You moved away. You’re not in your hometown, you’re not in your college town, and suddenly you have no friends. It isn’t for lack of trying—you go out, you do the things twenty-somethings are supposed to do and enjoy. But you still don’t have many friends yet. And each day you miss your old friends more and more. Maybe they were your college friends, maybe your high school friends, or the ones you’ve known all your life. Either way, you miss them.
There’s one friend that gets it. She just moved away too, and it feels like you’re going through the same thing, just in different parts of the world. They don’t just understand, they are physically going through the same thing right now. Your grandma just died? Her uncle just passed away two days ago. You hate your job? She is literally plotting out how she can burn her office down. You’re pissed off about all these engagement post on Facebook and how people are asking you about when you’re getting married, even though after five years there still isn’t a ring? She might be single, but she hates these weddings just as much because if she has to hear her mom ask one more God forsaken time if she will ever have grandchildren, she is going to cut communication from everyone and move to Lisbon.
Okay, maybe it isn’t that dramatic. Or maybe it’s even more dramatic. But this is your best friend and you guys just get each other. Somehow through time and space, you go through the same damn thing at the same damn time. There is no possible or conceivable way to plan it, it just happens. But you don’t hate it. Because even though you are going through a rough time, it’s really kind of calming to know that she is too.
I know that sounds bad. I’m not saying you want her to be miserable when you are, that’s fucked up. But it’s nice to know you aren’t alone. It’s nice to know that even 800 miles away there is this person who, for some reason, just understands you on this deep, unspoken level. You haven’t talked in months. There is the snap chat here and there, and of course there are a couple texts back and forth. But you haven’t heard her voice or seen her face outside of a screen in a long time. And when you hear her you immediately revert back into the person you were the last time you spent a significant amount of time together. You’re back in your dorm room, drunk and on the floor, talking about that bitch who pushed you at a frat party, or the guy you have a crush on who for some reason neglects to understand that you’re going to marry him someday, or that girl who ran around campus with the balloon that said “It’s a Boy” or really anything at all. But now, while you’re sitting on your bed in your first apartment eating Ramen, you might be talking about different topics: money, the commute to work, what you plan on doing after graduate school— but it feels the same.
When you talk to her you wish you were still 21 and drunk all the time. Or you’re the big sister who always gives advice and loves in a maternal way. Or you’re the goofy college freshman who they always make fun of and remind how young you are. Or the bad influence that they need. Or the wanderer who refuses to spend a whole night in one place. Whoever you turn into, you miss that person just as much as your friend.
You wish you lived a wall away from one another again, so you could slip notes under each other’s door or knock goodnight to each other in your special code you made up. You miss shot gunning beers in the shower, then throwing the empty cans over the shower curtains at one another (everyone calm down, there were two showers divided by two curtains). You miss her blind encouragement; how she would read a piece you wrote and would say how amazing it was, regardless of all the grammatical errors. She believes in you at an unrealistic level, and honestly you wouldn’t have gotten this far in life without it. You miss her encouraging you into bad decisions, because you know that you wouldn’t have done that stuff without her bad influence. You miss the constant harassment and the way they would bring you back down to Earth. You wonder why everyone here is so nice to you; why can’t they just make fun of you like your real friends do? You miss the notes she wrote to you on bad days and you wish that you kept all of them. You even miss having her tell you how awful that outfit was almost every day, because who else is going to keep you in line now that you’re in the real world?
Sure, you’ll text them when they are freaking out about their lack of a love life. And of course you’ll be the first to call when they get engaged and you’ll actually be happy for her, unlike most of the other engaged people on your timeline. You’ll FaceTime them when you are homesick in a different time zone and you won’t feel alone, if only for a moment. You’ll send packages of your favorite books, with little notes, so that maybe they will feel connected to you and maybe the distance will disappear while they are reading. You’ll do your best to stay in touch, even if it is hard work. What’s the alternative? Not be friends? No thnx.
Sometimes you think about moving closer to them. But you have a life where you are, a job and maybe school too. And you think about your other college friends and they’re all spread out too. You just wish you could put all of them in your pocket and carry them with you for the rest of your life. Or maybe build a compound in one specific location, not too far from the beach, and in the middle of everyone’s families. Maybe build a guesthouse for that one friend who always popped in from time to time but could never stay in one place too long.
But right now, you can’t do that. You don’t have the money and everyone is doing their own thing, in their own corner of the country or world. And while you miss them so much, and miss that time with them and the person you were then, you know you have to keep moving forward.
You’ll see them again. Maybe it won’t be until an Alumni Weekend at your college, or someone’s wedding, but you’ll see them. It won’t be as often as you want, but it will happen. The good news is that nothing will change; when you see them that first time you will be reverted back into your 20 year old self, and you’ll wonder if it is magic. And it is. You’ll know that you have someone 800 miles away who is going through the same thing as you, and you’ll know you’ll never be truly alone in this world. And you’ll be grateful.