Having a true childhood best friend is one of the biggest blessings in life. My best friend Carolyn Davis has been beside me through so much throughout the years. We met in the 5th grade because we were both safety patrols and got assigned to flag duty together. We essentially fell in love with each other after a few safety patrol sessions and have been inseparable ever since – are you even best friends if people don’t question whether or not you’re dating? We’ve been with each other through countless phases like crazy hair colors, various boys, huge milestones and the tough tribulations of life.
My bestie and I are alike in more ways than one. We’re both quite literally obsessed with our dogs and boneless teriyaki wings. We both love country music, writing and have the same extremely weird (really, REALLY weird) sense of humor. I honestly have so much to say about all the aspects of our friendship and how similar we are, but it’d take me ages to jot it all down. We’ve survived fights, conflicts and even outsider’s disapprovals of our friendship. She’s been my most consistent friend throughout my life and part of that is because we lived really close to each other for so many years. Sometimes life got in the way and we’d go periods of time without seeing each other, but our friendship never fizzled out and we were able to remain extremely close. However, until this spring, I never really considered what it would be like to have over 500 miles of distance between us.
In May of 2019, my best friend moved away to Kentucky and I quickly experienced the extreme downside of having a true best friend that I was so invested in. Honestly, I remained in denial about her move for a long time. I just pretended it didn’t even happen and continued on as usual. I think I was able to be so nonchalant about her move in the beginning because, as I said before, we’ve gone long periods of time without seeing each other and never had any issues. I guess I thought (or at least hoped) this move was going to be sort of the same. But instead of weeks or only one month without seeing each other, it quickly turned into over five months of not being able to see each other. This has definitely begun to impact me and I now realize that I took us living close together for so long for granted. Our friendship has mainly consisted of just catching up with each other because we never felt the need to always be together and we really were close enough to deal with some time away from each other. But now, we have no choice but to deal with simply not seeing each other at all.
Not having Carolyn live near me has caused me to feel super lonely and at times out of place. Previously, I could always look forward to the fact that I had my true best friend back home in Orlando to rely on. This thought was comforting to me whenever I felt like an “outsider” at school or when I felt that there was no one I could relate to. But, I can’t lean back on this thought anymore because when I visit home, Carolyn isn’t there.
With all of this, I’ve had to face one of the harsh realities of life: change. It is inevitable, especially as it relates to decisions that aren’t mine. My best friend moved far away in the interest of her own happiness and desires, and I have to respect and adapt to that.
Although I’m trying my best to deal with the reality that my best friend is probably always going to live relatively far from me, I still can’t help but look back on old photos of the two of us and reminisce on just how much we’ve been through together. We’ve been together for middle school dances, countless first-time experiences, school transitions, health struggles, family hardships and literally everything in between.
Although she isn’t close in distance to me, I’ll never forget all of the valuable moments and memories my best friend and I have created together. And she’ll always be the first person I run to when I have exciting or upsetting news, or when I need sound advice.
Having someone so important to you live so far away can definitely feel lonely at times, but I’m grateful that I even had the opportunity to make a friend like Carolyn in my lifetime. Although I hated it in the beginning, I’m learning to be thankful for the experience of having a long-distance best friend because it’s definitely helped me to mature and become more resilient toward the numerous changes in life. Despite the distance between us, I’d venture to say that we’re going to remain close friends. Hours long Facetime calls will just have to do for now.
All images courtesy of Sophia Akel.