Happy Birthday to My Best Friend

This weekend my best friend, JB, will celebrate her 35th birthday.  I honestly didn't intend to write about it or about her, but I just heard a song that made me think about her and I felt inspired.

I have known her for over half of my life.  I met her about five months before I met my husband, her in October of eleventh grade and him in March of eleventh grade.  Eleventh grade was one of the worst years of my life (only slightly less bad than the tenth).  I'd switched schools, I was overwhelmed and struggling with physics and chemistry classes, I'd lost a few good friends, and I was just not a happy girl.  Meeting the two of them that year was the only silver lining, but what a jackpot!

I remember the exact moment I met JB.  I remember her long, dark hair and her red lipstick and her black leather jacket.  I liked her immediately, but we didn't become good friends right away.  It took a few months of riding the bus together and walking to school before we truly began to bond.  But meeting her was the turning point, and one of the only good things to come out of that horrible school!  And in fact, we grew closer as friends in the years after I moved away from my hometown, and are closer now than ever we were before.

She hasn't changed much, except to grow wiser and funnier and more eclectic.  But she still has the same long dark hair, the same red lips.  She is probably the only person outside of my immediate family that I don't need to have filters with when we talk.  She is the one I can tell my off-color jokes to, the one I never even have to worry about offending.  She is the one I can send off an angry, one-liner political rant to, and she gets it and usually agrees!  Between us, we share laughter and ideas and our true selves, a relief to have where day after day we have to go to work and behave.  She knows every best and worst thing about me, and neither makes overly much difference to her in how much she loves me.  And I love that!

She is like part my family.  When she visits, she brings them gifts.  She texts my husband about politics and video games, they share so many things in common.  My sisters know her enough to think of her, despite the two thousand miles of distance, and the other day one of my sisters said, "I don't know but when I think of her I always think of the color red."  There is nothing contrived about it; it's just the way she is, the regularity of her contact with me and them.

Despite horrendous nausea that she experiences at the mere thought of getting on an airplane, she visits regularly.  In two months, she will be here with me celebrating my thirty-fifth birthday, and I am sad and sorry I cannot be with her this weekend while she celebrates hers.  In my recent book, there is a poem about her where I declare that "she gets older, better with age."  And on this celebration of another year of her life, I say it again!  She is spunkier, funnier, wittier and more interesting each passing year.

You would never guess she was 35, but every moment of it looks good on her.  Happy birthday, darling!

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