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There are no words I can use to describe them: my angels with the devilish smiles and frou-frou dresses, with sharp tongues and even sharper minds. My aurora-borne saviors and back-up secret agents who would always accompany me to the black-tie parties, even if we were an hour late (my fault again...) and they hated the cocktail dresses my boss made guests wear.
Like that time we ran laughing so hard that we were crying in the rain. And our salt tears mixed and melted with the fresh tears dropping down on us from the sky. And one of them turned to look at me, and through painfully joy-ridden eyes asked, “What are we doing?”
And as sincerely as I could, through laughs that only we could share, I had answered: “This is what we do.”
Photographs just don’t get the job done. I’m here and they’re all there but she looks awkward in the third row while she blinks and I just look awful. Don’t shake your head at me, you’re too kind to me, you know. You all are. They all are.
I can’t give you a number to describe how many of them there are. Sorry, it just doesn’t work like that. Because there is no number one as there is in all that cheap business known as ‘romantic love’. There is only us; I know I don’t need to give you a number for you to know just where you line up in my heart. There is only a circle, a ring of dear friends that snugly encircles my heart. Beating uniformly together, now and forever more.
And I can say romantic, idealistic things like ‘forever together’ when I’m with them. I can walk that dangerous line without fear of being pushed one way or another. Because if I reach out my hand and close my eyes, I know they’ll be there. They are there. Always.
While others may come, to pass and go; boys may waltz in and out of my life, carelessly breaking a heart here or there, I know that I always have them. For better or worse right up to the day before never—which is the day right after forever, in case you were wondering, they will be there.
And if any of them were ever to leave me, I know there wouldn’t be a thing I could do about it. What would I feel? There are no words to describe losing a friend so dear, so loved. None at all can capture the pain, sadness, anger, panic, regret denial and hatred all rolled into one. I don’t have a word for that emotion and I hope I never meet it when it comes to any of you. However if I do, I’ll call it “empty”. Emptiness... a feeling in and of itself that does not feel; it haunts.
But until that day comes, I’ll strive to enjoy this moment. To live in the now and always be grateful for this bond; always. Even after many years have passed and we don’t talk as often anymore, I’ll remember you and I’ll hope that you remember me, as we were.
“Hey, what are you doing?” one of them asks one day at lunch when she catches me staring off into space again.
“I’m thinking we need more pictures together,” I reply with a joker’s smile as I pull out my camera to capture our not-so-best moments, our mouths full of cheap high school food, our eyes sporting bags from sleepless nights spent studying.
She protests and the pictures are never taken but the memories stay fresh.
This is a true love; true love for my best friends.
My girls; now and forever.