I’m going to open this letter by being totally honest with you guys. I had no intention to write about you. So much has been going on since band camp in our freshman year of high school – so much has happened since high school, in general. I’m in a sorority now, with handfuls of sisters along with the younger brother you’re so used to seeing. I’ve declared my major now, with visions of my future that I haven’t been able to fully discuss with you yet. I’m a Bulldog now. And, perhaps the hardest thing to admit to you guys, I have a friend group here now. And not just any friend group – girls that I would do anything for and who are coming to visit me over the summer and who I hope to have in my life forever.
Here’s the truth. The horrible, sad truth that I should have seen coming a long time ago. People change. Things change. I’ve changed, and I’ve grown, and you guys haven’t been here to watch me and help me through that. Other people have. It was naïve of me to assume that no matter what, through insane distances, we would always stay as tight-knit as we once were.
I’m sure you guys have new friends that you would die for, as well. I’m sure they tell just the right jokes to make you laugh until your sides ache. I’m sure they answer your excited calls in the middle of the night, and I’m sure they’ll hear all your juicy bits of gossip before I hear about them much later.
But you know what? Even though I wasn’t planning to write about you, here we are. I was plugging in my computer, and it was taking forever to unlock, leaving me staring, frustrated, at my screensaver for a good five minutes. My screensaver is a photo of us, in matching blue prom dresses and laughing with our arms around each other, not paying any attention to the camera. You can see the corsages we bought for each other, half as a joke and half because we were, are, that special to each other. You guys are still my computer background, even though my desk is now cultured with photos of this past year and memories of inside jokes that you’ll never understand.
Here’s what you guys have that my college friends don’t, though. You’ve been by my side for some of the wildest, fantastic years of my life. I’d never replace that. Even though everyone says college is the best four years of your life, high school for me will probably be a close second, just because you all were there. Even those of you who came into my life a little later, because you’re younger than me and still in high school now, or a little earlier, back from awkward middle school days, I love you. You all already know that I’m a very sentimental and emotional person, so hang tight here. I love you guys so much, and even though I don’t see you every single day, you’re here with me. You’ve influenced me and shaped me in so many ways that parts of who I am now belong to you. It’s our crazy stories I share with my new friends, and they’re the ones who want to meet you, the people I care so much for.
My new friends, though I love them to bits, will never understand what we’ve been through. They’ll never know what it was like to sleep on top of each other during 18 hour bus rides. They’ll never know what biking for 26 miles while hearing our bikes creak with use felt like (which, by the way, we need to do again). They never got to experience climbing trees with my dad in groggy August heat or hosting a seasonal fashion show in 7th grade Spanish. They still don’t know that if you run long nails down my back, I’ll start to fall asleep, or that the sweetest moments in life come from breakfast crepes on dates before school that are too big for me to eat. They’ll never experience recreating cringe-worthy Harry Potter videos at fourteen years old, or me leaving our teacher your psych book for him to give to you next period, because we share everything with each other – blankets and coffee and secrets and kisses. They’ll never know what it’s like to cramp your leg while performing bad renditions of High School Musical dances, and they’ll never know what it’s like to ditch gym almost twenty times in a single semester (but oh, they’ve heard stories). Instead, it’s you guys who let me copy your Spanish homework, who cheered with me after finding out it’s fried chicken night at band camp, and it was you guys who held me and wiped my tears as I cried about something unimportant. It’s you guys who watched me jump into a rooftop pool at midnight in December (and it was your clothes I piled on myself afterwards), and who danced badly with me during homecomings we laughed at afterwards. It’s you guys who once tried to pay a cashier with a drill sheet, who accidentally flashed a student teacher, and who made me be the ‘distraction rouge’ in every Renaissance Faire roleplay game.
We’re timeless, you know. You all have been with me through everything, even when you can’t physically be here for my accomplishments and my defeats and I can’t me there for yours. I picture you guys, and I see gold and red and sweaty hands holding onto sticky instruments in late summer heat. I taste bubble tea and Oberwies ice cream. Even though some of our most iconic memories with have involved falling on ice and New Years Eve, you all are my summertime girls, reminding me of warmth and happiness and always giving me something to go home to.
You all are smart, beautiful, and deserving of the world. I’m sorry I’m not there to experience it with you, but know that I’m only a phone call or a group chat joke away. I know you’ll make it through college with countless friends who will treat you like royalty, and with more maturity and grace then our dorky high school selves could ever hope to be. I can’t wait to watch you grow and become the intelligent scientists and engineers you’re destined to be, and the talented authors and artists the universe needs. I’m going to continue to be there for you every single step of the way.
Sorry for all the emotion – but, you really should have seen this coming. My friends in college are also incredible people who I am thrilled to be spending so much time with, and who I hope to keep close to me forever and ever, but I want to remind you guys that they aren’t you, no matter amazing they may seem (though trust me, they’re very amazing). You are completely different people, but close to me all the same. My girls, my summertime, wonderful ladies, I love you with every bone in my body. There’s less than a month left of school, and even though I’ll love every day here, I can’t wait to run home into your open arms and spend and incredible summer together. I can’t wait to drive around in someone’s mom’s car and keep having more adventures and making more memories. We can plan more insane vacations, building our dream lives together after college (and after high school, for some of you). In every version of my future, I see you guys in it, and I’m confident that will never change.
Your gal, always and forever,