My Best Friend is Getting Married
My best friend since I was 12 years old has been Kim. I’ve had a lot of best friends before and a lot of best friends afterwards but unfortunately they can’t compete with Kim. They weren’t there through my super awkward phase (not to be confused with my continuing awkward phase which is just something I’ve come to accept), they also weren’t there for the coming of age shit. That’s the crucial stuff: the drugs, the booze, the sexual bumbling. Or the even more crucial stuff: my parent’s divorce, moving, legal woes. And we managed what very few people have managed which is an ongoing friendship that has transcended lifestyles, distance, and the inevitable growing up and often moving on. In two weeks I’ll be in Kim’s wedding as her only bridesmaid. I couldn’t be more honored. If the roles were reversed I wouldn’t hesitate to make her mine and I’d do it knowing she’d do a better job than I ever really could.
I’ve known Kim since elementary school. We went to a small country school and Kim’s family was pure country. Ranch and all. Her father might as well have been John Wayne. To me he already was. The year we became friends was a particularly difficult one for me. Between my parent’s marriage dissolving, the impending sale of our home, my inevitable relocation, puberty, and generally how fucking horrifying 7th grade is for anyone, I was kind of a mess. Kim and I were far from cool in the eyes of our peers. Too lowly for the rich kids of Plainview, too rowdy for the nerds of our own turf. We’d spend our lunch breaks pretty much being weirdos. She listened to Sir-Mix-a-Lot and talked with fervor of how much she wanted to rid herself of her virginity. I thought she was crazy. I was a pretty nice kid who was totally afraid of sex and more inclined to listen to the Beatles. But for some reason she liked me, and since she was one of the few people who did, I accepted it.
When the divorce was finalized I kind of withdrew. Other than a couple of old friends of mine, I didn’t really tell anyone where I was moving to. Bound to my depression and ready to spend the summer in solitude, I was shocked to find that in the middle of summer I got a call from Kim. She hunted me down. I think mostly to brag about a boy in Idaho she had gotten to second base with, but her persistence won. From that moment to our junior year in high school we were inseparable. My worried nature and her confident rebellion were an interesting match. We’d sneak out of her home on many occasions, into the cool night air. We’d scam as many beers as we could from her sister-in-law and pack them into snow occasionally lining our jacket pockets four beers at a time past her unconcerned father. We’d plan makeout parties scouring the land for any available boys willing to play our ridiculous games. We’d write silly songs and come up with silly sketches. Watch Crybaby every day for a month straight. Find almost any possible legal way to get high until we discovered marijuana. She always the ringleader and me the funny and easily influenced sidekick.
18 years later, despite everything changing, nothing really has. I’ve learned that about the good friends I’ve had in the past. I’ve gone from seeing Kim every day for the better part of a decade to not at all. Years even. Then moving in with her in Hawaii. Then going back to a couple of phone calls within a year. But every time we’re together it’s like we were never apart. It’s always right where we left off. Very few people in this world will know you as fundamentally as your best friend in high school. Inherently you are the same person you were as a child. Your reactions to things, your fears, your impulses. I’m very fortunate to know someone who knew me then. To keep me in check. To tell me when I’m being an idiot or to give me confidence when I’m rife with self-doubt. And while Kim is one of many I’ve been graced to have this type of relationship with I’d have to say she was the most important. Because I was a strange teenager and every strange teenager needs an ally.