I hate that I feel weird calling this a love letter. I hate that society has made it so that expression of love between two friends — no matter how close they are — always feels a bit odd, as though “love” should be reserved for the people you sleep with. There is no part of our love that is lesser or unimportant because it’s platonic. In fact, I think our love is one of the most transformative we can experience. We’ve had over a decade of knowing each other, enjoying one another’s company, and yet releasing the other to the men who came and went from our lives. We weren’t selfish, never demanded that the other should be someone they are not, or change to fit our needs and schedules. There has been no other love in my life that was that pure, that free of ego.
We’ve fought, of course, and I regret it. I always do. I get angry at you just like we get angry at any person who loves us unconditionally: we are irrational, and take our frustrations out on them because we know that they’re there to absorb it. We always fight over stupid things, but it always goes away. One of us cracks a joke, and neither can be mad anymore. We both realize how stupid it is to stay upset with someone just to keep your pride when there is so much fun to be having with them. But I want to say that I’m sorry for any time I’ve been mean to you. I’m sorry that I sometimes didn’t give you the benefit of the doubt, that I didn’t take your calls to passive-aggressively get your attention.
It’s always been funny how closely our friendship resembles a relationship. We’ve traveled the world with each other, stayed up all night talking and passing a wine bottle back and forth, slept in the same bed multiple nights in a row. We fielded the “Are you lesbians?” comments, like any two women as close as we are do, and laughed them off. As though there would be anything insulting about that if it were true. As though two women couldn’t love each other deeply without having sex with each other.
We always reserved the time and energy for each other that people are so used to associating with romantic relationships. We defied the rules about what you do with your friends, and what you do with your partners. In many ways, we have been partners. We’ve supported and cared for one another more deeply than a lot of our “real” relationships.
And now we’re coming to that unsure, thrilling, devastating moment in our lives. We’re both going off in our own directions, no longer able to follow one another, or happen to be in the same city out of convenience or further delaying of adulthood. We have to get on with things, and take the jobs offered to us, and start putting down roots in places that make sense for what we want. And those places are not the same. We don’t live just down the street from one another, and we can’t cut out weeks of time to go on trips like we used to. Our lives demand — as most lives do, with any measure of success — that we separate.
It’s terrible. I miss you, all the time. When something funny happens, I still look around for your confirmation, so that we can laugh ourselves into tears while no one else quite understands what is going on. I still think to call you in the middle of the day for no reason, and am still reminding myself that I can’t, because we are both grown-ups now, with jobs and responsibilities and schedules. Now we have to strategically find time to talk, a Gchat in the afternoon, a phone call on Sunday morning, plans we make months in advance to come stay at one another’s apartments. It’s the life that we should be happy about — we’ve made it, we’ve found careers, we’ve found the places we should be — and yet there is something palpably missing. There is something that prevents it all from feeling quite right, and it’s your absence.
You have always been a constant in my life, and I hope that I have been in yours. My best friend was always there, always a text message and a short trip away. And now I have to learn to get on without you, how to make things make sense without you to listen to it all. And I admit that I hope this separation is temporary. I hope, in a selfish way, that we find our way back to each other. I want to be those old ladies who get lunch together after 60 continuous years of friendship, who have always had someone to laugh at life with, because they chose to stay together.
Because I want everything in the world for you. I want you to see things, and change, and fall in love with new people. But I don’t want us to grow apart, no matter how much effort it takes to stay in regular contact. Because I know, and I think you do, too, that life is just that much sweeter when we get to do it together.