It all started in sixth-grade gym class. The conversation that started it all I may not be able to remember, but what I do remember is that in a sweat sock smelling gymnasium an awkward middle schooler met an equally as awkward middle schooler and a friendship was formed.
From the very beginning, we were inseparable. I remember sleepovers at her house where we would stay up and play the Wii U (which was the coolest thing to do back in those days). Or we would stay up and giggle about the dumbest things. The two most prominent memories I have from mine and Jenna's middle school days. Both are from around Christmas time, one involved a birthday present disaster and the other involves the reasoning behind my hatred of Reese's Cups. The birthday gift came from her parents being insanely kind to me and buying me a brand new pair of boots for my birthday when we were out at the mall. I loved this pair of boots. They were dark brown and had these cute tassel things on the sides. Well, after we got back from the mall we decided we wanted to play outside, which was innocent enough right?
Everything was great up until the moment I stepped in some dog poop. At that moment I thought I'd destroyed the gift that had so generously been given to me hours before. The story doesn't end there though. Oh no, we stood out on Jenna's porch with a toothbrush and scrubbed the bottom of my boot for what felt like hours. In all honesty, it probably was only about 20 minutes, but I was distraught and it felt like a lifetime.
Now on to the Reese's Cup story. Well, it was Christmas time and Jenna and I had decided to exchange gifts at my house and have a sleepover, as any normal middle school girls would. Her gift to me was a dolphin pillow pet because dolphins were one of my favorite animals (if you know me you know why) and a giant bag of Reese's Cup. Fast forward through many hours of conversation, a full watching of Titanic, and an entire bag of Reese's Cups later to me who at the time didn't think anything bad about what we did. No, I never got sick nor did I ever really have that bad of a stomach ache. But to this day I cannot find it in me to eat, or even smell a Reese's Cup.
I don't tell these stories to reminisce on the past, I tell these stories to show you the beginning of a friendship that has spanned over 10 years. I will never be able to fully express the sadness that filled me when Jenna told me that her family was moving to Illinois after the first week of eighth grade. At first, I thought it was a cruel April Fool's joke, but the only joke being told was that in a few short months one of my only friends was being taken hundreds of miles away from me and wasn't coming back.
Some people might have looked at our friendship as a good run and that the distance would be too much to continue having a friendship. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's been nearly eight years since my best friend moved halfway across the United States and we are still going strong.
At first, we tried to keep in touch as much as possible, but distance is hard and we both had different schedules. As time went on we would talk less and less, but after our freshman year of high school, I made the trip up to Illinois to see her for the first time in almost two years. If you were wondering how it went, well it was as if she'd never even left.
From that summer on we did our best to try and visit each other every year. Usually, it would be Jenna coming down to North Carolina to vacation with my family at the beach, but that was mostly because Illinois doesn't have real beaches. We were really good about it for a while, and I always looked forward to summer because it meant I would get to see my best friend for at least a week.
Then college came around and our schedules got harder to manage and we both became more active in campus activities. What that means is that it's been over three years since I've seen my best friend. But that's OK because we both know that whether or not we see each other doesn't define our friendship.
No, we don't text every day or FaceTime all the time like we said we would, but that's OK! My dad once told me that friendship isn't defined by the amount of time you spend with someone, but it's whether or not when you get back together after being apart for a long time and act like you were never apart at all. That's how my friendship with Jenna is. We can go months without talking to each other to never shutting up catching up when we do get the chance to talk. I'm not saying that every friendship will be like this, but if someone was actually your best friend at one point or another this is what that looks like.
Some people in our lives come and go, but our best friends are stuck with us no matter the distance between us.