I was looking through old photos the other day when I found some of us. As I looked at our smiling faces, I found myself wondering about the people we were back then. We were younger, smaller, and wilder, of course. We were also idealistic, naïve, and carefree.
But even amidst our startling immaturity, there seemed to be a keen and inherent understanding that we would, quite simply, always be us. You were my person, and I was yours. It was just that simple.
Remember all those years ago back when we still had time to watch Grey’s Anatomy, and Christina told Meredith that she was her person? All the world wiped their tears and hugged their BFFs because we got it.
Over the years, life has gotten more complicated, busier, messier. But that simple truth remains: You are my person. You always were. You always will be.
These days there are fewer photos of us. There aren’t as many photographic images of our friendship in its current state. Our friendship seems to exist in a series of text messages, which would tell you almost everything you need to know about our friendship. Almost.
The text messages would tell you that we sometimes “talk” all day, with running conversations that consume our data plans. There are also long stretches where we don’t talk at all. There are the “love you” and “miss you” and “remember when…” messages. There are expletive-laden texts with a single F-bomb containing a multitude of emotions. And I suppose there are a few photos too. Nostalgic photos from back in the day. Photos of shoes with fashion questions. And photos of LOL-worthy memes about being friends for so long we can’t remember which one of us is the bad influence. (Side note: It’s you.)
These text messages would tell you a lot, just like the photos from our younger days would tell you a lot as well. They would tell you that we both know, with a certainty felt deep down in our bones, that we love each other and miss each other so much it physically hurts sometimes. They would tell you that we are always thinking of each other, though life gets busy and overwhelming sometimes and we lose touch for a while because we know that when things settle down and we have a minute to catch our breath, we will pick up right where we left off, like no time had passed at all.
These messages would tell you that it takes no less than 113 texts to plan a girls’ weekend and dozens to make weekend plans for lunch and a pedicure. They would tell you that friendship is our lifeblood.
Yes, our text messages (and our emails too) can tell you a lot, but they won’t tell you everything.
They won’t tell you how I sometimes lie in bed at night and remember the days when girl talk was as simple as walking down the hall or meeting at the corner bar. They will tell you that I miss you, but they won’t tell you just how much I miss you. They won’t tell you that I’m sometimes worried about what time and distance will do to us. And they won’t tell you that sometimes I worry about whether there will come a time when can’t be each other’s person anymore.
We are different now, with fuller lives and saggier bodies, but the core of what makes us friends is the same: love, respect, understanding. Sure, we still share beauty tips and fashion advice. But these days there is less intensity to these conversations because we know that, in the grand scheme of things, wrinkle cream, skinny jeans, and heel height don’t matter all that much — not when our conversations are also about things like cancer, depression, and aging parents.
We still disagree, but we don’t fight or nag. We still let loose together, but nowadays, it’s with a few extra mimosas at brunch instead of stumbling home at 2 a.m. We’ve still got each other’s back, but it’s hard to imagine that those fresh-faced girls we were back then could have expected that having each other’s back would include things like chemotherapy, infertility, and the craziness that is parenting.
Back then, we thought being each other’s person meant standing up in each other’s wedding (which we did) and being forever friends meant wearing purple hats over our gray hair and laughing a little too loudly during martini-laden lunches. Because we were going to be that kind of old ladies. Being forever friends would be effortless, easy, and natural.
But with all that daydreaming and reverse nostalgia, we failed to realize that life is messy and hard, like really messy and really hard. We forgot to acknowledge that staying forever friends takes time and effort and a whole lot of grace and forgiveness. We didn’t really think about what it means to be each other’s person.
But somehow, in some way, we’ve figured it out. We find the time for each other even though it’s never as much as we’d like. We put in the effort because it’s worth it to be together. We muster up grace and forgiveness because that’s what you do when you love someone.
We talk on the phone when we can. We text and email. We see each other as often as possible, which is never as much as we’d like. And I think of you all the time.
Because even though things have changed, and our friendship is different, you are still my person.
This post first appeared on Scary Mommy