This is my best friend:
Her name is Annemari, and she’s 23 today. (Side note: I feel really old right now. I’m turning 25 in less than two months. I know I made a whole list of things I want to accomplish before November 8, but it hadn’t dawned on me that I’m like, a proper freaking adult in her mid-twenties until now.)
We’ve known each other for almost nine years now. We met on LiveJournal, back when we both had friends-locked journals where we talked about our life and the TV we watched. (So, basically the same as now, only more consistently and less eloquently.) We liked to play around in Paint Shop Pro (I think I hadn’t switched to Photoshop yet at the time) and we did an art battle at a LiveJournal community titled, appropriately, art_battle — and which I think was run by someone I keep in touch with, too. Her name is Ari and she designs book covers. My friends are awesome.
Anyway. We met on LiveJournal, and we didn’t really get to know each other that much until a couple of years after. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I do know that the summer of 2008 I was already close friends with her, enough so that when we realized she’d be in London for one day in the middle of the three weeks I spent in Oxford that summer, we decided to meet in person.
She’s the first person I ever made sit on a bench and photographed. Isn’t that sweet? We met in Kensington Gardens, and we went to the Natural History Museum (more her speed than mine), and we took pictures around the Kensington area. We found a church that reminded me of Rapunzel, and then I walked her back to her hotel and set off on the Longest Walk Known To Man™. (Mild hyperbole. Mild.)
It was awesome. It was awkward, I didn’t know whether to hug her when we first met, we got a couple of selfies where, as usual, she looked about five years older than me even though she’s two years younger. I’m tiny and she’s a viking, whatever (she’s Estonian, close enough).
After that, we became like serious proper best friends. We did email for a while (long, long pretentious emails when I was 17/18 and discovered Virginia Woolf and I was so pretentious), and she was the first person I ever chatted regularly with in real time (thanks, gtalk!). In fact, she’s still the only person I regularly chat with in real time. I open Adium in the morning and I close it at night and we just throw random thoughts at each other over the course of the day and it’s comfortable when we have nothing to say and it’s comfortable when one of us does.
We met again this year. This April. Her friend Ashley (who has a blog!) was in London for a semester abroad, and Annemari wanted to meet her before she headed back to New York, which is a lot further out.
So they met! We shared a twin room in a hotel literally down the road from where I’ve ended up living (fell in love with the area, it’s all her fault), and she let me drag her to a few flat viewings and we walked around the city and we took a lot of pictures of it and of each other, and at the end of the day she’s pretty much to thank/blame for my taking the plunge to move to London. If it hadn’t been for her setting a date to meet Ashley, if I’d had to spend my first week in London on my own, I don’t know that I would have dared.
At one point she actually said I was clingy (not in a bad way), which is such a far cry from the first time we met in person that it’s hilarious. But I was! Meds and comfort, I guess?
She’s also singlehandedly responsible for two most tourist-y pictures of me that exist in the world, to wit:
Me and Peter Pan, 2008
Me and the London Eye, Ninth Doctor (in daylight) style, 2014
and another one
and another one.
Yeah, I mean, we took a lot of pictures. It’s fantastic to walk around with someone who’s just as likely to linger for ten minutes in front of a bridge as you are. Probably not as fun for the other person who’s walking with you (sorry, Ashy) but we did get a lot of pictures of her, so I think it works out.
I miss having someone to go on photo walks with.
And drag to museums.
And tackle in the middle of the night.
But she’s still there in the morning, and I’ll narrate my life at her and she’ll acknowledge me and push me in all the right places, and she’ll leave dead chipmunks on my doorstep (metaphorically), and she’s saved me from myself or helped me get over a breakdown on more than one occasion, both when I was in Spain (all those times I cried into chat about fights with my father, and fights my father picked with someone else, and money, and frustration) and after I moved here (flat viewings that fell through, the long road off meds).
She’s been with me through little bits of joy, too, and squealing over fandom, and I maintain that I’m responsible for her taking up fanfic writing and therefore everyone should thank me for the awesome work she puts out, ahem. We’ve grown into adult (ish) women together, and we’ve helped each other become better people, and that’s incredible.
She’s my best friend, and she’s been my best friend for years, and we’ve met 7 + 1 days in all of those years, and if a day goes by and I don’t talk to her, I feel a little adrift. She’s my constant. She’s my rock. And I can’t imagine my life without her.
Luckily, I don’t have to.
Happy birthday, Annemari. Sorry this is up after midnight your time. It’s still your birthday week, right? I’m so thankful for everything you’ve done for me, and also for the fact that you exist. I love you. Keep existing for me, will you?I’m just saying.