Dear best friend, if this were a letter it’d been in writing for at least the last ten years. It starts with a girl who didn’t need a best friend, so of course she was going to find one anyway.
Dear best friend, if this was a letter there would be no plot, introduction-body-conclusion, or climax. There would be a long, long beach, snaking against the pull of the ocean, that point where the sand is in the crick of the hourglass, and time slows, not stops. I saw, you there, dear best friend, maybe lost, maybe adventurous, but not looking for a best friend either.
Dear best friend, you’re so easy to talk to. We crouch before the bonfire that tickles the scaly sand, melting between our toes, and see the world in the smokescreen that is the stars. We timeline our lives, diagramming the intersections and the parallels of our futures. Our fingertips brush against each other in fire-tinged darkness. We are mapmakers with our toes in the ocean.
Dear best friend, I’ve never been a good writer. Not the way you are, the way your words grow thriving cities in front of my eyes, or corner me between laugh or confusion, or strum my imagination at its bass strings. When I write, I try to color in the blanks you leave behind like footprints in the sand. Did you leave them for me? Or do you truly not know that the wind from your sail tugs at my face across an ocean, here alone next to our bonfire? When did I start needing a best friend?
Dear best friend, this letter wasn’t supposed to have a climax.
Dear best friend, I hear that time is shaped like a figure eight. That must be why I see you stumbling over the sand, a zigzag skate to our flickering embers. I feel your shadow as I approach, a reflection of my uncertain soul. There’s too many words in the air between us, but I still need your fingers clamped around my forearm as we sink to the ground, much the way you need mine. When did you start needing a best friend?
It’s peaceful here, dear best friend, as we watch the stars, not chart them. The warmth from our fire wraps around me like an easy blanket and rests mildly on my eyelids. I don’t have the strength yet to stand and you don’t have the confidence to speak. Just for once, let’s let a story go untold, snatched up by the salty wind and hidden in an ancient treasure chest. X marks the spot of a sand-kissed promise to open the chest someday.
Dear best friend, I don’t know when I’ll see you again. I’ll lean against the curved glass of life and feel my way through, sometimes blind, sometimes half-blind. Maybe there’ll be music too, the quiet breath of an underground oasis and a sleeping city. Maybe you’ll hear it too. Or maybe it’s patterned into the edges of our souls, a calling from the beach that is my heart.