Some friends come together by accident and some friends were born time and distance apart, always meant to have their lives intertwined. The latter is what I can say definitively about my friendship with Tori.
I had been praying for a friend for an eternity and somehow those prayers were answered with her, this gawky girl with chocolate colored skin whose laugh makes you smile even if the jokes aren’t funny. I was the awkward super pale girl with too many freckles to count and she somehow wanted to be my friend. It seems unfathomable, but our connection was very real from the get go.
From the outside we weren’t very similar; the only obvious similarity was our shyness. Her sporting ability made her stand out amongst her peers, whereas I only knew sport in the form of running over the hot black sand to the waves at summertime. Her ability to play music by ear and my inability to play a musical instrument didn’t matter because we were best friends and it just clicked.
While our childhoods are a world away and some memories have been lost through the portal of time, I distinctively remember childhood being sweeter when we were together. Picking ripe fruit off the trees in the backyard, the juice dribbling off our chins as we conversed about very real and grown up things. Making beds with double sheets, the linen I could never seem to fold down properly the first time. She could always read a book twice as fast as me (although a competition to prove this had her cheat to win). In each other’s company we could find peace from each other’s woes and laugh at ourselves in camaraderie.
I lived a blessed life only a short run away from the sea shore and she lived in suburban town with a house never big enough for the distance between her stepmother and herself. Meeting her for the first time was like meeting someone I had known forever and at seven years of age this was an unusual experience in my naivety and innocence.
Despite this, we both knew that somehow it could not all be survived alone, what life and time would bring with it. We yearned to be in each other’s company as much as possible and sleepovers were something that never seemed to happen enough, even if it was a once a week occurrence for a time. When they did happen, those nights never felt long enough for all the things we had to say in the black nights.
She would be on my mind on the days where I couldn’t see her, her strength and laugh shining through all the difficult realities she faced each day. She was someone I was in such awe of for everything she was dealt with, a life she couldn’t change much as the child she was. Living like the ten year olds we were by jumping on trampolines or learning lyrics to our favorite songs never seemed long enough as jobs had to be done and making chocolate self saucing pudding became a task to complete in time before dinner was served.
She was the quiet girl to all but me, because she was my best friend and we were inseparable in spirit. Even when life came crashing down and our cords were cut by parents, we knew our story wasn’t over. It couldn’t be, because our bond was stronger than anything anyone could ever do to us.
We missed out on spending our teenage years together, not by our choice. Somehow we always wished the other were there to experience all those important teenage things. Crushes, boyfriends, school cliques and parties, it was not to be though. Through all those years apart there was never a question of where our friendship stood or what would happen once we had the freedom to do as we pleased.
When we finally had the ability to come together again as adults it was as though no time had passed, we were the same people that had been intertwined all those years earlier, yes, Tori is my best friend no matter where I am or who else may come along. And she is on my thoughts so often when I travel, wishing she could come and experience new cultures and sights alongside me.
It has been twenty years since I met her and in a way our friendship lives so strongly in our childhoods, but if life were perfect then we would be but a block away from each other and there would never be enough time for all that we still have to say and the time that we have to make up for.
Our friendship has sustained twenty years and Tori you were always priceless and precious beyond any words. I’m so honored that you chose to be my friend and I can’t believe how twenty years have flittered by. Yes, if we were near each other, a sleepover where singing to ‘say my name’ by Destiny’s Child and an inappropriate consumption of candy seems only too appropriate for that achievement.