There’s a picture of us sitting on my dresser. You’re laughing, your head thrown back, hair flying wild in the wind. I’m standing next to you, my arm slung across your shoulder, smiling at the camera, an oversized pair of sunglasses hiding my entire face. In that picture, everything was easy. We didn’t have dreams pulling us in different directions. We didn’t have love telling us to stay, to go. We were rooted to the same town, the same school. We didn’t yet understand the luxury of lazy summer afternoons eating snacks and watching the sunset, our legs kicked up in lawn chairs. We didn’t know how hard it could be to be so far apart.
I haven’t told you this, but every time I look at that photo, my chest aches.
I miss how it used to be — when I could just walk across the living room and be at your bedroom door, when I could run across the street and sit on your porch, when you could pick me up across town to grab coffee, or we could easily meet up and spend all night walking around the mall, talking about boys.
I miss the nights we’d stay up way too late telling secrets, eating ice cream straight from the carton, watching some stupid Netflix show but talking through every good part and having to rewind it back.
Sometimes it feels like you’re half a world away from me.
And honestly, I’d do anything to have you here, right now, laughing at my stupid jokes, showing you the text messages from my crush, sipping beers on my front patio, watching the seagulls dance across the sunny sky.
There are miles between us. Airplane rides. Road trips. Hours on a bus. Gas and tickets and wheels on a highway keeping you from easily walking through my front door. There are commitments and schedules. There are work trips and family vacations and day-to-day obligations that remind us our lives are rooted in different places now.
And sometimes it breaks my heart that when you call me crying, I can only reassure you through the phone. That when I need your shoulder, all I can have is a voicemail. That when what we really need is a big best friend hug, we’ll have to settle for handwritten cards and long text messages that almost do the job.
I hate that we don’t live within walking distance, that we can’t so easily fall into one another’s arms. I hate that we live in different places and have to settle for a more distant kind of love.
I hate that I can’t see you every day, but no matter the miles and days and hours that separate us, you are never far from me.
You are on my mind when I take my first bite of pizza and think of how we used to get a large and shamelessly eat every bite. You’re on my mind when I run down the path by my house and remember how we used to be workout partners, sharing stories between each set. You’re on my mind when I’m drunk and wish you were sitting next to me, belting out ‘Sweet Caroline’ at the top of our lungs and laughing at the bubbly feeling in our chests. You’re on my mind when it thunderstorms, and I wish you were cuddling next to me like you used to, comforting me until I fell asleep.
You’re on my mind more than you know, and every time I think of you, I’m reminded how lucky I am.
You’re on my mind more than you know, and every time I think of you, I’m reminded how lucky I am. And how wonderful it is to have someone who, no matter the distance, no matter the time apart, no matter how far we are physically from one another, will never stop being my best friend.
I love you. And that means more than the miles between us. That means more than the months that have passed between the last time we hugged, or laughed, or cried in one another’s arms. That means more than how far or how long.
Because friendship is not dependent upon distance.
And even if I don’t see you every day, I promise that won’t change a thing.
Get your copy of Marisa Donnelly’s book, Somewhere on a Highway, here.