Let me tell you about my two best friends, because they have a couple occasions quite literally kept my alive by the sheer force of their presence in my life.
Some people have only one best friend. Some people decide that after a certain age you don’t really have “best friends” anymore (this is a particularly silly and self-damaging attitude in my opinion). But I have two best friends (I used to have three, but that’s a different story for another time). For the sake of my half-assed privacy I shall call them J- and N- here.
I met J- my junior year of high school. We were both in marching band, and we had both just moved to a new high school, and we were both very shy people. BUT I had formulated a plan. At the time I was an enormous anime fan (I still am, but not quite as rabidly I was then), so I decided that I would wear a different anime t-shirt every day of summer band camp, like a colorful bird trying to attract a mate, except I was trying to attract a like-minded person who might be my friend. Hilariously, it TOTALLY worked (we still joke about it). After two days of watching me, J- approached me to compliment my clothing choices and we struck up a conversation about anime, and we have been inseparable ever since. That was fourteen years ago.
My other best friend is N-. We also met in high school, though my senior year. We had a physics class together, along with two other friends, and spent most of the year flirting with each other in that really awkward way nerdy people flirt. For my birthday that year he built me a computer from scrap parts his dad left around (his dad was a computer technician), but I was the one who finally bit the bullet and asked him out on a date. Yes, we dated first. In fact, we dated for a whole year, starting the summer we graduated from high school and all the way through our first year of college. But it was a long-distance relationship, as I had stayed at home to go to community college and he went off to Arizona. I adored him, and we always had so much fun when we actually had time together, but throughout our relationship I couldn’t help but think we simply worked better as friends. So after a year, we broke up, and after some time apart to re-adjust, we somehow managed to become best friends instead.
Now, the three of us are separated by very large distances. We are scattered across the country for work, and our lives have diverged a bit. But we have never stopped being best friends. We email and text and call constantly. And we try to take turns visiting each other (though I am the least financially stable of the three, so the onus often falls on them to come see me).
One of my most treasured memories will now be when J- surprised me for my birthday this year. She arranged with my mother to fly out for a couple days (even though her work schedule is insane) and I had absolutely no idea until suddenly THERE SHE WAS. It was amazing. She is the kindest, most compassionate, most generous person I have ever known. She literally saved my life when I met her my sophomore year of high school (I had been severely suicidal for months). Her sunniness is implacable. She can’t always quite understand how my depression feels (and I’m glad she doesn’t have to know what this feels like) but she always takes my feelings seriously, and she always supports me, no matter what.
And N- is the same way. Despite the awkwardness of how we became friends after dating, I can’t imagine my life without him in it. I was the “Best Man” at his wedding. And some day I will be the honorary cool aunt to his children. And he has absolutely unshakable faith in me and my abilities.
I am so enormously grateful for them. I wouldn’t be here without them. And I don’t mean that metaphorically, I mean that I would literally have killed myself by now without them.
My only regret is that we all live so far away right now. I hope some day we can converge again, live near each other, meet for coffee or lunch every week, have play-dates with each other’s kids, grow old as one little community all to ourselves. I hope, I hope, I hope.
PS: Yes, I TOTALLY watch MLP:FIM. And N- is the one who first got me hooked, so blame him. And just FYI, but I’m definitely Twilight, N- is Applejack, and J- is a cross between Fluttershy and Pinky Pie. Yes, we have discussed this, at length.