Writing this letter to you today feels very natural, maybe because it is one of many, many letters that have passed between us over the years. Not as many now as those first few years we were friends, with the instant communication of Facebook and the occasional email or blog comment.
I'll never forget the summer we met - the summer before 10th grade for me, 9th grade for you - at a week-long writing workshop in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where we were randomly assigned to be roommates with three other girls. That week was memorable for a lot of reasons - that's when I started to drink coffee, for example - but mostly because you and I had an instant connection. Even though we lived thirty miles apart and went to different high schools, I knew we would be friends for life.
We wrote letters and sent cards, we gabbed on the phone for hours (I believe those conversations were the reason my parents finally got call waiting), we had sleepovers. We talked about writing and faith and boys. We loved (and hated) the same music. We took mini-vacations together. We went to more writing workshops. We read each other's short stories and poetry. We celebrated the good times together and we helped each other through some really shitty stuff.
As Johnny Rotten would say, isn't that what friends are for?
And then, as sometimes happens to the best of friends, we grew apart.
Thankfully (I think), my memory is not what it once was. I can only remember snippets of why our friendship dissolved.
But I do remember how you came back into my life a few years ago, Kate, the day that you commented on a post on my blog, how you said you'd been following it for some time.
Whatever had come between us melted away.
Our lives have certainly changed since that first writing workshop. We've grown up. You moved to a different state. We have careers and families and memories that don't include each other. But our connection, once again, was instant. We have fallen into step, fallen into a new friendship that feels as true as our first one.
We still love sharing music and talking about books.
We still love reading what the other is writing. Blog posts. Rants about co-workers. Novels that will one day be published.
Kate, you're still my biggest fan, and for that, I can't thank you enough. You supported me and cheered me on when I was scribbling down short stories in notebooks with bright markers and you're still supporting me today.
For that, and for your friendship over the years, I can't thank you enough.
I love you, my friend. And I made you a mix tape:
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