This post is going to be a rather long one (but I tried to condense it to the best of my abilities) so if you want, go ahead and get some tea, maybe some popcorn and get cozy. I’ll give you a moment to get settled.
At the beginning of my sophomore year of high school (which seems like ages ago at this point as a freshman in college), I met my best friend/sister-from-another-mister, Debby. She was an exchange student all the way from northern Italy, who was studying abroad for a single school year. Long story short, we hit it off and have basically been family ever since; the words “best friend” aren’t strong enough to describe our bond accurately.
Come to the end of that school year, a drastic change occurred: she returned home to Italy. Debby was now six hours ahead of me and across a giant blue ocean. All along I knew that she would eventually have to leave but it never really sank in; it rather felt like a distant event that would occur years down the line.
Some of my most memorable moments from high school were shared with her. Going to prom for the first time. Seeing movies every weekend. Going to random school shows. Discovering new music. Countless shopping trips.
We bonded over our need to travel the world. I had never met someone who was just as passionate and wanderlust-filled as I was; I knew at this point that I had found my other half. Soon we began making plans to travel together. We mapped out all the countries we wished to visit together and planned to film our journeys along the way.
She had become my wing man. Any time I wanted to go out, I called her. She was my main squeeze (excuse the cliché teen slang). The thought of not having her right next to me every day, like she had been for the last few months, seemed so absurd; not being able to finish out high school with her was too much to handle.
It was early June and the day had come to say goodbye and I stepped into line with our friend at the time and waited for a hug from Debby. Her parents, who flew all the way to America to pick her up, waited patiently in the car as we all cried. We didn’t know when we’d see each other again and that’s what made it so hard. The memory of standing in the middle of the road with a tears soaked face while watching her drive off still burns so brightly in my mind, even almost three years later.
I think that this was the first time in my, then, 16 years that I realized that I truly loved someone. And although it isn’t a romantic love, it burns just as beautifully and powerfully.
Now, coming to the end of 2016, we have survived nearly three years of a long-distance friendship. Three years is a significant amount of time and yet it seems like just yesterday we were shopping for prom dresses and spending endless days consumed by the stress that was chemistry class. I cherish every picture we have together, even though we both agree that those pictures are not our prime fashion choices. We’ve both gone through bad friendships and romantic relationships but we always know that we have each other in the end. People have been in and out of our lives, with both of us sharing one experience, which led me to realize that we have a bond that cannot be broken. It started with us and it ends with us; no matter what gets thrown our way, we stick together because that’s what family does.
On December 16th Debby turned 20. It’s a milestone age, that I too will know in 2017; you’re no longer a teen but yet you don’t feel like an adult. I am so incredibly proud of how much she’s grown in the few years I’ve known her. I can’t wait to see what she does during this new phase of her life; I know that she’s going to do nothing but great things.
So thank you Debby for sticking by me through the craziness that is life. Here’s to the next three years and all the adventures that it’ll bring.