October 8th is my anniversary. Sort of. Not an anniversary of marriage or sobriety or anything else that people generally use to mark huge events. October 8th is the anniversary of my first day of fifth grade at Hanover Countryside Elementary School, where I was serendipitously placed in Mrs. Anderson’s class. The anniversary of the first time I met Melissa.
It turns out she was also a new kid in school, and in very little time, this weirdo in neon was best friends with that quiet girl with an inexhaustible supply of pastel sweaters. We spent our recesses sitting in the corner of the playground with our noses in vampire books that my mother disapproved of, ate way too many Milky Ways, and stayed up late drawing “tattoos” on each other with eyeshadow that we stole from her big sister.
She moved away in middle school, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t grow up together. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say that it often feels like our friendship is a quilt. Various times of our lives have had different colors, patterns, and shapes, but they fit together to make something beautiful, more spectacular than if the pieces hadn’t been connected to one another.
We talk about nothing and everything all the time. I trust her like family. We can be totally honest without fearing judgement and are protective of one another.
So it is in that context that I tell you that I am so happy to have celebrated when she married Matt tonight. Their relationship, as real and imperfect as can be expected, is something beautiful to see. To get to see my best friend happy while falling in love with someone who adores her as much as Matt does has been incredible. To be able to say that Matt is not just my friend’s husband but my friend as well is a privilege. To know that my (honorary) nieces and nephew are being raised by parents who set phenomenal examples for them is peaceful. To be loved by them – to be assured of their love and unwavering support – is humbling.
Matt is a relatively new addition to the quilt that is our friendship. He brings new stories, friends, and terrible jokes. He adds a balance and joy to her life that, in turn, makes me happy.
I wish everyone was lucky enough to have a Melissa and Matt. I hope you have that friend who reads your soul like a favorite book. I don’t know how managed to win that lottery, but l am so grateful that I did.