If I had to pick the top three things I love about each of my friends, here’s what they would be.
ALLY: Spent all of sophomore year collecting miniature porcelain cows and reading obscure facts about them online after one of them—a real one, I mean—wrapped its tongue around her wrist while she was on vacation in Vermont.
Cooks without recipes, and is totally going to have her own cooking show someday, and has promised we can all come on and be guests.
Sticks her tongue out all the way when she yawns, like a cat.
ELODY: Has perfect pitch and the clearest, richest voice you can imagine, like maple syrup pouring over warm pancakes, but doesn’t ever show off and only sings on her own when she’s in the shower.
Once went a whole school year wearing at least one green item of clothing every single day.
Snorts when she laughs, which always makes me laugh.
LINDSAY: Will always dance, even when nobody else is, even when there’s no music—in the cafeteria, in the bathroom, in the mall food court.
Toilet papered Todd Horton’s house every single day for a week after he told everyone that Elody was a bad kisser.
Once broke into a full-on sprint while we were cutting across the park, pumping her arms and legs and zooming across the fields in her jeans and Chinese Laundry boots. I started running too but couldn’t catch up to her before we were both doubled over, huffing out the cold autumn air, my lungs feeling like they were going to explode, and when I laughed and said, “You win,” she gave me the strangest look over her shoulder, not mean, just like she couldn’t believe I was there, then straightened up and said, “I wasn’t racing you.”
I think I understand that now.
I’m thinking about all these things at Ally’s house, feeling like I haven’t said them enough, or at all, feeling like we’ve spent too much time making fun of one another or bullshitting about things that don’t matter or wishing things and people were different—better, more interesting, cuter, older. But it’s hard to find a way to say it now, so instead I just laugh along while Lindsay and Elody shimmy around the kitchen and Ally frantically tries to salvage something edible from two-day-old Italian pesto and some old packaged crackers. And when Lindsay throws her arms around my shoulders and then Ally’s, and then Elody scoots around to Ally’s other side, and Lindsay says, “I love you bitches to death. You know that, right?” and Elody yells, “Group hug!” I just barrel in there and put my arms around them and squeeze until Elody breaks away, laughing, and says, “If I laugh any harder I’m going to throw up.”