The people we love the most

I was laying in a fancy hotel bed Sunday morning drinking shitty coffee and talking to my best friend. We have known each other since the 5th grade. We wrote beauty magazines together in the 7th grade, dressed up like flappers and walked the train tracks through town in 8th grade, we sat together at lunch, with other friends (and without them), all though out high school. We knew each other’s desperate crushes, talked about whether or not there was a god, and asked ourselves and each other the hard questions it seemed liked no one was willing to ask.

We shared a love for good books, writing, passing notes, beauty, and bizarre behavior. We could always make each other laugh. We could always admit things to each other that we could tell no one else. We had our own separate obsessions and interests, some bizarre, and some not. She was really into fairies for a while, and I was really into horses. We both still kind of love those things.

During our lazy morning chat in our fancy hotel, we remembered the times when we were not talking. Twice, during college, we got into terrible fights, and said terrible, cruel things to each other, and didn’t speak for months, perhaps even a year after the second fight. I don’t remember all the details, but the reasons for the anger and arguing were young and foolish. I can’t speak for her, but for me, there was self-righteousness, insecurity, absurd expectations, and a whole lot of projection. For a while, I thought I was so special. For a while, I thought anyone who didn’t make the choices I made was inferior to me, should be more like me. For a while, I was so stupidly blinded by my ego that I almost lost my best friend.

I have since learned I am not so special. And I have since learned that there is more than one way to approach and live life. And I have since learned that nobody is perfect, and that life is better with the people you really love IN it, even if they’re not perfect, even if you don’t understand them all the time. Even if they annoy or confuse you sometimes. Even if.

Soulmates are not something I believe in per the dictionary definition. But I do believe there are people out there who exist on our “wavelength”. Who understand us particularly well or deeply, who resonate with us on a deeper level, who we feel inexplicably connected to, who share many thoughts, feelings, values, and observations with us. People who we can be totally ourselves with. People we laugh like crazy with. People who can remind us what it means to be truly, wildly, and joyously alive. There aren’t very many of them. At least for me.

When my best friend and I were not speaking, it felt like there was an unpatched hole somewhere in my existence. Something was missing. My life was not incomplete, nor was I, but it was not quite right, either. It pained me, eventually (when I got over my opinions and self-righteousness), that there was this girl out there that I felt so connected to, but living very much apart from me. It pained me to know we were going through our lives separately, when we should have been going through them together. Somehow, we always seemed to start forgiving each other at around the same time, and the emails would start, and then the phone calls, and then we’d be visiting each other again, from across the state, or across the country.

We, or at least I, was lamenting during our Sunday morning chat that while her death and subsequent absence from my life would be tragic, it would be worse, in a way, if we had lost each other forever by choice. Because of a disagreement, arguments, insecurity, or whatever it was that drove us apart for those two years in our late teens and early twenties. It would be awful to know that she was out there, still alive, but that we were no longer sharing our lives, our existence, so much laughter and resonance.

I don’t think there will ever be another silencing fight between us, but I know our relationship will ebb and flow. Our priorities will shift or become different for a while, we might make a choice the other cannot understand, we might disagree on something big, but I don’t believe our trajectories will ever diverge permanently. My life is just not the same without her: her advice, her thoughts and perspectives, her wild sense of humor, our shared laughter, our total honesty and openness, how she can make fun of me in ways that yank me into sanity (or something like it), and that ever-present-feeling that we are deeply connected and alike in the most minute and yet most important of ways: it’s funny–I cannot describe it, or label them, yet I know this to be true. Maybe it’s our shared weirdness, or shared existential feelings and questions, or shared perspectives, or shared loves… but then I begin to think not, because those things can and have changed a bit over time. It’s something deeper, perhaps, it’s something for which there are no words.

And I guess that doesn’t matter. I’m just glad we found each other along the way.

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