You will always be the hands that touched me tenderly, wiping the dirt off my playground scratch and walking, hand-in-hand, so I could ask the teacher for a bandaid. You will always be the jokes that helped me forget the teasing, the comparing of lemon-colored toenails under the shady willow tree. You will always be the eyes that were patient, staring into mine when I spoke and wiping my tears away.
You will always be the other half of the charm necklace, tucked against our chests until they tarnished blue-green on our skin.
You will always be the laughter that filled the room, the excited smile as we shared stories of the day. You will always be the sleeping back next to mine, the bowl of popcorn between us. You will always be the nights we stayed up too late, talking about our math class crushes and whether or not we’d sit outside for lunch tomorrow.
You will always be the one who understood, who cared, who stayed.
You will always be the camera phone photos, our lips squished against one another’s cheeks. You will always be the body standing next to me, our Homecoming dates behind us with their arms around our waists. You will always be the pile of college papers spread between us, a plate of cookies and our secret beers hidden behind the dresser.
You will always be the words I never had to say, the promises you spoke to life with your lips—that no matter where we went, or how far apart, we would always be each other’s.
You will always be the voice on the other line of the telephone, the comfort of what I didn’t know I needed to hear. You will always be the encouragement, the praise, the tough-love when I was spiraling down. You will always be the reminder of the love I deserve, the strength I needed those bad boys to the curb.
You will always be the one I call when I’m empty, the smile that brings light to my life when I’m clouded in darkness. You will always be the person I rely on, the woman I admire as she goes about her days growing, strengthening, blooming. You will always be our memories, locked safely away in my heart as a reminder of where we’ve been, who we will become.
No matter where this life takes us, you’ve been the one constant. And I thank God for you.
Because I can fall in love with boys, with men. I can give my heart away. I can slip in and out of relationships, but the one truth remains—you will always have my heart, best friend.
You will always be my first, and greatest love.