When I was younger and would daydream about my college experience, it was a lot of generics: me sitting on a bench reading or strolling across a picturesque quad while effortlessly one-strapping my backpack.
This vision was pretty inaccurate—I’m not sure I’ve ever quietly sat on a bench to read… and now I use a tote bag. But the thing that was most incomplete about it was the distinct lack of people. I mean, I was so excited to make new friends. I knew these would be my lifelong, ride-or-die, future “aunts” and “uncles” to my children. But I had no idea who they were. What they would be like. How much they would enrich my life.
Here’s to one of them—the best of them.
It started when I complimented your shoes.
We were at Orientation, and your Frye tassel loafers were a little signifier that there was someone like me in this crowd of unfamiliar faces. Sure, everyone I met was nice, funny, and welcoming, but not best friend material. Your shoes were a safe, genuine conversation starter. And after a five-minute conversation about them, I could tell: you were best friend material.
Sometimes I think about what would’ve happened if you hadn’t worn those shoes, or if I hadn’t noticed them. We definitely would’ve somehow met and become friends, but I’m glad I didn’t have to watch the hypnotist show that night with anyone else. I’m glad that I had you so soon. I’m glad that I didn’t have to live the non-loafer parallel universe.
Giggling through forced orientation events turned into late nights talking turned into standing dinner dates turned into stealing each others’ clothes turned into sophomore housing lottery turned into—finally—roommates.
Now, the late nights talking and the dinner dates and the stealing of each others’ clothes never had to end. I was so excited to do all these fun things with you. And what I got was even better: a whole new heap of experiences and adventures (and, yes, unlimited access to that perfect black tank) and a perfect roommate/best friend combo to boot.
I know roommates are a big deal. They’re a cornerstone of college life and an epithet that follows people in stories for a whole lifetime. I’m so glad that when I recount my college years, you’ll firmly hold the title of “my college roommate.” But you’re also a lot more than that. You’re a pep talk-giving, frozen meal-slinging, tear-drying, late night antics-providing, always-down-for-anything, impeccably dressed best friend.
You’ve never been in short supply of wisdom, hugs, feta cheese to share, or willingness to go to Uni Mini at weird times. You’ve never not been there. Every perfect, nostalgic, crystallized college memory: you’re there. Every dark moment, every bad day: you’re there.
I’ve been so blessed to have my best friend live twenty feet away from me.
And next year, you’ll move to San Francisco.
And whatever apartment I end up in will be distinctly less fun, less full of love.
Even if my future roommate doesn’t mind year-round Halloween decorations or storing at least ten bags of Trader Joe’s fried rice at any given moment, it won’t be the same. There won’t be late night RuPaul’s Drag Race binges or early morning outfit advice sessions or spontaneous dance parties to the Shrek soundtrack.
I wish I could time travel; I would tell Teenage Me to not freak out so much because Griffin House will behold the most simpatico human on Earth; I would remind future Me to look up jobs in San Francisco/harass you again to move back East. Mostly, though, I think I would keep that time traveling ability in my back pocket for some future inevitable life crisis. I’d zip back to the Babe Cave, and we’d eat too much junk food and watch too much tv and laugh too hard and you’d take too many Snapchats of my narcoleptic habits.
I couldn’t properly picture the people in my college experiences. How could I have known that I’d find a roommate who would show me how to play squash, how to fry plantains, how to properly live the Grandma lifestyle, and how not to sweat the small stuff? And how could I have known that my roommate would be my best friend?
And I can’t properly picture post-grad without you. I’m not sure what it’ll be like to come home after work and not eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos while discussing every detail of that day. I don’t like the idea of you not being my roommate.
But I’m so thankful that, for four years, I’ve had you.
Thanks for wearing those loafers. Thanks for being one wall away. Thanks for making wherever we live a home. Thanks for being my best friend.