I can honestly tell you that I went away to college with the understanding that the last time I'd see you was at the last graduation party of the summer. We were all moving on and making our new lives, we stopped texting and snap chatting, and our group chats went silent. The only things I knew about you were what you posted on your social media accounts, and that was fine for a while because hey, we were all doing the same thing - moving on. I was dreading moving back across the country for summer break to the town I had spent 18 years of my life in because I thought I would be a stranger in my own town. I had no friends, no plans, and 3 months to kill.
I thank God that I was wrong about what I was coming home to. I got off of that train to the same town I had left, and guess what, my childhood best friends were there too. 8 months of absolute silence could never break the bonds we had formed over 12 years of ups and downs. Our summer plans could not be any more small-town cheesy, but you were right there ready to watch the parade with me, go to the carnival with me, and have movie nights like we had never left.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like our first year of college hadn't changed us, because we all grew up quite a bit, but along with the glow-ups we all experienced (that's right, freshman year is glow-up time), we learned that you don't need to see someone every day to keep a friendship alive. It's funny because we all had the same experiences without even knowing it. We all went to our first college parties, experienced nightclubs, learned to make new friends and avoid old ones even though we were miles apart. I thought I would have months worth of stories to tell you but it turns out you had the same stories to tell me.
I want to say I'm sorry for ever doubting you. I probably said some nasty things about you to my new college friends, and you know my mom and I stalked your Facebook ridiculing every choice you made, but here you are. What I thought would be my childhood friends that I'd only see when I ran into you in the grocery store turned into my hometown friends because I guess I'm stuck with you for good (if my moving to Indiana didn't scare you off, you must really love me or something).
I am so grateful that our relationships have evolved to include the things we love about college. If you hadn't have taken me to that nightclub as soon as I got home, I would probably be working on a plan to leave this small town for every summer break to come. There is nothing better than knowing you have a silent army halfway across the country rooting for you, and that they will still be the same dorks they were when you left them, ready for adventure as soon as you get home. We all swore that once we graduated we were leaving this town and never looking back but you guys reminded me what's so great about hometowns. They have great people like you guys who hate our silly traditions but sit through them anyway because you secretly love this crazy old town.
And to the friends I actually did leave in high school, thank you for the role you played in getting me this far. There is a reason I needed you then and I wouldn't be who I am today without you. Please don't feel obligated to try to keep in touch or say hi in the store, I'm too awkward to handle this kind of small town pressure to be friendly. There is a reason I moved to Indiana.