It was 2002. I had chunky blonde highlights in my hair and was wearing a choker, flare jeansÂ and more than likely some sort of trucker hat. I looked like Britney Spears…or maybe Brit Brit looked like me.
I remember sitting on my balcony of my apartment. The balcony was exposed to the staircase, so everyone coming up and down was able to come and say hello. I have a severe fear of small talk, so this made me incredibly nervous and uncomfortable. I was sipping on a diet coke (probably) when one of my friends called over this girl named Christina. She was stylish and had long, brown hair. She smiled like she knew me. “Who the heck is this?” I thought.
I was introduced to her as, “Leah from Detroit,” and she immediately started to scream. When I say scream, I mean scream. When somebody screams like that in Detroit, one of two things has happened: 1) They’re at Kroger and Eminem has just walked in or 2) They’re getting shot. I didn’t see Slim Shady, so I assumed that somebody had a gun.
Christina was from Chicago, and she was really excited to meet someone who “wasn’t southern.” This isn’t a knock on southern people, but I guess in a way it kind of us. Us midwesterners are just really proud of being northern and all around pretty rude.
I remember that moment in such detail because that was the moment that I met my best friend. We casually said hello in passing for a semester, and then in December 0f 2002, went (snuck out) to this late night concert together to see this guy she thought was cute. Looking back, he wasn’t that cute. I think he had frosted tips. We made poor decisions back then. At that concert, we decided to become roommates. From that moment on, we were inseparable.
Last year, Christina and I got to take a road trip together through New Mexico. I learned some new things about her that I never knew, like the fact that she is apparently terrified of any sort of tram that takes you up to a mountain and also that she has some really good dance moves that I never knew existed. Not like I didn’t know that the dance moves existed for her, but more like I didn’t know that they existed…at all…
We laid in bed that night, in an Albuquerque hotel, and got to talk like we used to talk. She started to cry as she talked about what my friendship meant to her. We were very, very tired and slap happy, so I actually started to laugh at her at this point, as I can be incredibly insensitive at times. But honestly, what I was really thinking was, “I will never forget this moment.”
What I meant to her? My god. What about what she means to me?Â
There have been nights that she has called me, simply to cry on the phone with me, sometimes crying more than me in my moments of heartbreak. When I found out I had to have neck surgery, she called me at 3am to pray for me. She sobbed, simply because I was sobbing. She has carried my burdens with me, never giving a second thought to herself or how this disruption in her life might affect her. She is the kindest, most giving, most encouraging, most beautiful, most everything.
There were SO MANY moments that she could have walked away from our friendship. I haven’t always been a good friend, or really a good person. But she didn’t. There were moments in my life where she was the only person showing me who Jesus was. She loved me when I was unlovable. She trusted me when I wasn’t trustworthy. She continuously gave me chances to change and showed me how, simply by loving me exactly as I was in that moment. And somehow I am the one who has blessed her? Puhhlease.
If you know Christina, you know how annointed she is. You know how full of love she is. You know how emotionally, spiritually, and mentally generous she is. She is the first person to encourage, first person to defend, and first person to think the best about somebody. She honors people with the way that she lives her life. She honors her friends. She honors her kids. She honors her husband. And she honors God.
Christina is a mom now and the only sneaking out we do is running to Walmart to buy a candy bar, which really has the sameÂ euphoric feelings as meeting a cute boy. Our lives are drastically different than they were 14 years ago (my god, has it been that long?), but she is still Christina. She is still Jesus to me when I feel lonely and distant. She still magically calls me when I need someone to talk to. She still loves me as if I wasn’t biatchy and opinionated and generally sort of tough to deal with. She is still goofy and still full of life and still one of the most beautiful woman that I have and will ever know.
The beautiful thing about Christina is that she doesn’t change…but in a good way. In her progression, she maintains her identity. That’s so rare and so captivating. But then again, she’s so rare and so captivating.
And that’s why we’ll be best friends. Forever.
Happy birthday, Christina. I love you more than I love brownies and puppies and men with beards.