“Our younger selves would be so proud of who we’ve become,” she said to me smiling. We hadn’t said a word to each other for almost a year and here we were, sitting on a boulder at the beach looking down at tide pools as we laughed and shared stories missed out on from the past year.
We had stopped being friends abruptly one summer when we realized the toxicity of our friendship was suffocating us. Before the end though, we were closer than sisters- if that’s even possible. We shared so many of our firsts together, a never-ending list of the kind of wild memories one day we’ll warn our kids of.
Our first time sneaking out and barely making it home by sunrise, tip toeing up my stairs as the backdoor creaked so loud I thought we were done for. The time we flirted with a band we met at a music festival, saying we were eighteen to get their numbers when really we were just two sixteen year old girls trying to live out their groupie dreams.
Memories of summer nights when random boys would pick us up to go for rides around town, us hoping they had a sunroof so we could stick our heads out when we went over the only bridge on the island, the lights of the mainland in the distance making us feel like we were in the city. The first time I packed my bags and left home when it was all too much and hitchhiked to her doorstep, her arms open and ready for me to cry it all out.
Over time though, we found ourselves growing apart. We had been going through major things together for so long, supporting each other became impossible. Two shoulders to cry were needed, and our lives falling apart was too much for our own broken shoulders to support. The leaves of our friendship were wilting away so we uprooted ourselves. It was hard at first, pretending the best part of our teenage-hood didn’t happen to forget memories that we once shared. In the end though, we bloomed. Our vines finding their way back to each other greener than ever.
The sun was setting between the clouds and the warmth given by the November sun slipped away, our sweatshirts not enough to keep us warm. But we didn’t mind. We sat there, rosy cheeked, downing a whole bag of sunflower seeds while spilling out the past years worth of life events in the span of just a few hours.
She had fallen in love. I had fallen in love with love. Something our younger selves would have never believed. Love and heartbreak had wounded us both, whether it was stupid boys we were hung up over or difficulties in the relationships with family. Love wasn’t in our vocabulary, and we didn’t feel deserving. Over time, we shed the need for external validation. We recognized our values were in all the wrong places, absorbed in the wrong things. Materialism, the hunt for approval and acceptance, our naivety blinding us.
We talked for hours of our growth, how we oddly found comfort in the fear of the future, and how we both have chosen to follow paths that go against every feeling of security. Art school to pursue hidden passions, relief work in foreign countries, traveling the world with only enough to get us to the next place, all dreams we hope come true. She leaves to see the world for a few months before we graduate, and I'm not afraid we will once again grow apart, because after all, we grow together. And when I see her again, we will be on this very rock, our dreams just as big, our hearts just as full, eating sunflower seeds and watching the tide come in.