The Joy of Being Friends with Mollie

mollieEveryone needs a friend on their feet. Portland, Maine, to Kansas City, Kansas, to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Seattle, Washington with some backtracking, zigzagging, and hopscotching. When we last laughed in person while applying eye shadow in cloudy cosmetic mirrors en route to a Pennsylvania farm wedding via the New Jersey suburbs.

At our little college campus outside of Harrisburg, Mollie and I bonded in our freshmen November at a Conor Oberst concert. She had mesmerizing blond curls, a lip ring, and a red flannel shirt. She brought her own bike to campus, grew up in a town called Yarmouth, and introduced me to the idea of the Appalachian Trail. After our freshman year ended, I skipped going to my then-boyfriend’s house for some summer love canoodling, and fixed myself to Mollie’s front porch for four chilly May days. At one point, we convinced ourselves to pay for overpriced tickets to take a ferry to a nearby island. Or did we? That was six years ago.

Like the majority of friendships that I’ve maintained since college, Mollie’s and mine relationship works because it inhabits the world of ideas. The breadth of refugees’ tenacity. Dating an undocumented person. The extent to which law school might make us more effective in Changing the World. Spirituality and sexuality. Biracial blood but passing as white. Doubt and wonder and timidity and courage. What do we believe? What do we live? What difference does any—or all—of this make?

I will not be surprised if Mollie and I never live in the same place again and I will not be surprised if we do. We are rarely in relationships. We give a damn about our cities. We are not afraid to be alone. We both spent two semesters off-campus. Our only fear in moving is that we’ll gentrify our neighborhoods.

I do not know when we’ll both hop on bicycles and accompany the other to a volunteering gig or an immigrant’s apartment or an independent bookstore. But we have each other’s voices on the phone and this must sustain us until then.


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