Sarah was one of the most important people in my life before college. Now? We don’t speak. College brings you an education, new friends and a world you could have never imagined. But what happens to the life you left 3,000 miles away? Does it just end?
High school just wouldn’t have been the same without Sarah. We both came out near the same time and realized that as the only openly gay kids in most of our classes, we had a special connection. That’s how our relationship started, in 2nd period Geometry, but we grew into much more than homo-buddies. She became one of my best friends for years.
Days were longer when I was with her, making our town our own. With bus routes marked and just enough money to make it home, we’d go on adventures to Seattle.
Our last night was the best. I threw a party for my friends and family as a going away event before heading off to Georgia. For fun we made it a costume party and everyone had to wear something different. We still ended up with two sexy army women, but Sarah shined like no other. She wore fishnets, handcuffs on her belt and a police badge on her chest—$50 for a costume, just because she wanted to be the best.
In between laughing and eating, I felt like we knew this was the end. We knew that I would be heading to the south and she would be going just a few miles north; the 3,000 miles would ruin us. We were dancing on the edge of disaster, but we didn’t care because she was wearing a cop outfit that made her ass look better than Nicki Minaj’s.
We left for college the next week. She packed up her rainbow flags; I packed up my Taylor Swift towels. We grew up. I sent her a photo of my dorm; she took selfies with her new roommates. We called on our birthdays and we called on Christmas. We became the adults we always thought we had to turn into, but held fast to some persistent faith inside that made us think we could stay the same kids playing dress-up.
The miles between us were too strong. Separation changed our phone calls; they became distant and limited to recalling old memories. Eventually they began to stop altogether.
Why did it take so long for her to call me back and why did I stop trying to reach out? I wondered why Sarah and I couldn’t remain the same Sarah and Brysen of the past even years, even though we are constantly glued to our smartphones. I found out she was dating the love of her life through Facebook instead of a long talk on my couch. When did I become a friend who didn’t deserve a call?
Sure, I love my friends at school, but they didn’t know me when I was crying over my first crush. They will never sit on my couch and talk about our high school geometry class. They will never come with me to my first Pride with my wiener dog, Simon, and feel all weird because we were 14-year-olds among adults.
I think about what runs through Sarah’s head at school. Does she look at her friends and think, You’re awesome, but you can’t remember when we were freshmen and got lost downtown looking for something called ‘the Chocolate Festival.’ I want to believe that she does. I hope that sometimes I pass through her thoughts like she runs through mine.
I don’t hate distance. I sometimes look out at the Boston snow and smile. I miss the Pacific Northwest, but the PNW rain already got 17 years of my life. Distance is good. It may have ruined Sarah and I, but it allowed us to grow up and see the world was bigger than a bus route.
This isn’t me asking Sarah to write me. This isn’t me saying I hate that we don’t talk. This is me saying (yes, to you, Sarah) I am thankful for the time we had. One day we might come back together in a grandiose movie way, but right now our friendship is over. But, Sarah, next time you pass by a chocolate festival, maybe check my Facebook to see what I’ve been up to because that’s what I’m gonna do when I think of you.