Everyone and their most ancient ancestor says this, but high school wasn’t exactly a golden period of my existence. I’d always been kind of a nerdy, lonely, angry kid, and my teen years was, of course, the peak point of that. The weird thing is, I was both the kid with the 4.0 and the kid in combat boots who looked like a living, breathing Hot Topic ad, and I was equally isolated from my peers on each front.
I’d met T when I was trying my damned hardest to be normal and to find a way to reconcile both facets of my personality. It was our sophomore year, I think, on the first day of Biology class and I remember thinking – after, “Why does our teacher have a mullet?” – that as nice as she was, we probably didn’t have anything in common.
I spent my school lunch periods hiding away in the library and the times when I was in there trying to be invisible, I was hell-bent on blending in as much as possible; I didn’t have the confidence yet to risk being noticed. But T did. That was one of the first things I noticed about her. She had, and still has, this confidence in herself and this astounding level of self-assurance that I admired. She had a group of friends who I rarely ever saw her without – gorgeous girls who my dwarfish self totally envied for looking grown-up – and seemed to get along well with everyone. She also has this way of speaking that’s both witty as fuck, and hilarious as hell. I’m convinced she can make a pun out of anything and I liked that, unlike me, she was not afraid of or shy about her own intelligence.
She changed my mind, though, one day in junior year during French class.
We sat next to each other and one day I accidentally spat a giant sip of water in her face. I was fucking mortified and thought she’d never speak to me again for fear of other projectiles. But the chick just laughed it off, asked me for a paper towel, and kept on right on goofing around. Any girl who can handle something like that without making a frantic dash for the bathroom to check on the state of her layers of foundation is cool by me.
From then on we sort of just kept hanging. We’d make runs to Subway during lunch, and she doesn’t know it (not yet anyway…she will after she reads this; WHAT UP, BOO!), but that always meant a lot to me. For a girl who spent a lot of those lunch periods in the library, those Safeway excursions were an adventure, and made me feel like a normal high school girl with something to do, somewhere to go, and someone to be there with. The closer we got, the more we learned that we have a similar sense of humor, a similar opinion about literature and writing, and similar perspectives and goals in life.
Now, she’s someone whose nerdily endearing Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future references I can’t live without. Because she’s the one girl friend I’ve ever had who’s surprised me, and who’s made me a better version of myself. And she’s the one girl friend I’ve ever had who’s stayed.