The Joy of Being Alyssa’s Friend

nashville alyssaOne day, you and your childhood best friend will finally fight. It will take more than a decade after she first walked up to you, likely wearing a forest green t-shirt with frogs on it, and you still had a ponytail mercilessly pulled back because your father had strong opinions about his daughters’ hairstyles. It took you more than five years to walk to her house by yourself, to trek the half mile and fierce intersection with K-Mart in the parking lot, because your parents’ raised you out of the city where everything was safe except the traffic. Your friendship has persisted even when you looked down on her for ignoring the quadratic formula as you made B’s in ninth-grade Algebra 2. Retrospectively, you both laugh about the day that you bawled on her shoulder the day on the pavement in the dismal church patio that day after your hamster died. One day, you tell her that as a 7-year-old, you had specifically prayed for a best friend. Somehow, you ended up with a homeschooled hapa born 13 days after you who shared your affinity for American Girl dolls and had a trampoline in her backyard. What a God.

Now, she has a ring in her nose and a ring on her finger and before you both turn 26 next year, two children on her lap. You have a college education; she has a developed a curriculum for teaching Hindi. You can both sing Taylor Swift songs. Your friendship almost entirely exists at the mercy of email servers. You have not stayed overnight in her Delhi apartment and sipped Lassi with her while the din of an Indian marketplace rings in your ears. She has not sat on a cast iron chair in your back patio underneath the twinkly lights and toasted with Trader Joe’s cava.

Once upon a time you argued and cried and articulated the reality of your emerging differences, truth-telling that propelled your relationship into your 20’s. Nobody really wanted to play make believe into the next decade.

You have both run away from your little Bay Area suburb. Even Katy Perry can be a California girl, but you were both destined to take on the world.

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