When people ask me about how I became best friends with E and I, I always think back to one distinct memory. It was eighth grade, and the three of us were sitting in the brutal, chaotic jungle known as the middle school lunch room. E had gotten up to buy her lunch, and I had left shortly after to get a ketchup packet or some salt or something. And suddenly, I was alone. It was just a few seconds, maybe a minute, but I suddenly felt like I was adrift at sea, with the eyes of dozens of judgmental thirteen year old girls staring me down. After these moments of sheer terror, the kind that only the insecurity of pre-adolescence can bring, my people returned to our table and anchored me ashore. Sure, there were only three of us, we didn’t have the edgiest new flip-phones or the velour tracksuits that would have marked us as “cool”, but we had each other. In those 52 minutes of lunchtime, we forgot all about how we had made fools of ourselves in front of that cute guy from language arts class, or how our pre-orthodontic teeth seemed to poke out at all the wrong angles. E and I would share their wild daydreams, fantasizing about meeting famous singers in hotel elevators, and I would listen in awe, grateful that we had our dreams to distract us from our lunch room realities.
Today, seven years later, we still share our dreams. But now, we have these really amazing realities to share as well. Sure, we’re a little further away from each other now that we’re in college than when we were across from each other at that middle school lunch table, but we’re just as close in our hearts.
I consider myself the cautious one in our group. Whenever E and I are devising some wildly exciting plan, I’m the one who will stop them to ask, “But wait, are you sure we won’t get in trouble for this?” And as much as I love E and I for putting up with my apprehensive demeanor, I love them even more for pushing me out of my comfort zone. They’re the ones who encourage me to close both eyes (or maybe just one) and jump. I tell them my deepest thoughts because- as we say- if we don’t tell each other, who are we really going to tell? I love that I can be raw and honest with these girls, because they help me reflect a joyful, genuine version of myself. If I have a problem, I know I can always count on E to look me straight in the eyes and give me her classic brand of practicality, and maybe a few cookies to go along with it. And I love that I can look to I to take me by the hand and tell me that everything will be ok, because one day we will all find our happily-ever-afters.
There’s something special about the friends who have seen you at your worst- your acne-ridden, hormonal, confused, awkward-as-heck, barefoot, worst. But we have also seen each other at our best. We’ve danced our hearts out at bat mitzvahs, giggled ourselves into a frenzy in attempts to flirt with cute guys, and spent hours eating chocolate chip cookies in the middle of the night.
No matter the distance or the time, I know I can count on my girls.
We are three peas in a pod, three silly goofs, and the three most lovable musketeers you’ll ever meet.