I had just moved to Chester, New York. I was in 1st grade and it was my first day in a new school. Naturally, I was scared and shy but luckily those feelings quickly faded when a brunette haired girl approached me and asked me my name. After answering her, she asked me if I wanted to play with her beanie babies and effortlessly, we were inseparable. I met my other best friend only two years later and instantly the three of us were cemented together. Over the course of thirteen years we’ve learned through each other the harsh realities of the outside world. We’ve learned that parents are flawed, and life can be difficult and confusing.
However, just because we’ve known each other for so long does not cement our friendship. I’ve been a friend with others for just as long, but the bonds between us seem shallow and cordial. I believe it is when people choose to let others in so inhibited; a bond between them forms that is so strong it can barely be described.
Growing up, I was filled with such a rage all the time. My parents were separated and my peers constantly teased me due to my sexuality, an aspect of myself I had not even begun to explore at that age. My friends were there for my mood swings, and my tears, and the venomous attitude I projected to the outside world. Through their ambivalent attitude towards all the things other’s tried to judge me for, they allowed me to grow. When I was with them I never felt like a victim. Through our conversations about beanie babies, Neopets, and games our imaginations would create I was given temporary asylum from all the things that I was helpless to change about myself.
There were times where I genuinely thought I loved each one of them in turn. I pictured being romantically with them because it’s all I clung to at that age. I realize now, however, that it was a type of love. I loved them in a way so few get to experience because it was never about sex or fights or any of the other things I would fight with a boyfriend about. No, it was the type of pure love that comes into being when people who may feel alienated or different from the world around them find each other.
It’s been over six years since I moved from New York to Florida, and since then the three of us have carved our own paths in our respective fields. One of my friends wants nothing more than to be an actress while the other and myself are trying our damndest to make it as writers. Although we rarely talk and I don’t completely know about the nuances of their day-to-day lives, I still feel connected to them. I smile when I eat microwave popcorn because that is the snack we would all share daily. I still smile when I see a group of three walking down the sidewalk hand in hand because I’m brought back to my childhood.
This summer, I celebrated night of my 21st birthday watching Netflix in my studio apartment. As soon as the clock hit midnight, my phone began to buzz. When I answered, two voices that I had not heard in quite some time came crackling through the other end. It was my two best friends, calling me in order to get the whole crowd of strangers they were with to sing me happy birthday.
And that is what constitutes a beautiful friendship. It’s not about calling each other every day or constantly checking in with each other. And it’s not meeting up for brunch every Sunday to gossip or share jokes with. Although all that is gorgeous and beneficial in healthy friendships, I know that some of the most beautiful love stories are birthed from friendships. I know beautiful friendships are from love because when you hear their voices — no matter how long it’s been or how much of their lives have become a mystery to you — it will sound like home.