21 years of friendship can’t be summed up in a few words, but these seemingly random words and phrases might appear in my toast at my high school best friend’s wedding in a few days.
I can’t really think of a time before Jackie was in my life, but I’ve been trying to remember the first time we met. It must’ve been the green hall our freshman year of high school. I would bet you $100 that she had a can of Surge in her hand.
Although we’ve been friends since freshman year, our friendship didn’t really blossom until Jackie’s Sweet 16 at the end of our sophomore year. Since then, we’ve been inseparable. I could tell you about the hours she spent teaching me how to play the flute so I could audition for band (I didn’t make it).
There were countless bowling games. Trips to the mall. Making a Dunkin Donuts run and walking into first period with coffee in our hands. AP exams. Homecoming. Prom. There were front row seats at a Matchbox 20 concert.
And that’s just high school.
When we graduated high school, Jackie went to school in Nebraska while I stayed behind in the DMV area. We didn’t adjust well to not seeing each other every day, so there were lots of AIM convos, texting, and phone calls. Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but these were the days before unlimited texting and waiting to talk on the phone until 9 PM. Needless to say, our cell phone bills after the first quarter at school did not make our parents happy. If I remember correctly, it may have even affected cell phone privileges for her younger sisters (sorry.)
During winter and spring break, we would trade off between my place in VA and her place in North Carolina. There were postcards and letters when she spent a semester overseas. There were crushes and first loves and heartbreaks and everything in between. There were a few years of separation because life got tough for me.
And then we were reunited once again. There were tailgates, dancing, people-watching, injuries (me, because I can’t walk), and everything in between.
We grew up together and apart. We gained a taste for whiskey and wine.
She fell in love.
Even at the beginning, I could tell there was something different about this one, even from a distance. And then I finally got to meet him a couple of years into their relationship and I knew Jackie had found her person.
There was nothing that could keep me from being there on her special day, even if it was in Scotland.
Especially if it was in Scotland.
A special part of our bond has always been the way her family accepted me and the way they value our friendship. I love her siblings like my own and I’ve gotten to watch them grow up too (I don’t feel old at all, nope).
So I’m on my way to Scotland to spend a week with my best friend of 21 years, her forever person, and her family. I wish I could say that I’m in control of my emotions, but come on. Have you met me?
I can’t wait for 21 more years of memories, starting with her special day.