I was a freshman in college. I spent my days at school, studying fashion merchandising and print journalism. At night, you could find me going to yoga or making handmade flower crowns for my now-defunct Etsy “El Bambino.” I wore my hair long and black, half of it shaved off (which I still rock). My style was eccentric; a little all over the place, and definitely not the norm for my college town in Columbia, South Carolina. I never fit in at the University of South Carolina, so I used Instagram as a way to sell my flower crowns, promote my blog, and to connect with other people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Freshmen year meant living in a dorm and one day, as I was walking to the cafeteria across the street, I saw someone with the username @ashley_unicorn comment on one of my posts. I realized she was the sister of someone I followed and followed her back. She also had long black hair with half of it shaved off, and was studying fashion merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology. We quickly bonded over our similarities and added each other on Facebook.
I was going to send her flower crowns so she could promote them on her blog, another thing we had in common down to the .net domain, and eventually we traded numbers. I texted her, but never sent her crowns (sorry Ash!). Instead, we ended up talking almost every day, calling each other, FaceTiming, and everything in between. Ashley quickly became one of my best friends, and remains one to this day.
It would be two years before we met for the first time in real-life.
Fast forward to April 2015. It was a glorious day in New York City. I had just flown in from studying abroad in London, and I was in the city to interview for a few potential internships. After two years of growing and loving as BFFs do, Ashley and I finally getting to meet.
I will never forget how I felt that day. As I waited in Penn Station, my heart was pounding, my face probably felt a little numb from excitement, and I was ready to attack-hug my long-distance BFF. Then it happened. I spotted Ash’s bright red locks down the platform and I was off. Cue plenty of screaming, “OH MY GOD YOU’RE SO CUTE” and hugging.
I had my mom record the whole thing and, honestly, watching it still makes me emotional. How this hasn’t gone viral on the internet, I’m still not sure.