I’ve mentioned my best friend on multiple occasions simply because she’s my best friend and has been for most of my life. Our relationship is complicated in many ways, but today is her birthday and I’m going to pay homage to the woman that helped me be me.
For starters, my best friend is 11 years, 10 months, and 21 days older than me. And while most people would find this age difference to be a hinderance, it’s actually why we started hanging out. Also, she’s my first cousin on my mother’s side.
Even when my mother was married to my father, she was essentially a single parent. On top of that, my sister who is ten years older than me, had some issues during her teen years. This meant that my mom didn’t always have the time or money to dedicate to entertaining me. However, my cousin is a huge Disney fan and it just seemed better to take a little girl with her when she went to see the latest Disney cartoon movie at the theater and since she worked, she always offered to pay, which was a relief to my mother.
As we both aged and matured, we began to find things we had in common. She took me to my first Nine Inch Nails concert after getting permission to introduce me to the music. She had a touch of a wild streak that she included in me, nothing illegal, just different. She was helping me dye my hair wild colors in junior high. She kept reminding me that I was allowed to be different. I didn’t have to fit in. It was okay to be unique. For that, I am eternally grateful. It sustained me all through my high school years.
She’s read a ton of crappy books and short stories over the years, helping me improve my writing. She’s bought me books, told me about classes I could take, and even signed me up for Writer’s Digest one year as a birthday present. She’s also the one that convinced me to look into indie publishing.
We’ve reached that point where verbal communication isn’t always necessary. We can walk and give directions with eye contact and head nods. Sometimes she leads. Sometimes I lead. It always works out.
We can giggle uncontrollably about things that I’m not sure are actually funny. They are just funny to us for some unknown reason.
And we have a knack for making people uncomfortable around us. I’m not sure why, but people have commented on it to both of us. It doesn’t happen every time, but it does often enough. I once had one of her friends comment to me that they found me peculiar and that I made her peculiar. They said her personality became more intense and fiery when I was around. They also said that she seemed to let go of her alpha tendencies and follow me. I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but I find it strange that other people think she changes when I’m around.
Of course, I change around her too. I become funny. She brings out my wicked sense of humor and love of irony. She can also make me happy even when I’m miserable. It’s why I almost need her involved when I write a Dysfunctional Chronicle novella.
For several years, when I was just starting writing and had no extra money to spare, I put off seeing her. Mainly because it hurt my pride. I knew I could go to lunch or dinner with her and she’d pay, but I really hate that. Now that I’m making money, she lives in a different city three hours away… It’s a little hard to meet for lunch and a quick chat. I miss her terribly though. I think of her every day.
I feel no fear when she’s around. If anyone else had told me to self publish, I would have balked and found excuses, but it wasn’t someone else, it was her. So I did it, because she makes me brave. I have been in some shady neighborhoods after dark leaving concerts or shopping at the best leather store in Chicago. These are high crime areas and times, but I would be far more concerned about the person who attempted to mug us than us when we’re together.
Growing up, people always thought it was weird that I said I didn’t want kids. Or that I wasn’t sure about getting married. I didn’t have a wedding planned with fancy flowers and food I couldn’t pronounce. It just never interested me. Her and my mother were the only people that didn’t think it was a phase that I’d grow out of. And since she was childless and didn’t want children and not really interested in marriage anymore than buying salted slug earrings, she was someone I could talk to about it that understood.
The most important thing though, no matter how much of an asshole I am (and I can be a narcissistic asshat without realizing it), she still loves me. She just points out that I’m being a narcissistic asshat. And despite any and all disagreements we’ve ever had, I have never been able to stay mad at her for more than an hour. I have tried a few times, but I just couldn’t hold onto it. I always realized that it was never that important in the grand scheme of things, because I valued our friendship more than I valued being mad at her.
So Happy Birthday Bestie! It began with childhood adulation and turned into the most amazing journey I’ve ever had. All my greatest stories start with “B and I…”.