when i went to college, i made a friend.

you know those people who have these amazingly magnetic, radiant spirits?  who are, in your eyes, incredibly genuine and real and interesting and cool and funny and semi-godlike?  you know how you never ever think they will be friends with little old you?

we’ll call her R.

i was never sure what i was looking for in her.  she was older than me, by six years or so, i think.  she had a storied history.  i was in awe of her.

i did not know if i was searching for a friend, a mentor, a mother.  i wondered if i had a crush on her, even though i’d always considered myself firmly heterosexual.  i had no idea why i was so attracted to her, but i was.  and she accepted me into her world.  i thought i was so very lucky.

i followed her with abandon for some months.  my life was in terrific upheaval and i hadn’t yet learned to hide its shameful bits; i was an open book, bent backwards over myself to expose all i was to the world.  i never knew why she didn’t judge me, i was just grateful.  time marched on, my circumstances spiraled a bit more deeply into a rather dark hole and i was increasingly preoccupied with other things and different friends.  no one that quite got to me in the same way, but other friends.  we lost touch, i stopped visiting, she graduated before me. i cried, asking what i’d do without her friendship or guidance, but it was at least partially a farce.  i had already moved past needing it like i had. we are friends on facebook, but haven’t communicated in a very long time.

i can see now, how young i must have seemed to her.  and i felt it then too – i suppose it must be like how you feel around an older sister.  i don’t have one of those, so i don’t know for sure, but i always felt sort of clumsy, and bumbling, and like i should probably be a little quiet cause the cool kids were doing cool kid things and you don’t want to seem overeager, or they might roll their eyes or tell you to leave.  i can understand now that she was extraordinarily patient with me, and i’m grateful, again.  if we never speak again, i will always think she is some kind of special that i will always admire.

and i will always miss her, a little.