Being an insecure thirteen-year-old at a birthday party where I only knew the birthday girl, I spent many hours contemplating if I should even go. Now, I can confidently say that that day was one of the most important days of my life. It all began with a table filled with soda, and nothing else. When I saw that the only drink option was the one thing I hated most, I went to go ask for another type of drink but found something more than just a glass of lemonade. When I realized that someone else was asking the same question, I knew I had to talk to her, despite how much cooler than me I thought she was. That one simple question led to hours of conversation, days of mall trips, months of sleepovers, and years of friendship.
We shared passions and dreams with each other, and one that always stuck with you is your love of Israel. When you told me at the end of high school that you were going to the IDF, I was terrified, but I was also proud. While I was indecisive about which colleges to apply to and what my major should be, you were planning on moving halfway across the world and fighting for your passion. Your perseverance and intense drive to sacrifice yourself for something you believe in is one of the most admirable traits I have ever seen in anyone. I know you are fearless and ready to take on whatever challenges may come your way, but after dropping you off at the airport, I already started waiting for the day we would reunite. Saying goodbye to you without knowing when I will see you again is one of the hardest things I have ever done. There are many things I never got to tell you, but I hope you know now.
I hope you know that there are people back home who still love you and worry about you every day.
I hope you always fight for a good cause and remember why you joined the IDF in the first place.
I hope you know that no matter how hard things get, you always have the support of the people around you.
I hope you know that despite my worry and distance from you, knowing that you are happier than you have ever been makes me happy.
I hope you know that although we cannot talk as much as we used to, I still cherish every memory we have together, and I know we can create more.
What used to be going to each other's houses after school has turned into video chats whenever possible. What used to be staying up until the middle of the night eating bagels and watching movies has turned into making sure it is not the middle of the night when I want to call you. No matter how many times a call might break up or how many weeks may pass between our conversations, I still consider you my best friend.