I remember watching Sisterhood of the Traveling pants for the first time and being in awe of the women in the movie. These four women had it made, not because of how talented, smart, and beautiful they were but simply because of the friendship they shared as a group. These women had a bond so strong that no matter where they were and no matter what was happening, that bond happened to transcend different body types to the point that they could all fit into these one pair of pants. I distinctly remember watching this movie and many other like it wishing that I had a best friend like that. One that I could share all my secrets with, laugh and goof off with but also someone whom I could trust would be there for me during the not so happy go lucky times in my life. I yearned for that as a kid.
I envied this kind of friendship as a ten year old however the various chick flicks weren’t the only place I witnessed this kind of friendship. I also experienced it by watching my mom. My mom has a best friend that means the world to her. Someone who shares the good and bad with her and someone who is there no matter what, however for my mom this person isn’t someone she loves like a sister because it is her sister. I saw how close my mom and her sister are and the bond they share and although I didn’t have a sister I thought well that bond is still possible but with a best friend. Sadly at the time when I was a ten year old and playing dress up while my little brother wanted to play with Pokémon cards, I didn’t have that kind of friend. So I wished for it, upon every birthday candle and even prayed for it ironically since I am not a religious person at all.
Then one I’m assuming sunny day, (because I lived in Florida at the time and 9 out of 10 times it was scorching hot), in middle school I met this one girl who at the time I thought was a little stuck up but nice enough. I would have no idea that twelve years later she would be my very best friend. This girl is, November Rain. (Now before you ask yes she was born in November on a rainy day but no that is not the reason she is named that. It is after the Guns N’ Roses song.) She was kind of quiet and had these bright rosy cheeks and as much as I want to say I remember exactly what we said to each other the first day we met, I don’t so I can’t add it here to be all cute…because that would be a lie and that’s not my style. All I remember is I didn’t think we would be friends. And in middle school we weren’t really. We knew each other and would exchange words here and there, had friends in common but not close friends with each other until high school.
You see the reason high school brought us together is because we were the outsiders. As some of you may know that when you are outsiders you tend to band with the other outsiders regardless of how little you have in common simply because there is no one else and Brené Brown says, we are programmed to need human connection. We would sit at lunch because we didn’t know who else to sit with. The rest of our school came from the sister middle school of our high school, the feeder school so you will, so most of the folks in our 300 person graduating class already knew each other and had since they were in diapers and on little league soccer teams. She and I were not much for little league, she was more of a writer and a theatre kid and I was too foreign to know what little league was when I was the right age group for it. Highschool is where she became my best friend. We would sit together during classes (if we had the same class and could pick seats) and walk to classes together. We did similar after school activities and it became a point of my mom to pick us both up after school and her mom would do the same on occasion. Eventually she would come to my house for one day sleep overs that would turn into the whole weekend of her and I sitting in the same room in silence both doing our own thing basking in the silence and not feeling the need to talk because it was uncomfortable. She was the closest thing I had to a best friend.
In high school I struggled to figure out who I was and what I wanted out of my own life let alone if I actually liked her enough as a friend. Sure we were inseparable in school and teachers would always ask where the other was if one of us walked into a class alone because that was abnormal to see; however, I did not feel close to her. Not really. Most of our friendship seemed very surface level, however I didn’t mind. She understood that I sometimes needed other friends outside of our friendship and was not bothered by that and I understood the fact that she thought people were stupid (which now I completely and wholeheartedly agree with). Don’t get me wrong, I had other friends, however these were friends from various cliques that came and went and I didn’t necessarily feel like I belonged to one particular group or another no matter how strong my sense of belonging was. I was the butterfly that floated from flower to flower except the flowers were friend groups or cliques rather. Yet November was the one constant. The one person that my family would ask about when they had not seen here in a while, whereas the rest of my friends they would have this blank look on their faces because they had no clue who they were. She was simply put my best friend.
Being in college and not constantly seeing her everyday to the point where keeping in touch became an effort is what really tested our friendship. Having that distance allowed me to explore things that November may have thought were dumb, such as sororities, and allowed me to fully make my own decision. Did I think sororities were dumb simply because November thought so and I was extremely influenced by her thoughts or was it because they actually were and that’s what I, Elsa, thought. And as much as I grew, as did she, we somehow still managed to remain the closest friends. Whenever anything great happened she was the first person I wanted to tell about and wished was there to experience it. When I wasn’t doing well she was also the first person I would call crying. She was there for it through it all.
As an adult looking back I realized that I am one of the women in the traveling pants because I do have that friendship. I have that one constant friend that has grown into family regardless of the liquid that runs through our veins simply because she earned that spot. We have grown together and her opinion that once I was scared of because I was worried would sway my own (again I did not know if I listened because it was her suggestion or what I wanted) I learned was to be trusted because ultimately she had my best interest at heart and would not be afraid to point out the things that I wanted but was too scared to admit even to myself. Now I live 2,444 miles, two plane rides, 8-10 hours of flights and three timezones behind her and she is still there for me. No matter where, no matter what.
For that I am thankful. I am thankful for my best friend and honestly I am extremely lucky to have someone who has been here through the thick and thin, not because she has to but because she chooses to. I cannot guarantee many things, but one of them is that with this life being hard enough, having a November Rain in your life makes life a little bit easier.