It will happen a handful of times throughout your life, most likely when you’re young.
You’ll come to recognize this particular feeling when you’re older — the butterflies of an infectious friendship. The first one will be at summer camp, when you are 8 or 9 years old. She might have the longest blonde hair or the best cartwheel in your camp group. She’ll choose you as her friend and tell you all her secrets, and you’ll share yours too. You’ll sleep over at her house and her mom will make eggs in the morning; you’ll learn the names of all her dogs. She’ll introduce you to her circle, and you’ll meet several more girls who will play roles in the rest of your life. You will scribble letters in slam books with code names devised from TV shows like Boy Meets World; you’ll pass notes in the halls folded into the most beautiful origami. You may not remember the Pythagorean theorem from middle school, but you will never forget the girls beside whom you sat.
It will happen again in high school; you may compete with her at first. She’s talented, beautiful, and funny; you have the exact same interests. If you’re lucky enough to have your rivalry fade into a friendship, she’ll be fiercely loyal; you’ll conspire together on everything. People will always wonder what you two are devising; you’ll become the mysterious dynamic duo. You’ll find yourself talking on the phone with her until 5am, and when you hang up, you may not even remember what you were discussing, but it won’t matter. When you leave for college, you’ll write each other letters and cry for hours because even though you know you’ll be friends forever, you think nothing will ever be quite the same again.
In college, you’ll find you have even more room in your heart, and throughout those four years, your heart will become so full that you’ll fear it will explode. These girls will know everything about you, from the songs you sing in the shower to the colors of your mismatched socks. They’ll be the first to notice when a boy is interested in you, before you notice it yourself. They’ll tell you when you look stunning, and they’ll tell you when you should pick a new outfit. These are girls you’ll be able to do everything and nothing with; you’ll go on 16-hour road trips down the east coast; you’ll lay outside in the sun in silence. You’ll pack and unpack boxes together dozens of times; you’ll hug goodbye under a white tent with fireworks in the background, knowing it’s not the end.
Eventually, you’ll find your romantic soul mate, and you’ll spill out the words “he’s the one” to all of these girls. They will still help you pick out outfits, even if they are in another time zone. There will be a constant flurry of phone calls, text messages, g-chat windows. You will hear their voices and see their faces. One day, you will ask them to be a part of your wedding, and all of these girls from different pages of your life will come together in the same chapter. You’ll look at them, and you’ll see the history written there — the swimming pool of summer camp, a bowl of M&Ms at a sleepover, black-and-white marble notebooks with loopy handwriting, snickerdoodle coffee in paper cups, fireworks and a river — everything you have all ever been at once. You’ll think back to that August day at 17 years old, and realize that nothing is the same, and at the same time, exactly the same, as it once was.