“No I’m not gonna change yet! I look hot!” That’s apparently Christina’s first memory of me, freshman year of college. I was in the dance team, and had just returned from a basketball game. I bumped into my roommate and her friends, they were playing board games in the common area. I sat on the couch instead of going up to my dorm room to change into the more appropriate lounge/make-up free “dress code” of the evening. A conceited time in my life, but hey…In my defense, High School had really sucked, and I was reinventing myself this first year of college…exploring who I wanted to be. That was almost 10 years ago.
I saw Christy a few more times that year, hanging out here and there with the friends we had in common. One day I said something along the lines of, “I’m going to visit you this summer!” I lived in South Florida, Christy lived in upstate New York. Little did she know, that this acquaintance of hers says what she means, and means what she says. I had created this sort of travel goal to make a friend from New York that I could visit. But…like I said, we were not really close friends at that point. She was shocked when she got the call, “I got my flight ticket!” I was nuts. She was confused – more like concerned that she had to entertain me for a few days, and worried that we would have nothing to talk about.
We went camping, and we had the time of our lives! It was the night we invented an awful cocktail called Pink Flamingo, and I VERY ACCIDENTALLY farted in front of her after getting drunk with an “Orange Pelican” – inside joke – that our friendship became official. From that well-thought-out (from my point of view) and super random (from her point of view) trip, I established a bond with the girl that I will probably get wine drunk with when I’m 86.
All throughout college, Christy was what I refer to as my “everything-bagel” friend. I always felt that many friendships can fall into categories. For example, the friends that you party with, the friends you call when you need a good cry, the friends you can have the controversial conversations with…Maybe my insecurities from middle school, and high school did not allow me to connect with people all around. But once I got to college, Christy was the first friend I felt I could be myself with 100%.
Christy and I partied hard, baked cakes, went running at the park, attempted to play tennis, studied for finals, discussed anything from nail polish to spirituality, made inappropriate sex jokes, did statistics homework (actually, she did my statistics homework because math hates me), went on Spring Break getaways, created a Senior Year Bucket List. But she is also the friend that drove 2 hours in her ancient car to pick me up from the highway when my own ancient car broke down at night…Just so I would not have to ride with the scary looking guy towing my car. She is also the friend that took me to a beautiful lake at a park, sat me down on a bench, and told me she was concerned because I was not crying when I found out my dad was dying with cancer. She is the one friend that sent me a bottle of wine and a bag of chocolates when my father did die months later, because she knew that there was nothing she could actually say. She is the friend I have had Skype parties with, where we talk for two hours while drinking on the other side of the computer (because we would do the same exact thing if we went out). And she is the only friend I have exchanged birthday presents with in the mail year after year. She is the only person that can write me birthday/holiday cards I never throw away because they make me laugh out loud every time I read them.
When you move abroad, many people get excited…not only are they excited for you, and your awesome life adventure! They also get excited at the possibility of coming to visit. But, like that random trip to New York, freshman year of college, Christy is the one friend that called me to say, “Guess what?!” It has been three and a half years since we saw each other last. But I still feel it was yesterday that we met up in my dorm room to get ready for a girls’ night out in Saint Augustine, Florida.
When she told me she was coming over to Spain, I was sitting on my bed in Alcobendas, Madrid…eating Chinese food from the place downstairs in my “ugly sweat shirt” I only wear around the house. I immediately burst in tears. If there is one thing I am learning from living abroad in Spain is to value and take care of true friends above all things.
She arrives tomorrow, and in honor of our friendship, I am posting this today. In true college days tradition, we have a little project for this friendshipmoon. No social media allowed. I, personally, love staying in touch, and including every person I love in my daily life. I have friends and family spread out everywhere, so social media offers me the chance to stay connected when time and distance keep us so far apart. However, for 8 days, while Christy is in town, Facebook will be forgotten, blogging won’t be considered, and cell phones will be used in case of emergency. We are meeting in Spain, and visiting a surprise country for my readers. Yes, eventually, you will get the pictures and blog posts details. But, the first thing I am going to do is get present to this week of travel with my everything-bagel friend. I’ll be back with the stories once I’m done having the time of my life!
If I close my eyes I still see our reflection in my dorm mirror, putting on make-up and straightening our hair. I still hear the drunk laugh of Thursday’s girls-nights-out, and the ocean waves of a Saint Augustine Saturday morning. I close my eyes, and taste the coffee at midnight because there’s a huge final the next day. I close my eyes and feel the weight of my purple book bag as I walk to class under a blue sky. Our reflections may have changed a little bit since then, just a bit. We are both afraid of wrinkles. But I know I’ll be so lucky to continue to stand in front of the mirror, and find two white-hair, wrinkled, college girls, doing their make up in some nursing home room, with red wine snuck in the grape juice box, and a drawer with yellowing, checked, bucket lists.
At the end of my life, I know, I’ll feel lucky to look back and see I had an everything-bagel friend to do it all with. It’s been a while since I say this to her:
See you tomorrow.