What can I say to you that I haven’t already said countless times before? How about this: next year will be the sixth year of my wacky friendship with you. Essentially, then, as is the case with only a handful of others, we’ve known each other throughout almost the entirety of our lives in college.
At the same time, this is only a simple fact about the camaraderie that we share; something to be noted, but nothing too extraordinary. And knowing your ever sarcastic self, you might joke that neither of us really had that much of a choice in the matter anyhow. After all, early on in our chapter at Pasadena we became friends with a number of the same people, and through them and every gathering they garnered, you might say our running into one another was sort of inevitable. Maybe there’s a degree of truth to that, even if said jokingly. Yet at the same time, we both know that’s not actually the only reason we’ve been friends for so long.
Here a memory comes to mind: Not long after our first encounter over nachos, we found ourselves in a car ride on the way to UCLA, maybe for another party? If I remember correctly: it was you, me, Danielle, Jordan, and maybe Stephen and Ali. I don’t know, someone was driving, but it was neither of us. Instead, you and I were seated next to each other in the back. (Hell yeah!) And it was a freaking blast.
The thing is, while I didn’t have nachos on that second adventure to Westwood like I did the first night we hung out, what I did have were the jokes. Even better than that though, is that you had jokes too. And well, at nineteen years old, you know that I figured there were hardly any better ways to laugh than to joke about our yearning desires for one another. At this point I can hear your voice again, saying something like: “tsch, you mean your yearning desires. Weirdo.” To that I can only smile, because that’s where the magic lies; since almost the very moment we met, we’ve spoken in a verse rich with playfulness, confidence, and a fiery wit.
And I’d say, almost immediately, we just got one another because of this. We understood that each of us enjoyed playing with words, that each of us valued our sense of who we were and are, and that as a result we could actually have fun around one another and those around us in a duel. To say this is unique would only scratch at the surface of how much it actually means to me.
When I first met you, I didn’t know that you would change my life so dramatically, but somehow, I did know that something was changed for me indefinitely. The thing is, our joking was only the start of something that would evolve into a serious alteration of the road I knew up until that point in my life, which in hindsight makes sitting next to you on the road to Westwood that night about going somewhere much farther together, even if neither of us could predict just quite where at the time.
It would become years of late night conversations, spontaneous meals together, traveling together, and not only more joking in our little ‘verse’, but more debates, adventures, and a myriad of other moments too. These things all happened so naturally that even today, our friendship is as fresh as it was nearly six years ago out on the town.
And again, this isn’t something that I haven’t already said to you in one form or another. But here’s something which might be kind of new after all. Do you remember that night about almost two years ago, when I first got to Davis and you drove me home after the first time you introduced me to Nelly and Soums (in person)? You might remember that I was ecstatic about the whole encounter, and that in the midst of my excitement I said, filled with conviction as if to declare it to the world:
DANIELA, WE CAN FALL IN LOVE TOGETHER NOW.”
At the sound of this, you could hear my conviction, knowing that I wasn’t just joking somehow (as we had so often joked about for years by then), and you replied with curiosity:
“What?! How?! Why are you saying that?! What do you mean?”
I didn’t say it then, but I could hear that you weren’t totally dismissive of the idea. Even now I appreciate this.
Because here’s my reading of that moment. What I was saying that night was that being next to you over 400 miles from when and where we first met, and in a home far away from home at Davis after spontaneously meeting your friends in the midst of an otherwise average school night –what I was saying then– is that as you were taking me to my apartment that night, it dawned on me that somehow, in a fantastic way, our friendship demonstrated then that anything was possible. Anything.
Then lo and behold, how just over a year after that first night hanging out in Davis, the fantastic road would take us from being not just neighbors at Davis, but to sharing a home there together as roommates. It was an amazing home, filled by a mutual sense of hospitality, community, and love for our friends, family, and more.
But it wasn’t always a warm place, admittedly. The fact is that in our less spirited moments, our way with words also led us to war with words, in which we clashed fiercely, at times chillingly, and at other times, seemingly irreconcilably, pushing us to the utmost edge with one another as each of us turned our backs to the other only a moment away from completely abandoning any further length of friendship.
Instead of giving up on one another, however, like a pair of equals brought together by both the fortune of the world as well as its misfortune, and like two warriors dead set on anything but the loss of the friendship, even if it meant swallowing some of our pride. That is, like a true brother and sister, instead of losing each other we talked our way back to friendship, and all in the same verse that first brought us together at that: a humble, respectful, and ultimately loving language.
Every single time, this has led us right back to our joking, provoking, and the other habits we’ve developed around one another. For this, you know how I love to brag about how we’ve both indisputably become stronger individuals, not just on our own, but more importantly as a pair, together in struggle as well as in triumph.
In hindsight, then, like every day and night we shared ou verse in Westwood, and every day and night we shared it over the phone or our keyboards or Skype, and like every day and night we linked up as neighbors at Davis, and then when we’d share it as two people living together, through all our coming together in both the thin and thick of it, I can only believe with even more conviction than before that anything is in fact still possible!
A little over a year ago at Arlington Farms, I remember arriving to the apartment one time to find you in tears. It was one of those days where money was terribly tight, and where it seemed like there was no luck or hope for a bright girl like yourself, who had a lot to give if given the opportunity. It was tough to see this D, but rather than cheering you in counsel, I silently cheered you on in hopes that things would look up. Even then as you were crying, I trusted that it would all get better, because by that point I had long known how you would get over it by finding strength in the beauty of the world rather than being weighed down by its heaviness.
Fast forward a year later and you’re in uniform, working a full-time job, and coming home like a true warrior that refuses to be weighed down, choosing instead to continue living her life with love, laughter, and kindness. And while we didn’t FALL IN LOVE, I would say that we most definitely formed a new love in our heart to hearts, and in our impassioned bickering, and in coming together again at the end of it all to laugh in unity about every bit of it.
Because here’s another thing I’ve said before, but which you’ve also said: we are going to be in each others’ lives for a long time to come. So long, I believe, that it will make the past nearly six years only the foundation of a grand bedrock’s worth of friendship; unmoved by the times, built to last through wind, storm, fire, and any other change in the environment.
I am emphatically grateful for each and every moment that we’ve shared D. I look forward to many more, and wish you the best of what the world has to offer until I have the chance to do so myself. Of course, naturally, I know you’ll make the best out of it. You always have. But whenever you need me, as you’ve always been there for me when I’ve most needed your friendship, I’m only a moment away too my dear. Just a single moment. You’ve got not only my word for this, but the proven experience of it during through. All. This. Time.
Thank you, D, for your wicked loyalty and resilience.
WITH LOVE AS VAST AS THE SKIES THAT OVERSEE OUR DAILY JOURNEYS,
YOUR LOYAL FAN, FRIEND, AND ALLY,
Jimmy “JIMBO” Recinos