When I was a freshman in high school, my best friend and I got in a fight. I can’t remember what it was over … probably a boy or a white lie or a forgotten invitation to a sleep over … the world’s most pivotal issues. It seems amusing now, even more so that I my mind can’t even be bothered to keep note of what we were arguing over. But at the time, that fight caused my world to come crashing down around me. Because at 14, what is more important in your world than your best friend?
Mac and I didn’t speak for a week. Seven whole days and part of an eighth. It might as well have been forever.
I barely ate, I picked fights with all of my other friends, I didn’t bother watching my favorite MTV shows because there was no one to call and discuss them with. I didn’t dare log on to AOL Instant Messenger … what if she was online? Would I talk to her? Would she talk to me? I couldn’t take the risk.
Then, when I was almost going crazy, Mac walked right up to me in the main hallway of our high school and said, “I love you. I miss you. I forgive you.”
And that was that. All was fixed, mended, patched back up. We barely spoke of our fight again. We’ve had arguments since that awful week in high school, but we’ve never gone more than a day without talking since.
That’s why getting on a plane exactly a month ago today and leaving my best friend an ocean away from home, was so hard. What made it harder: we were fighting. We were speaking to each other, but it was strained. And this time, I remembered what it was about.
When she dropped me off at the train station that morning, Mac looked up at the sky, still stained with the colors of sunrise and said, “Just one more thing before you go. Promise me that this will all work out. Promise me I’ll be okay here.
“If you can’t promise, I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I can let you leave without me.”
I hugged my best friend close to me and then released her, thrusting my outstretched pinky finger in her face. We didn’t say anything. But in that moment, our pinky fingers wound together in an elementary promise and we were both safe, even if it was just for a moment. Her fears and doubts were temporarily quieted and mine were promised into submission by a pinky swear.
There are times when you can choose to be pessimistic and think all of this will end in disaster. There are times when you can choose to be realistic and refuse to ignore the signs in front of you – bright, neon, flashing signs. But there are some times when you can just choose to be happy, or happy for someone else. Right now. In this moment. Forget the future. That morning, under the purple smudge-like clouds hanging like bruises in the sky, I chose to be happy for Mac.
A week after I landed back on American soil, I got a letter in the mail from my best friend. Inside the envelope was a single Post-It note with three sentences: I love you. I miss you. I forgive you.
And just like all those years ago, all was fixed, mended, patched back up.
It’s 6:30 in Kentucky and I’m sitting in my agriculture law night class when my phone buzzes. B, Goodnight from England.
I get the same message every evening around this time. And every morning when I wake up, even though it’s late afternoon for my best friend, I send a similar message: Mac, Good morning from the States.
In 10 years, we haven’t gone a day without talking. Oceans and time differences don’t change that.