Friends You Can Rely On

Today, I wanted to make an appreciation post for two of my best friends.

Alya was basically born to be my best friend. Or maybe I was born to be hers. Either way, she’s my sister and my best friend. As many siblings might know, those terms can be mutually exclusive, and I am lucky that this is not the case with me and Alya.

Mia met me and Alya when she was entering Kindergarten, I was going into first grade, and Alya was going into third. We shared a bag of Skittles and played with wooden building blocks in my mom’s classroom. And that was it. We have been friends, the three of us, ever since.

We were never really into the same things that our classmates were into. All three of us liked to read, and we had a special obsession with The Lord of the Rings. We liked playing games of pretend, imagining we were on Middle-Earth slaying Orcs and trolls. (But never Balrogs. Since none of us were wizards, we would have been totally outclassed, even in our imaginations.)

Alya was (and still is) the leader of our games. She was the director of our adventures, the decider of our futures. To this day, Mia and I say we can’t make proper decisions without her. (Which kind of spells doom for our personal lives, but I think we’re fine with that.) When our games took a turn for the sci-fi, she was the Commander to my Navigator and Mia’s Engineer.

I have Alya to thank for helping me in all of my writing endeavors. She’s supported me in so many ways. Even more than I support myself. (Which, again, spells doom for my life if she ever decides to abandon me, but that would never happen.) She might have a terrible sense of direction, but she’s still the one who takes charge whenever she, Mia, and I get together.

One time, Alya decided we were going to pluck oranges from Mia’s grandmother’s orange tree. The ground was muddy, and our mother warned us that we were not to get dirty. She threatened us with never letting us see Mia again, which she would never have followed through with, but we were young. We believed our friendship was on the line.

Mia and I were reluctant, but Alya kept pointing out these super amazing oranges on the branches above us. These were like Tropicana-cover oranges. Just one more, Alya kept saying.

Alya had her eye on a perfect orange, but it was really high up. We couldn’t climb to it, and it was dangling right over a particularly muddy piece of ground. Alya said she was going to jump for it. Before she did, Mia tore off the slide from her plastic play-place and laid it over the mud just in case Alya fell.

Then Alya took the leap.

She hung in the air for one interminable second before the stem snapped off and she fell on the slide. Unfortunately, the slide slipped out from under her sneakers, and she landed smack on her bum in the middle of the mud. We spent the rest of our visit to Mia’s grandparents’ house learning how to use a washing machine.

Mia was (and is) the solid backbone of our group. She’s the level-headed one. When Alya comes up a crazy idea, Mia is the one who grounds it in practicality. She is the string to Alya’s kite. Mia is the strongest of us all, and also the kindest. Plus, she has an iron will and a delicious sense of justice.

One time, I had to do something humiliating for a group project in a college class. I won’t go into specifics because it really was embarrassing for me and out of my control. However, the humiliating task was typed up on a piece of paper, and Mia came up with the idea of burning it once the assignment was complete. It was a therapeutic notion, and we all thought it was a great idea.

But Mia went the extra mile. She actually placed the paper in a hollowed-out cinder block, in order to keep the fire from spreading anywhere else, lit the paper with some matches, and then declared she was going to salt what was left when the flames died down.

We looked at her confused for a moment, and then we laughed at the realization that she was talking about the ancient practice of salting the earth of conquered lands so nothing would ever grow there. Mia was symbolically planning to curse the assignment into oblivion.

So when the paper was just ashes, Mia stepped inside, then came out with a salt grinder and ground some cooking salt over the gray remains.

It was hilarious and put a fun spin on something that otherwise would have been a stain on my memory.

I don’t make new friends these days. I don’t really leave my place of residence to go out to places of socialization. Why would I when I have books, video games, and myself to keep me company?

That sounds like a pity statement, but IT’S NOT. (Capitalized letters to emphasize my seriousness.)

I don’t need a lot of people in my life to feel happy. I feel happy with the ones I have. And if I happen to stumble along some others by chance, then that’s great, too.

So here’s to my two best friends in the whole wide world. No matter where we go, when we see each other next, or what we do, I know I can rely on the two of you for all the years to come.

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