In college my group of friends jumped around a lot, as you probably picked up if you read my post Digging Deeper. Despite that, I had one best friend for three of those years, and even though we don’t talk as much as we’d like anymore, I would still consider her my best friend.
When we were bored, and also avoiding people (as we often did), we would sometimes ‘play’ Super Secret Agent Spy. We would fold our hands into guns and dodge around corners and whisper clear when we entered a room that was thankfully empty. We even had Super Secret code names. She was Theodore and I was Albert. Today is Theodore’s Birthday.
I’m not allowed to call her and sing Happy Birthday, because there’s a curse. When she first told me about the curse I rolled my eyes a little internally because it couldn’t be that bad, but over the years I’ve known her, I can see that she has a point. Somehow, around the time of her birthday, shitty things always seem to happen. I won’t go into detail, but there’s been some pretty awful stuff. So each year she tries to pretend that it’s not her birthday, because maybe if it’s not her birthday, terrible things won’t happen.
I’ve had enough of my own shitty birthdays to understand this. This is how I behave (perhaps in a milder degree) on my own birthday, and to a much greater degree, how I act surrounding any big holiday, especially Christmas. So I get it. But I also can’t let the day go by without acknowledging one of my favorite people, and that is why this post is about her.
When I met Theodore she had a gaggle of girls surrounding her, worshiping her style choices and the fact that she was so comfortable with the guys she knew, and the fact that she was from a different country and didn’t get a lot about America. Everyone seemed drawn to her despite her loner-ish-ness, and as a general rule, I avoid the people everyone around me swarms to. However, I discovered in short order that she wasn’t some girly bimbo with a pretty face. Once I’d had one full conversation with her I knew I was going to like her. (Apparently she thought for a long time that I didn’t like her, or hated her or something, but that’s just because I have Resting Bitch Face. It’s a thing, look it up.)
Anyway, within a month of meeting each other we were starting to be pretty good friends. It came as a surprise to me because I don’t often befriend girls on purpose, and all the girls I’d recently had as friends had turned out to be really shitty people, and I’d sworn off all new friendships. But Theodore was different.
She loved books, tea, paper, solitude, good music, comfortable silences, and avoiding people as much as I did. That may sound like a strange list, but really that’s all I can ask for in a person. On top of that she’s literarily (is that a word?) talented, musically talented, has a great sense of humor, gives the best advice, and has a lot of the same ambitions as I have, so talking with someone was never easier. For me at least, falling into a friendship was never better timed and more comfortable to do.
Theodore and Albert made it through a lot of stuff in three years. We had ups and downs, ins and outs, good and bad days. We’ve had some of the most fantastic adventures together, but also struggled through some of our lowest places together. Whenever we’ve fought about something it’s been because of missed or misunderstood communication, and we’ve always been able to get past that.
Theodore taught me a deeper appreciation for good tea. She introduced me to some of my now-favorite musical artists. She shared with me some of her writing and was finally someone with whom I could share my writing. She introduced me to some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met, both in the States and in Ireland. She’s taken me to places that I’d give anything to be able to return to (can you say Galway? Bosnia?) Two summers ago we got our noses pierced in Galway and had one hell of a good weekend. She took me surfing for the first time. She got me to read one of my poems to an audience for the first time. She gave me the Volumes. Her family treated me like long lost family. In short she’s put countless wonderful things in my path since the time I met her.
Now she’s finishing her last year of university, and I’m teaching the second grade 1500 miles away. I miss her a lot, especially since we do not get to keep in touch much while navigating our ever busy lives. I hope that in the not-too-far-off future we get to spend some more quality time together and catch up on the crazy adventures of the interim. In the mean time our Skype date tonight is going to have to suffice.
Happy Birthday Theodore. I love you.