We’ve been friends for five years. When we first met I still had my freshmen 15 and you couldn’t even legally order an alcoholic beverage. We had mutual friends – which was about the only thing we had in common except for our shared birthdays, exactly two years apart. I guess it started the way they all do, with flirty text messages and naughty pictures but after a few months I was all in and you were… not. Simple.
After that it exploded pretty quickly. I said things, you said things, then you ignored me for weeks on end even though we lived in the same dorm and it was almost impossible not to run into each other. The first time I was heartbroken and every time after that I have been many things – furious, annoyed, exasperated, but never quite like that first time. We made up, of course, because that’s the cycle of us. We retreat just far enough to miss each other and then we crawl back, drawn to each other like magnets without really understanding why.
You graduated, then I graduated and even though we lived in different states and eventually different time zones we never lost touch. I don’t even know when I started referring to you as my best friend, but I did. Always with the flirty texts, the naughty pics, but underneath it so much more. You listened to me complain after dating asshole after asshole, I answered your drunken texts when no one else would. If either of us had anything important going on the other would know about it. We encouraged each other, pushed each other, challenged each other and without knowing it a bond formed. When you got into grad school I was almost as excited as you were and when I went off on the campaign trail you couldn’t have been prouder.
And yet, every few months I would realize it was all just a game. You would say something dumb or I would become too needy and the cycle would start all over. We’d disappear into radio silence for what felt like ever and then one of us would break and send the other one a text and it was back to beginning again. My boyfriends were always jealous, thinking that you and I were secretly in love with each other but I would always say the same thing, “If we were meant to be together it would have happened by now.” Which, I hadn’t realized until recently was not even close to the right answer for many, many reasons.
Yet here we are. Whenever the days turn into weeks of us not talking we miss each other in a way that shouldn’t seem possible given that we’ve never had one another to begin with. Sometimes you meet people that just for no reason you can’t see yourself living without. I guess that’s just the cycle of us.