On April 4, 2017, at 11:37 p.m. EST, my best friend and I lost our 15 day snapstreak.
My best friend and I first met at 11 and 12 year old respectively, and I knew I never wanted to cross paths with her again after we had an awkward, embarrassing in the kind of I-want-to-melt-into-the-floor-right-now moment with ramen noodles. Unfortunately, my mom had other plans. Despite the fact we live over 30 minutes away, only see each other once every couple of months and naturally became best friends over time because I became close with her older sister first, Nabila and I fostered a bond through years of Starbucks frappes, puberty pains and gains, bittersweet memories and inside desi jokes at parties.
Just to be clear, Nabila and I are not exclusively best friends. I don't mope around when we miss our scheduled meet up on campus in between college classes, but I do scour the interwebs and at least six different department stores on a biyearly basis, mulling over which brand name handbag and pair of sunglasses to gift her with on her wedding day. Sometimes I feel like we skipped over the line of friendship entirely and just bowled our way into the best non-related cousin-you-barely-see-but-love-to-bits-and-pieces lane. We don't even share the same hobbies for the most part, yet this is exactly why it works.
No matter what the other is currently obsessed with or wants to do, we will always give in to each other, supportively (and a little bit judgmentally) coming along for the ride. I can whine and complain all I want about how much a certain film sucks or why I don't want to try baking my undereyes, but at the end of the day, I'll still be nestled in her fuzzy throw blanket at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night sleepover, watching said movie while getting my undereyes baked (which yes, did make me look like a ghost, but it also did work so fine, I admit it, you were right). We may appear and function like a noncommittal best friendship, but we're always there for each other during the ups and downs, creating the moments we have together instead of letting fate, destiny, chance or whatever play it out.
That's why when we managed to hold a five day snapstreak last year, I was surprisingly pleased by our unexpected accomplishment. But I didn't think much of it — not even when we managed a 10 day snapstreak during the last few months of 2016, because Nabila and I, we've just never dedicated ourselves to each other like that. Things changed when she went on vacation to her motherland for a couple of weeks. Maybe it was the total time change or maybe it was the freedom she had with her time, but somehow, we maintained a strong 15 day streak — one I had begun to invest my time, effort and hope in for perhaps a 30 day goal at least.
Every snap was a thought she had in the moment — a new snack she was addicted to, angled pics of the netting around the bedspread, stores she visited, people she coerced into taking selfies with her and 2:30 a.m. EST snap of "I miss you, too," [crying emjoi]. Around day 10, we noticed the streak and sent mutual "Snap streak ayyy" snaps to one another. I halved my response time, sending pics of my carpeting as background and typing short hashtag texts about the latest political events going on at home. She sent back snaps of her horrified expression, declaring she was going to move to Canada for good. I sent a thumbs up, "good plan," and shot her a snap of the percentage of taxes American citizens relocating to Canada must pay. That's put a hold on our Canada plan... for now.
Then after day 15, I woke up to a missing streak icon next to her name. It must be a mistake, I thought. There's no way. I had responded twice yesterday, during the day and night in case Snapchat updated our snap records differently based on the conflicting time zones. Had she responded? Maybe she opened it and forgot to respond. My Snapchat didn't work properly after that. I received snaps, but couldn't open them despite cleaning my junk files and deleting 23 photos. The stories wouldn't even show anymore, and a weekend trip to the lake never made it on my Snapchat story despite my x-finity Wi-Fi, data use and reuploads. It was no use, I couldn't get in touch with her. I could text her, but it just wouldn't be the same. So I waited. I waited for my phone to go back to normal, for us to brush off this loss and have another go at maintaining a snapstreak.
But after three days of on-and-off snap activity, I deleted the app.
The following hours felt like a dream, standing in the shower with rainy mood on a 10 hour loop on my phone, the scent of rain-scented candles mixing with the spray of hot water fogging up the mirror, perspiration sliding down the tiles, tears leaking from the corners of my eyes. Thoughts swirled around in my head and drained into the pit of my stomach. Did she snap anyone else that day? Was that you-share-a-best-friend emoji there all that time for that very reason? Should I have seen this coming? I mean, who did we think we were... that we could grow beyond this noncommittal best friendship stage into something more serious.
How could we, when in the midst of that, all we had come to care about was the snapstreak? Had the nonsensical back-and-forth snaps been more work than play? More about holding a score than maintaining a friendship?
Our friendship has never been a frenzy of social media exchange, flaring like a fire and then going out when the match burns through. Rather, it's like the tug and pull of waves, flowing back to the ocean after a brief solitary moment on land. And I've started to think, I'm okay with that. It's okay that we aren't attached by the hip or super in-sync. It's okay that we can go days without texting eachother, and it's okay we can't maintain more than 15 day snapstreak. It's okay that we have to make time and space in our lives to keep each other there, because at the end of the day, whether she calls me up or I leave a voice recording or we meet up in person, what matters is that she and I are there — rooting for one another even when we can't always be physically or virtually there to do it.
And that is how our best friendship pulsates, in between that breath of space it takes for the waves to crash onto the shore and sweep across land back to the sea.
Disclaimer: This is meant to be dramatic and satirical.