This picture was taken in June 2016. I’m so excited about this one.
It was a Tuesday. Or maybe it was a Wednesday. I was texting my friend, Jessica, about how she was visiting her family in southern Utah. She was saying something about wanting Cafe Rio, because there isn’t a Cafe Rio where she lives back East. I suggested I come down to where she was on Friday and we could get Cafe Rio together on Saturday. She said something along the lines of, “Wait. Seriously? Yes! Do that!” After about 5 minutes of thinking about it, I decided to drive down immediately after work on Friday afternoon. I was so excited to see her; we hadn’t seen each other since she had gotten married, about two years prior.
Friday came and I could barely contain my excitement. She could barely contain her excitement. We were both so excited to see each other and the fact I was going on such a spontaneous road trip was exciting in and of itself.
After a weirdly long road trip, I finally got the town where she was. The next day we got our Cafe Rio, and went on a drive around the town and up the canyon. We stopped at Cedar Breaks, which is a great lookout on the ravine below. It was so beautiful and FREEZING COLD. Neither of us were anticipating how cold it was going to be that weekend. The wind was blowing (which you can see in my hair), which made it really cold. But that didn’t matter. We were together again, the besties. I was just so happy to be spending time with her. We stayed up late talking, we drove through McDonald’s for Diet Coke and french fries, it was like we weren’t ever apart–we just picked up where we left off.
Now, you might be wondering where we met and how we came to be besties. Well, don’t you worry, I will share exactly what happened.
I don’t know how many times I’ve told this story, but it never really gets old.
It was the very first weekend of college, August 2010. It was a Sunday. I was walking down to the institute building for church. None of my suitemates were members of the church, so I was flying solo down to church. I walked up to the corner to cross the street to go down the hill to the institute, and ran into two girls. I asked them what ward they were going to. They replied they were going to the same ward I was going to! I was very happy to meet some new fellow “wardies”. I immediately asked them if I could sit with them, because I just didn’t want to sit by myself. One of the girls was Jessica.
The rest is pretty much history.
I could honestly write a million words, really, about how much we’ve done together, how much we’ve helped each other (mostly her helping me, let’s be honest), and how much I truly do love her so much.
When I started college, I thought the notion of “the friends you meet in college will be your friends for life” was a little silly. I hoped, but didn’t think it would actually happen to me. I was so wrong.
There have been countless times that Jessica has been there for me when it felt like no one else was. There have been times when I know that I was instrumental in keeping her sane.
When we were freshmen in college, neither of us had a car. We would always call on each other to go run errands. Always take a buddy, was our philosophy, and it worked. For some reason, we always ended up running errands and going on other adventures on Thursdays. It became something we looked forward to every single week. We called it, originally, “Adventure Thursdays”. Even when we didn’t plan on an outing, we always ended up out on a Thursday. It was always pretty funny. But so much fun.
We became friends so quickly that I don’t really remember any college without her by my side. Probably because there wasn’t any of my college without Jess somewhere either next to me, or somewhere in the wings, cheering me on.
One of my favorite memories of how quickly we were friends was when we were freshmen. There was a weekly (or maybe it was more often than that…I don’t remember now) activity in Jessica’s dorm building. I was one of the people in charge of this activity. One night, before the activity started, I was talking to the boy who was also in charge of the activity. Jess walked in with a red vine each hand. She was eating one, and with the other, she marched right up to me, handed it to me without a word, and then walked away to join someone else’s conversation. The boy I was talking to was so confused about the transaction that just took place. I didn’t even ask her to bring me a red vine, she just did.
As we left college and moved into the next phases of our lives, Jess got married, moved, and had a baby. I was so happy for her, but also devastated that my best friend was now my long-distance best friend. I admit, at first I was completely petrified that this meant that we were probably going to fade out as friends and I just wouldn’t ever talk to her again after a while. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted that to anyone else. But it was so paralyzing to me. I’m very happy to report that hasn’t happened. She is still there for me to listen to whatever is going on, to cry with me when something goes wrong, and to be angry alongside me when something stupid happens. And the same goes for her. Her problems are a little different than mine now, sure, but that doesn’t make them any less valid or give me any less excuse to listen to them. I love listening to her, love letting her share her life with me, and am equally willing to share my life with her. Even though we are now years older, and in completely different stages in life from not only each other, but also from those two girls who met on the way to church, we still have so much in common and have so much to talk about. I’m always so proud of her and what she is doing, and that will never change.
So, to my best friend, I say, I love you, Jessica. I always will. Let’s go for a drive again, really soon.