The Long Distance Struggle

I have known my best friend Megan since we were 12. We met playing for a local club lacrosse team and instantly bonded over the fact that we had both recently moved to the area (my family moves around a lot). From that first session, we were basically inseparable. I suppose those years themselves could be considered “practice” for when we would go to college, because we never actually went to the same schools. In fact, we actually went to rival high schools. Our high school lacrosse coaches actually made it a rule that we weren’t allowed to be next to each other when our schools played because we legitimately couldn’t take it seriously: a very serious rivalry game would be going on, meanwhile we’re cracking up in the middle of the field. Even though we both had good, honestly great, friendships at school, we worked so hard to find times to hang out outside lacrosse practices. We were those middle schoolers who matched our outfits when we went to the mall, and I am honestly not ashamed of it. My weekends consisted of scheming to get permission to have a sleepover or go see a movie in those early years. I actually think our record for most movies watched in a row is six. We often drove to tournaments together, and carpooled when we graduated to a more serious club team that held practices almost an hour away from where we lived. As we grew up and went to high school, when we both got so much busier, our favorite thing to do together was to just go for long, winding drives up and down the coast with Meegs in the driver seat and me playing DJ. The purpose of these was to catch up on every small detail of each other’s lives. These drives could consist of blaring Chance the Rapper songs and scream singing, or ranting about our moms (both of whom we immensely love, but high school can do that to you),or just sitting in comforting, peaceful silence. My favorite memories of those drives end with us randomly going to the Long Beach Aquarium on a school night. I know it's so incredibly cliche to say this, but she really was, and still is, my person. Image result for my person Things just aren’t as easy as they were in high school. Leaving home behind to go to college has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve made so many new friends, learned so much about the world and myself, and I literally love being here. It’s been hard though, because the same time I left for school, my family moved to a different state. This made going to school so far from my friends even harder, because my breaks are spent away from them. Most of them, including Megan, stayed close to the west coast, so it takes planes and money and time to see each other. I’ve gone from spending sometimes multiple days in a row with her to seeing her once, maybe twice, a year. I am so so grateful to have my college friends, and they are my rocks… but sometimes all you want is to pass out from pizza consumption and movie marathons with someone who has known you since you were thick of that puberty awkwardness and fiercely loved you all the while; or to go for that drive with your best friend after an awful day. She doesn’t know the minute details of my life anymore, and I don’t know what she did yesterday or the day before. We can’t go for endless drives swapping songs and stories right now, because she’s in Colorado and I’m in Michigan, and we go home to different places. But she’s still my person and we make it work. Image result for friends driving down the beach I text her all the time, especially the meaningless texts. A lot of the times our conversations begin with a “hi i miss u”. Sometimes they last for hours, other times a few minutes. Either way it shows that we’re thinking of each other. We’ve been especially good about calling each other between classes or in our downtime, usually when we have big news. I can remember calling her at the lowest point of my freshman year and just crying into the phone for almost half an hour, because she was the only one I wanted in that moment and it made it that much worse that a phone call was the best I could do.      Surprisingly, I really am actually grateful we don’t go to the same school, as hard as it is to remember that sometimes. We were allowed to become our own people and learn how to be independent. It also, I like to think, made our friendship so much stronger. Yes, it's impossible for me to know what’s happening in her life the way I used to. I do, however, know her boy drama and friend struggles, and she knows mine. We both have a bad habit of getting a new ear piercing any time we’re bored, and I know about every single one of those. It's more about quality than quantity with us these days, and we’re slowly but surely figuring that out.

I think everyone at some point in college comes to the realization that our lives before college, our high school experience, is firmly in the past. That realization truly rattled me because I was so comfortable in that time, with myself and my friends. Having to leave Megan and live a whole life without her was like someone taking a security blanket away from me.  Last summer, I was lucky enough to fly back to where I used to live to hang out with Megan and my other friends, and a few weeks later she came to stay with me. Those were the highlights of my summer, even if they were bittersweet and very nostalgic. What they did show me, though, is that college didn’t make our friendship any weaker or awkward. We never changed, even though our whole lives did change. She is still my person, and it's gonna take a lot more than distance to ever change that.

 

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