Dear Best Friend,

A while back, I messaged you about my concerns over your birthday present for this year. Since you'll have literally just turned 19 years old as of this letter's publication date, I wanted the "birthday card" aspect of your gift to be a bit unconventional. After all, this is your last year during which you can live out any residual teenage angst and it'll still be seen as valid, so I figured I might as well make your birthday message all the more distinct (and public).

So with that being written, happy birthday. May your 19th treat you well, and may all your wishes (birthday-candle-style or not) come true.

And hey, I know it's not my birthday—and this totally isn't a birthday wish since slapping on that label would prevent whatever I desire from becoming true—but my greatest wish is for us to see each other again.

We haven't been in the same physical space since our high school graduation last June. Just like the rest of our classmates, that unified path we spent the past four years traveling upon diverged, and we parted ways to pursue individual journeys.

For them, that's totally okay, as those same classmates see each other during breaks and holidays, weekends and days off. But for you and I, you can't exactly come home, and neither of us can exactly travel to meet each other. And when there's a forced estrangement (especially from a viable distance of only a few geographical states), it's easy to be blindsided by the injustice of the situation, and blame the universe for our misfortune.

However, I've been thinking about our long-distance friendship recently, and I've come to the following: There's a saying that time and space heals all relationship wounds, but I believe they do more than just that. Time and space fix and strengthen those damages to prevent them from ever reopening.

I just really miss you. And I just really miss us. It hurts, but I also just really love you. And I just really love us.

So perhaps our destiny is to reach a point in our lives at which we're able to find each other again, within a good space at the right time.

For although we're now leading different lives, I like to think that the collective path we once trekked along together still exists just as we left it, even if it has become a tad overgrown by dense foliage. And that's totally alright, because when our paths do divulge and we see each other again, you'll be right there with me to hack away that unruly brush with our super awesome, super sleek, super lightweight customized machetes—both with handles encrusted in heart-shaped plastic rhinestones and each complete with a homemade friendship bracelet encircled at the end of the handle's loop—and continue our lifelong adventure together as we once did all those years ago, even if only for another brief moment before we again part ways.

I'm trying not to think of all this as a fantasy-and-a-half, but I love you enough to understand that the time and space between us is, well, just time and space, and nothing more. After all, you once messaged me to view our time apart as a chance to see, experience and appreciate what the universe has to offer, for it'll make our reunion all the more meaningful when we supplement it with our own unique, fantastical tales of universal goodness.

In messaging me that, I've realized you're right: The universe is beautiful. It's beautiful because we both happen to exist at the same time in the same universe. It's beautiful because we're lucky enough to have found each other within that sliver of time during which we're here in this world.

So Best Friend, before I conclude your birthday letter, I'd like to add to my wish of us reuniting, if I may:

I wish that while I can't physically be with you to commemorate the last of your glory days as a true teenager, you'll instead find it in your heart to celebrate the occasion with those around you.

I wish that as you continue along your own life path, you'll never feel lonely looking for yourself out there.

And finally, I wish that one day you'll be able to properly come home, if not to your family, then to me.

I hope you have a wonderful 19th birthday.

I love you to the end of the universe and back.

I'll see you soon, okay?

Love always,

Jess