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Twenty Years On

“Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer.” Oscar Wilde

Twenty years is a long time. It’s time enough to live a full chapter of life: to start a career and end it, to raise a child, to get fed up completely with society and move to the countryside and cultivate a witchy reputation that is at once feared and admired. Twenty years is long enough to get to know yourself, drift apart, and come together again like any tragic love story. Twenty years is long enough to fall in love with your best friend a little bit more every day until the two of you are more easily recognized as a pair than as individuals. It is an endless blessing in my life to count Harriet as my best friend.

Some school mornings, when my mom went to work early, she’d drive all the way to East Hill to drop me off at Harriet’s. The door was usually unlocked. I’d tiptoe through their dark kitchen, always careful to step on the white checkered tiles instead of the black, and push through squeaking French doors that led back to Harriet’s room.

I remember her room best this way: morning light fighting through her maroon curtains, staining the floor a soft pink. In those early days, she had a tree bed with gauzy netting. I’d take off my backpack, kick off my shoes, and get under the comforter until it was time for breakfast and go off to school. Funny how memory works, how she remembers portions of our childhood that I cannot access and vice versa.

No one on this earth has seen me cry or laugh or be angry the way Harriet has. There are many Marco Polo videos of me sobbing that I hope never get to see the light of day. Sometimes, the best thing for your best friend to do is witness you. That’s it. Sit there, watch, listen, and accept all without judgment. The best friend is witness to your life, and, in turn, you witness them, see them change and grow and struggle and triumph. If done with the right amount of care and attention, it is one of life’s best experiences.

After all this time, Harriet is my sister. It feels like we are twins, two halves of a whole. How happy I am to wander through life with her at my side, never alone and always seen.


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