Suzy and Emily.

This is my best friend.

The photo was taken fifteen years ago, almost to the day.

From the cartouche she’s wearing around her neck, I think this was close to the time she had come back from being stationed in Turkey.

I was in the Air Force. In 1995, I think it was, I was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, about a half hour drive from Virginia Beach on the east coast.

I was dating a guy who worked on a team called “radio maintenance”–and at the time, before we all had cell phones, that meant working on things like “bricks”–handheld transceivers–like walkie talkies on steroids. It wasn’t my job, but that’s what I deduced from conversations. I worked on computers, just like I do now.

My boyfriend at the time picked me up and was driving me to a friend’s house. We had gotten into an argument on the way. “A new girl from work’s going to be at the house,” he said, “so don’t be a bitch.” That’s great. Thanks, I won’t.

When we got to the house I met this girl, and she and I hit it off great. It was the girl you see here in this picture.

I kept the new friend, and I ditched the boyfriend.

We ended up being roommates. She and I shared a rented three-bedroom house with a third friend of ours, a guy. We split the bills three ways. I don’t remember any arguments. I have fond memories of that place.

That girl, who became my best friend, made me birthday cakes at that house–two of them on the same birthday. She probably doesn’t know I remember that.

Years went by. I got a new boyfriend. We were married (and ended up so for almost ten years), and I was sent to Mississippi. I was teaching Unix classes there for the Air Force until I got out of the military in 1998. I was in the service for about six years.

My best friend stayed in until she retired. Years went by–a few of them without us talking, just because of distance. There wasn’t really any other reason.

She invited me, and that other roommate, to her retirement ceremony. There have only been two or three times over the past ten years since then that we’ve gotten to hang out together. Suddenly I was ten years younger. It was a great feeling. I missed my friends.

There have been a few times that we haven’t agreed, but we have never had a big fight. Even though years have gone by, some of them without us talking, she has never not been my best friend. When I was really young I never thought I’d be lucky enough to have a “best friend” like this. I kept seeing other people have best friends, like when I was in high school and had no friends at all. It’s just that it took me a few more years to meet her.

We’re going to see her again soon, and It’s going to be nice to hang out. I hope she knows how much I love her.

If you have a best friend, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Tell me your cool stories. Spread the love.

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About Susan Pitman

Susan is an artist who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Texas. She writes songs, short stories, and books. You can follow @susanpitman143 on Twitter.

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