In high school I had a lot of friends. We would hang out in large groups, go from house to house on weekends and generally have a good time.
Gradually my friend group got smaller and eventually I was left with a small number of loyal, good-hearted people. Near the end of my senior year, I had fully accepted that I had few true friends, and it scared me to think about the kinds of people I’d meet once I moved away to college. Being an extrovert meant that I knew how to make friends; it was keeping them that was the problem.
Fun fact about me: I love playing cards. I collect them in fact. I remember taking a deck of cards and heading to the common area of my dorm to try and find people to play with. And that’s how I met Josh. He was playing some other game with a group of people and when I asked if they wanted to play, he said something along the lines of, “We were looking for someone with a deck of cards.” Over the year that I lived in that building, Josh and I grew closer, to the point where we were spending the majority of our free time together along with the small group we had formed. We regularly played pool, watched movies, and made a lot of late night food runs, the type of thing that friends do.
I don’t remember exactly how Ethan and I met. The building we lived in was small, only 3 floors with one common area. It was hard to not know everyone who lived there. Although the specifics are fuzzy, I know that Ethan and I bonded over music. We had vastly different tastes, but a mutual respect for the other. Conversations jumped from music to venting about anything and everything under the sun. I can recall many days just sitting and chatting with no care in the world. We also shared a love of cheesecake and would often take late night drives for drive-thru cheesecake while blasting music through his speakers.
Ethan, Josh and I formed a little trio often joined by our other friends, but most often it was just us three doing whatever we felt like doing that particular day. They were incredibly supportive of me, and came to my dance performances whenever they could. At the end of freshman year when they told me neither of them would be returning next school year, I was nothing short of heartbroken. What was I going to do without my two best friends?
The three of us kept in touch, but the distance made it difficult to make visits happen. However, I mentioned to them that I had a performance coming up in a few weeks, and they both took note of the date and made plans to drive up to see me. No words can describe my happiness when I saw my friends for the first time in almost a year. We spent the entire day together, and at night they watched my performance. They were excited and supportive, asking me questions and complimenting me. We went to dinner and had a great time, like we always did, but I couldn’t help but feel sad that they’d be leaving the next day. The next morning, we went to breakfast and said our goodbyes, making promises to visit as soon as possible.
After years of fallouts with fake friends, I have learned to treasure my relationships with my real friends. I am blessed to have the friends I have, friends that would drive several hours to watch me perform for just a few minutes. I know not to take them for granted, and I hope they know how grateful I am for them.