The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ode to a Best Friend

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last four years of my life, it’s that long distance relationships only work between the kind of people that are meant to stay in your life. My freshman year of college saw the break away from first love and lackluster acquaintances, but as I sat on my couch Tuesday night, trying to focus on the gossip spewing from my roommate’s mouth, a call from Hillary brought me home.
This home is raw and hurtful, a reminder of times when I cast my harshest judgements and times when I had to sit by silently as my friend went through hell. But this home with Hillary is also deeply tender. I still yearn for a return to those sleepy conversations in her room that felt like the safest place on earth. That house is now long gone, left in Phoenix to another’s memories while Hillary and her family make a new home in Colorado, too many borders away from me. And whenever that Brandon Heath song, reeking with images of our first summer back from college, comes on my iTunes, I am immediately back in that moment on top of a mountain where our new, adult fears and heartbreaks could only be encompassed by the screaming silence.
It’s been almost a year since we have seen each other in person, the longest we’ve gone, and yet she still calls me at midnight when she can’t sleep, distracted by her own destructive thoughts of an equally destructive boy. I update her on my own struggles and heartbreaks, but always keep it brief enough so that she has her time to vent. That is usually why she calls, after all. It’s never been necessary for the two of us to keep up with the minute details of each other’s lives, but when that dark, intense moment of vulnerability comes knocking, we run to each other without any need to fill in the gaps.
I sat with my phone propped against my shoulder that Tuesday night and still couldn’t believe how two people could live in different worlds, meet an abundance of new friends every year and yet still reach for the phone to call that soulmate miles away. Perhaps it’s the link to the past that lives on in our friendship, that dark and complicated five years of growing up that was so delightfully ignorant. Perhaps we understand the deepest corners of each other that no one else ever will. The scars and still-open wounds of adolescence will mark us forever, and within those are moments, breakdowns, accidents, and mistakes that only the two of us have seen. To let go of each other, to let time and distance win, would be to erase the proof of these struggles and lessons. To let go of each other would be to surrender the part of ourselves that screams out reminders of how far we’ve come.
So I sit back and let these words simmer on the computer screen, holding in tears that recognize the trueness of what I’ve just written, and play that Brandon Heath song. My skin crawls with the first note and I’m back on top of the mountain where the lyrics “I’m not who I was” are coming out of her iPod and the Phoenix sun is rising on the fourth of July.



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