My best friend, who we’ll call Mckenzie (because that’s her name) recently got accepted into the London School of Economics, or as I like to call it, The Harvard of the UK. It’s something that she’s wanted for a long time, something that she’s worked hard and waited for, and I couldn’t be happier that my person is succeeding and thriving and going on an adventure that will completely change her life.
But I’m also pretty sad, because like I said, she’s my person. Mine. Not the UK’s, not London’s, not grad school’s, and certainly not Prince Harry’s (whom I’ve convinced myself she’s going to fall in love and have little royal babies with because let’s be real, if anybody deserves to be The Prince and Me‘d it’s Mckenzie).
I met Kenzie my freshman year of college through a very weird combination of ex-boyfriends and high school friends and mutual acquaintances that all conspired to bring Kenzie’s weird (and wonderful) ass into my life.
Kenzie sniffs books. She speaks Hindi and watches foreign films and refuses to play boardgames no matter how fun they are. She runs everyday and takes 45 minute showers and I have never met anyone who can spend longer in a Forever 21. She introduced me to the frightening joy of horror movies and the head-sweating, tongue-tingling allure of spicy foods and forced me to listen to Lana Del Rey until I begrudgingly began singing “National Anthem” in the shower like a little Lana robot with a lot of a feelings and lot of angsty sass that can only be channeled by singing into a shampoo bottle.
I’ve made my mark on Kenzie, too. She wears a lot more pink than she used to and is more willing to use curse words in polite society and sometimes she’ll even play a game if I needle her enough and feed her some wine.
We do a lot of cute friend stuff, like have brunch every Saturday morning and watch movies snuggled up together on the pullout couch in our living room. She uses my conditioner and reads my books, and I eat her food and wear her earrings. When we go out we dance back to back and catch boys in pairs, and a few of the bouncers know us by name which makes Kenzie embarrassed but makes me feel like I’ve finally made it.
Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a sitcom about two go-getter best friends with blonde hair and boy problems, and it’s the best.
Which is probably why I’m so sad to see her go. Because it isn’t just about the brunches and the books (I can find lots of people to eat hash browns with, it’s not a hard sell), it’s about having someone who’s there no matter what. A ride or die. An in it to win it, down for whatever, ready to hate whoever hurt you friend that doesn’t come around very often.
Kenzie has been there through it all. Everyone says that the college years are your formative years, but they never include the small, but very important detail that during those years you’re going to deal with a lot of very inconvenient, very painful, knock-you-to-your-knees stuff.
There’s heartbreak and disappointment and confusion and regret and lots of indecision about how to get your life to be the way you want it. There’s late nights where you cry for no reason and mornings when you wake up and can’t imagine getting out of bed and lots of in-betweens where you fail an assignment or change your major or hate your job or fall for somebody who doesn’t love you back.
There’s lots of times when you need a Kenzie. When you need someone to stroke your hair and pour wine down your throat while you sob about the video project that gave you an ulcer. When you don’t get a text back and need someone to play you Beyonce videos on youtube until you remember how fierce and fine and full of fire you are. When you break your ankle falling off a sidewalk and need someone to lift your knee scooter up the stairs (this one might be me-specific).
Everyone deserves a Kenzie. Everyone deserves to feel the incredibly-absurdly-gargantuan amount of love and support I have received and absorbed into my blood and bones like a sparkly life-force that lets me know it’s going to be okay (even if it doesn’t seem like it right now). Everyone deserves to have a friendship that can span an ocean and fill a cup up all the way to the top with joy and pride and admiration for the things your Kenzie has accomplished.
London deserves a Kenzie. I’m sad that it has to be my Kenzie, my person, but I also know that no one but her can do the work there that needs to be done. The world needs a Kenzie. Every city and landmark and little cafe will be better for having had her there to smell its books. Every person she meets and every friend she makes will feel the same little glow in their hearts and the same frustration that she won’t play boardgames (Kenzie, they are literally so fun).
She’ll touch lives and kiss strangers and climb mountains and do it all with kindness, grace, and hope. She will return home bursting with experiences and adventures and ideas so exciting and promising that she’ll get too excited and have to start every sentence over because the words are coming too fast and too sure.
And I’ll be here, sipping my coffee and reading my books and checking my phone for her stories and her wordly emojis. Because at the end of the day and this article, she isn’t really leaving. True friends never do. They travel and fall in love and take jobs in faraway cities, but they’re always there, in our hearts and phones and photo albums, reminding us that everything will be ok (even if it doesn’t seem like it right now).
Cheers, Kenzie. I love you lots and I am so, so proud of you, and also please nab a good room for me at the palace (one with a fireplace and a little dog with a bow).