When I realized my best friend was more like my sister

The dormitory was frantic. Parents and students alike, bringing up box after box of belongings. Parents saying their goodbyes. Students making their small portion of an already small dorm room “home.” New faces. Nervous anxiety. Laughter. That was Brayton 8 in 2006. The hall and floor where I met my best friend.

I had decided to go to college at Ball State University despite my being offered a scholarship for IU, mostly because my friends from my small high school class were going there and I was far too intimidated (at the time) to go to IU if it meant going alone. Even though money-wise, IU was a better choice, I will never regret going to Ball State instead. It was there that I met Amanda.

Amanda and I weren’t roommates in college, but she did live about two doors down from me. We first connected over our Sociology class we shared together, but then, on one particular night, that would have seemed like any other, we started talking about ourselves in a much more open way. When we realized we had some shared experiences, something clicked and from that point on, we were inseparable. We bonded over Sylvia Plath, poetry, shared dreams of writing, and music. Then we bonded over the bad things in our lives and the good things. Together, we watched movies, went shopping, studied, drank screwdrivers (come on, it was college), and totally geeked out and wrote poetry together. We went to the open mic comedy nights at the village, where we both crushed on the same performer together. We had far more good times than bad when we were together, so when Amanda came to me with the news of her transferring schools for the next year, I was devastated.

Amanda has this natural ability to create the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen. She transferred schools so that she could focus more on her art. It made sense that she would want to go somewhere else to better explore that. Luckily, her new college was only an hour away. I was so worried that our friendship wouldn’t last. That we would end up politely going our own paths and that would be it. But Amanda and I were so similar, we often joked that we were the same person. We HAD to made the distance work so we did. We would see each other on weekends when we could.

Then began our real friendship. The one that stood the test of distance. After college, she stayed in Indianapolis and I had to move back in with my parents for a spell (2 hours away). Then I moved 12 hours away to North Carolina. It wasn’t until 2013, that I moved to Indianapolis. It was the first time in six years we had lived in the same city. And all through that time and distance, we had only grown closer.

Recently, Amanda and I were talking and somehow the topic of how long we’ve known each other came up. When we realized it’s been 9 years, I couldn’t believe it. We’ve been through so much and we are older now, so it makes sense, but on some level, I still feel like that 18-year-old girl starting her first year of college. 9 years. Wow. It caused me to reflect on our friendship and I started to realize, that somewhere along the way, Amanda had moved from being my best friend to the sister I never had. She had become family.

When we were much younger and a boy would break one of our hearts, we would have a girls night, which consisted of eating ice cream (preferably moose tracks) straight out of the tub it came in, and watching seriously deep movies… like When Harry Met Sally or Someone Like You, of course.   Those were our go-tos. As we’ve gotten older, the issues in our lives have become more complex.

For example, when she became a mom, she constantly worried about being the best mom for Addy, her beautiful daughter, and doing the right things by her. And I was always calming her down, and explaining that she was (and still is) doing an awesome job parenting. I can firmly say, Amanda is the best mom. She goes above and beyond for Addy and always puts her first.

Then there was the day when I found out my dad had cancer.  I immediately texted Amanda and within a few hours, she was over at my house with two bottles of wine, two frozen pizzas, and a big tub of ice cream. She was there to listen and wipe away my tears…. And when she saw that there were no tears, she realized, (because of how well she knows me), that I was definitely not OK. She did everything she could to make me feel better.

Or that time when we were just getting back to my place after watching a movie about family secrets, when I started sharing some of my family secrets. And more than 5 minutes later, I received a phone call from my dad telling me my uncle had passed away. Amanda was planning to leave before I received that news, but after I got off the phone, she decided she would stay the night to make sure I was not alone.

There have been countless times when she was there for me and vice versa. Through our similarities, we help each other to understand one and other better. We comfort each other and know exactly what to do and what not to do to help each other given the situation and given what our body language and eyes are saying. Or what we’re actually saying and not saying. We have surpassed the friend-zone straight to sisterhood.

When I turned 23, I was living in Wilmington, North Carolina. Amanda sent me an email headlined “HAPPY FRIGGIN BIRTHDAY.” It contained a list of 23 reasons why she loved me. Reason number three said, “The fact that you (hopefully) will not be weirded out by the fact that this is starting to sound like a love letter (but it is to my best friend!).” As I’ve been writing this piece, I have noticed just how much it is starting to sound like a love letter. But what can I say, it’s about my best friend.