Lani and I met right when I moved to a new town in South Carolina. I was ten years old and she was in my Sunday school class at synagogue. After my first class was over, I found out that our moms had become friends downstairs while we were upstairs learning. Soon after, I went with my mom to their house and our friendship began. Almost nine years later, we are less like friends and more like sisters.
We think that the thing that really made our friendship last was that we never went to school together, so we only saw each other once a week. Through the grade school friendships that came and went, ours never faded. We were constants in each other's lives — at least until she moved away. Her dad got a job in Ohio our senior year of high school.
She finished out the year and went back and forth between home and her new home all summer. I was so scared about what this meant for us. I thought this eight-year friendship had taken its last breath. She was living in Ohio and going to college in Washington D.C., and I was living in South Carolina and going to school in Alabama. No way we could keep that going. But we kept texting, and FaceTiming, and most importantly, we kept missing each other. We went ten months without seeing one another. The fact that we stayed close is honestly a miracle.
Since we weren't in each other's lives at all we had so much to talk about. We laughed about how her roommate had the exact same first and middle name as I do, and that she hangs out with my sister a lot since she also lives in Washington. We would reminisce about how cringy we used to be making little movies on her old laptop, and that we had no clue how lucky we were to be able to see each other whenever we wanted.
At the end of the school year, we promised each other that we had to meet up one way or another over the summer. We were rather reckless and bought plane tickets to San Francisco with pretty minimal planning. I felt my body bursting with excitement. I would say things to my friends like "Hey only 42 days until San Francisco," to which they usually didn't reply since they weren't the ones going and they really didn't care. But really, who could blame them; I was being very obnoxious.
42 days later finally came, and I speed-walked off my plane at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to find Lani at my gate. We hugged, then immediately said, "Ew, we never hug." I didn't care though. I was happy to be with my best friend and felt such pride in the fact that we made it through ten months of separation and we could pick up right where we left off.
The trip was amazing, and I wanted to cry when it was over (partially because I was sad to leave Lani, and partially because I was taking a red-eye flight that took off at midnight and I was exhausted). We parted ways, fully knowing that it might be another ten months - or maybe longer - before we could see each other again. But this time, I wasn't so worried about us. I know we'll always end up in each other's weddings and at each other's children's weddings one day.
*Side note: In case you are worried about the length of our separation, don't be! We have plans to see each other in September.