WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FIND A BEST FRIEND AT AGE 22

Pretty much at this point, and age in life, you’d think it’s pretty damn near impossible and you’ve given up hope. Kindergarten and primary school lives have long gone, and the chances of you becoming “instant friends” the moment he/she kicked you hard, under the table have dissipated. Secondary school times reminiscent of the drama that goes on in American high schools have also gone with – maybe you were the straggler that never really fit in with the crowd in your school (i.e. me), or maybe you were part of a girly clique that has ceased to exist. Or maybe they still do, but they will always be that group of “girlfriends” and never that sole, singular best friend. University came swiftly and went just as quick…and (let’s switch it over to me for a little while) I’d just about given up hope when I hit my very last semester in school.

But let me set the baseline first. I had a childhood bestie that I grew up with. We spent every single waking minute together playing pet shop and vet, going for abacus class in the clubhouse (did I mention that she lived in the block next to mine?) and then to swimming class. We spent hours taking turns to be the drowning damsel in distress and trying to tell Coconut Boy (that’s what we called this boy in class) that he couldn’t play with us. That’s right. Mean Girls totally stole their lines from our 8-year-old selves.

We were inseparable. She was either at my house or I was at hers. My little brother lost his hamster in her house and her helper found it in a Coke carton beside the fridge. When her hamster died we made a coffin for it out of a plastic takeout box for noodles, and lots of tissue paper as bedding. We laid him in it and said our final words and sent him down the rubbish chute. She cried and I patted her back. It was a sad day.

The thing is, she was that one person who I grew up with. And I remember in a long email sent to her in the years we drifted apart, that she’d said the same thing. No one will every quite replace me in her life, or her in my life as that person in her childhood. I grew up with her and she grew up with me. And now, while we’ve grown up and away from each other, there’ll always be that special place in our hearts. Best friends and childhood friends can be different, and the same.

I’ve never had a best friend. I’ve never had that best friend who shared everything with me both telepathically and not. I’ve never had that Chandler and Joey, Romy & Michele, Jessica & Cece or Liv & Emma in Bride Wars type of best friendshipness EVER in my life. And I’m not just talking about the closest friend you have that is comfortable coming over to your place, that one person you pour out your sorrows to, or that person who will always have your back.

I’m talking about that melodramatic, in a writer’s dreamland and in every romcom & chick flick director’s idealistic version of a best friend. The one that makes both your boyfriends and parents question your true sexuality. The one who will grab a shovel, no questions asked, if you showed up at her doorstep with a corpse. The one that you swear on your life you have telepathic connections with because of so many freaky incidents whereby when one falls sick, the other one goes down with something too. When one finds out about life-altering allergies, the other one finds out her fucking thyroid gland is missing. Both your lives are parallel and in sync, ups and downs together but in a variation of occurrences. You both are going to be like Rachel Brathen and her best friend, when one got hit by a truck on the wrong side of the road, the other collapsed miles away, and had to have her appendix taken out. You both will be so intertwined, strangers mistake you as twins even though you both look nothing alike and when God takes one away, it’s as if he literally had to rip the other apart as it happened.

That kind of best friend. That one in a million connection that lots of people wish they had, or think they have, but you both know it deep inside that they’re definition of it will be blown to smithereens once they know what you’re both capable of.

I’ve asked Japh a million times why other girls have had best friends and I’ve had none. I’ve had many great, close friends but not that…legendary best friend. He was such a sweetiepie and he said that he was in a way, my best friend. But I sobbed and said that he was my boyfriend¬†and that’s not counted LOL. Besides, he had a best friend too. So…was I that unlikable? Why was it so hard to find that one person? I was resolved to thinking that I was one of those people who’d live their lives with many great friends and a wonderful husband, but not a BFF attached at the hip.

Then I met Elvina. Or Elf, as I call her unless I’m talking about her to people who don’t know her. I swear you’re about to roll your eyes or call out bullshit the moment you read the next sentence, and many girls dream of this moment with guys but…THE MOMENT I FIRST LAID EYES ON HER, I KNEW INSTANTLY THAT WE WOULD BE BEST FRIENDS.

There. I said it. And as psychotic as it sounds, I was wondering how the hell I would get to talk to her because I knew once we started talking, we would never stop and we’d be really, really good friends from there on. And we talked in a class icebreaker where she asked what hair products I used because my hair was soft, and I told her I’d send her a picture of my hair conditioner. Dude….we played it so cool trying to be all aloof and still chatty but not too chatty lest we seem desperate for a really long time, before she asked me where I got my greens from and we went to Tekka market together and that was IT. I think it was a month later and she was driving us back home and we were passing Holland, and we were talking about this girl who used to copy my bios and usernames and adapt it to her own personal profile. Then she warned me and told me that I was probably going to think she was crazy but the moment she first saw me in my OTS shorts and hippie anklets and hoodie and messy hair, she knew we would be best friends. And then she proceeded to narrate out the exact same thoughts I had about thinking how to “hook her” in to become friends and God we are so psychotic but I hope you get the drift.

We spent approximately 10 minutes shrieking in the car once I told her my mirror reflection of her story and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We’d even gone home on that first day we saw each other to gush to our own boyfriends about each other unknowingly wtf. She was the first person I Skyped back home from America when I’d bought this pink hoodie (that she wears everyday now you crazy) for her. I’d stepped into UnderArmour and it was the first thing I saw on display and I’d screamed “OMG FOR ELF!!!!!!” and bought it on the spot. Nothing is real until I tell her about it. Even when the other person hasn’t replied our paragraphs of messages, we’d go ahead and lapse into 3 other paragraphs of some happening that NEEDED to be communicated pronto to the other.

While this post very quickly morphed into a personal one, as I’d expected it to be, really…I have my answers to what it feels like to find a best friend at age 22. You will find peace and hope in all that you do. You’ll want to weep in complete disbelief that there IS someone as weird as you and not in a “haha you’re adorable and don’t worry everyone’s weird way”. You’ll live in your own little bubble and everyone will know that you both come as a pair from here on. You’ll be inseparable, in the best way imaginable. You’ll know that even if everything were to crumble, she’d still be there waving a bag of curly fries in your face with a big hug, before you both build things back up again.

Someone called us each other’s kindred spirits, and we both responded: “WHAT’S THAT?” And apparently it’s pretty similar to soulmates. Connected in another world; in an intangible realm. She’d woken up in her drunken birthday state at a table full of sober people, to wave haphazardly at me to stop eating my second braised peanut from the table (I’d completely forgotten about my allergy and picked at it out of habit) before collapsing back into slumber. Her boyfriend rushed to get my meds while I started to cough & felt my throat slowly close up. (saving my life even while drunk LOL) We found each other in our early 20s but I guess it’s always better late than never. I love you and we’ll be blowing birthday candles and making wishes together until we’re old and gray. Partially so we get to make extra wishes but really, because you are part of me as I am you. Thank you for making life seem like all’s right even when it’s bad, as long as I’ve got you.

R.I.P. Rachel Brathen’s best friend; beautiful soul, and maybe it feels a little strange to be quoting someone who’s lost their best friend as I’ve found mine…but the words she spoke rang clear and true for us.

As she goes, “Soul sister. Twin. Best friend. We are the same. I never knew where I ended and you began.”