I met Melissa when I was 18. We lived two doors down from each other our Freshman year at Brigham Young University. Melissa likes to say that when we walked to class together for the first time she had a notecard filled with things to talk about because she didn’t think we’d have anything in common. Honestly, I can hardly remember the day we first met because I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. I know about her childhood crushes and the dress she wore to prom and could probably give you a tour of her hometown even though I haven’t actually ever been there.
Weeks into our first year of college we sat in her room ripping up photos of her high school boyfriend that I’d never met because he was the worst, like most high school boyfriends are. I still vividly remember these pictures and what they looked like in tiny little pieces on the rainbow rug that she had for years and years. It was weirdly intimate, you know? I’d grown up having the same five best friends since kindergarten, and here I’d only known Melissa for a few weeks. But it was easy; we were made of the same stuff.
Melissa and I were inseparable from day one. We were really into T-shirts and loved this turquoise one that had blue crowns on it. Summers apart we’d spend watching The Hills over Skype, and one year our basement apartment had such crappy Internet that we’d load an episode of Gossip Girl before we left for class in the morning in hopes that it would be ready to watch by the time we got home late. We would make pasta salad or baked potatoes or corn chowder for dinner every night, shared the same blow dryer and I sometimes stole her shaving cream (sorry, Mel). She is fiercely loyal and would let me wear her new dresses before she even got the chance.
This is probably TMI but it’s very important to the Melissa-Hannah Friendship Narrative. Melissa was right outside the door the first time I ever used a tampon, chanting, “You can do it you can do it!” while I yelled “WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS??” but we were going swimming and there were going to be boys there and I couldn’t sit on the side of the pool like a huge loser so I did it, and I probably would have just stayed home if she hadn’t reminded me that I was too old to be having these problems.
In the last apartment we shared there were those plastic glow stars all over the ceiling, left behind by some previous tenant. We would lay our beds and sing every song we could think of that included the word “stars” and mostly just hummed Yellow by Coldplay. We thought this was the funniest thing in the world. When I moved out of that apartment and into my grandparent’s house 3,000 miles away, I was scared. My first night I laid on my back and looked up at the ceiling. Through my tears I could see one of those dumb plastic stars, glowing. It felt like Melissa had snuck on a plane and into my new bedroom and stuck those stars up there just for me, because she knew I’d be sad, even though that was impossible. It’s kind of a silly story but it mattered so much to me in that moment, that small familiar glow in such an unfamiliar place.
Even now, we call each other in tears when we lose jobs or boyfriends or our keys. Melissa even picks up the phone when I call her while she’s at the gym. We share recipes and Buzzfeed quizzes and have a secret Pinterest board filled with things that we hate (which includes denim maxi skirts and terrible pregnancy announcements). We like dolphins and talking about barre class. We think the same things are funny, like this freewebz tribute to Good Charlotte that I found while Googling the lyrics to “East Coast Anthem” because sometimes you just need those. We spent quite a bit of time this afternoon typing to each other via gchat, tears streaming down our faces trying really hard not to laugh because we’re both at work. “I literally can’t breathe” and “Why doesn’t anyone else think this is funny?” And if I had to sum up our friendship, I’d sum it up with this: Nobody else appreciates hilarious things like we do. Nobody else thinks we are funny.
Melissa found Literally, Darling just a few weeks after it went live. When I said I wished I could write for a blog like that, Melissa said, “Why not?” and read all the pieces I wanted to submit. She has been the first person to read everything I’ve ever published, except this, and so the quality had probably suffered. She is my cheerleader and my biggest fan. She tells me when my Twitter profile pic is not cute or if I’m trying too hard on Instagram, which is honestly a majority of the time. I Snapchat her from various dressing rooms and she tells me that my legs don’t look fat or that the dress I’m on the fence about is cute and we even have matching watches we found once on Etsy.
I’ve been writing this post for a couple months now, adding to it here and there on days when I am especially grateful to have someone in my life like Melissa. It’s tough to be states and time zones apart. It takes time and effort and mostly I just miss her a lot. But at the end of the day it’s nice to know that neither of us have to figure this whole life thing out alone. Scary doctor appointments and big decisions and the aftermath of regrets, I don’t have to do any of that by myself because Melissa is always just a phone call away.
Melissa is my best friend, it’s as simple as that. I hope that everyone finds a friend like her—genuine, gorgeous and funnier than anyone else I know.