrust into a real life meshing of Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl also known as private school in NYC and she went on to navigate the seas of public high school. And for almost a decade we ceased to exist as a we, frantically developing our “I” stories. Until, through a chance meeting with the former glue, we reconnected as college students.
She was already the person I was hoping to become one day. She did not fit into the box that I was trying desperately to shatter. Yet we were both struggling to find love and acceptance. Still, she wasn’t afraid to let loose and party. I, on the other hand, was just learning to be me. She showed me that it was OK to be different. I was trying to fit in. She made me realize my feelings for the man who would be come my husband while I was still coming to grips with my desires. Through our many talks, with us often swapping the role of advisor, I learned to accept that it was possible for beauty and sexy to exist outside of the societal constraints. Through chugged 40s, snuffed cigarettes, Characters, and cruising the ‘hood, she helped me find my footing – enabling me to gain the confidence that I lacked for so long.
Life often pulls people apart and for one reason or another we lose our roots. But Jennifer is a root to me. She reminds me of the places I’ve been and of how far I’ve come. And while we have not interacted out side of Facebook much in years, she is one of the only people from my youth with whom I wish to reconnect. We may not be as close as we once were but I still consider her one the best friends that I have ever had.
Thank you Jennifer! You’ve impacted my life more than you know!