My Dearest Friend,
What if I told you that something extraordinary happened on this day four years ago, and at the time you didn't even know it was happening?
You got up that morning as you did every morning. You got dressed, ate breakfast, went to school. You took notes, learned stuff, and rolled your eyes at all the idiots you had to deal with on a daily basis. Life like clockwork, am I right? I know the feeling. There was no reason to think anything special was going to happen. Most people don't get up in the morning knowing that their lives are going to change because of one tiny little thing.
Do you want to know what made January 31, 2009 so extraordinary when, by all means, it was a completely ordinary day?
It was the day we met.
From across two different cultures, a couple of times zones, and an entire ocean, two girls who could have lives their entire lives without ever knowing each other randomly crossed paths on the internet. Their lives changed irrevocably.
Think of all the things that had to have happened in order for that single moment to happen!
First of all, the universe had to be created. That's a pretty big step, in my opinion. The stars had to begin to shine, galaxies forming out of the nothingness; and out of the millions of galaxies, one galaxy in particular had to take shape. And out of the millions upon millions of stars that formed in that single galaxy, our whole existence waited upon the first spark of a single star that would eventually become our sun. The Earth formed, and life as we know it took shape in what must be a blink of an eye compared to all the time the entire universe has been around. It is awing to think that all life as we know it first came from impossibly tiny single celled organisms, and from there the story of Earth unfolds into an incredible mosaic.
Beasts of all walks of life came about, and among them one species in particular decided that two legs were pretty nifty and big brains were damn sexy. Humans developed some skills, but also some terrible flaws. Civilizations rose and fell. Histories were made. Wars were fought. Countries were forged. Someone invented the light bulb, the telephone, sliced bread, and the internet. Television came about, and so did cartoons. Children played with alien robot toys, only to see them come to life on the big screen.
A universe, a galaxy, a planet, eons evolution both natural and social, led up to the creation of a single random girl who was inspired to write and another random girl who was inspired to read.
I'm not at all exaggerating what I say that every moment that ever came before led up to the moment when we met.
I think it is amazing, and a little bit terrifying, how even a single variable might have caused us not to meet. How differently our lives might have played out! Life as we know it would be irrevocably changed... maybe for the better, but I am definitely leaning towards for the worst. There is not a reality I can think of, in all the imaginary worlds where I am god, that my life would be better off without ever having crossed paths with you. I imagine the same could be said for you – or maybe that's just my high opinion of myself talking.
I wonder... what could you have been thinking when you first sat down to read a silly story posted by a stranger? What caught your eye? How did it spear your interest? Why was it those words, in that order, read at that particular moment in time, that drew you in to find out more? I wouldn't be able to say. I wasn't there. And... I suspect that you might not have kept a record of that day either. You had no way of knowing that you life was about to change.
How easy would it have been for you to have passed that one silly story over, and then we never would have met.
To read or not to read? And what if you had chosen different? Suddenly your entire life course would have changed. My life's course would have changed. Everything we have ever done since that moment, how we have touched and enriched each other's lives, and in turn how we have touched and enriched the lives of others because of how we have been changed ourselves... That is a possible hundred direct connections in our lives, leading to a thousand indirect connections, a million distant, and a wide-reaching billion ripples in the pond that radiate outwards into infinity. Am I being too forward, or far too much myself, in saying that we changed the world simply by being friends? I don't think so, but then again, I am a biased party in this.
It is a little terrifying to think how close the world came to being a poorer place without us knowing each other.
My world would be a darker place without a Fish-shaped light in it.
Do you remember the review you left me? It's vague in my head, like most reviews I get... Not that I did not love your review, because I love them all, but time does tend to dull the sharpness of memories until all I remember is the love and the cheer brought with the words. I think we are a special lucky, or a lucky kind of special, to be able to go back to the day we met whenever we want - a silly review, on a random story, written by a strange girl, and received by an even stranger one. When I go back and read it, it makes me smile because it reminds me of how far we have come from that very first moment. You created the concrete, measurable moment that we met. You placed the pin down on the maps of our lives where we would always be able to look back and say Here. Here is where it all began.
There should be a monument erected there. That's how epic we are.
With that tiny review, those few kind words, you brought a smile to a stranger's face on the other side of the world. I might have put the story out there for the world to read, but you are the one who made the choice to write back. A few simple words, no capitalization or the fancy words you love to troll around with – it is a cute review, tellingly naïve and sweet, like the reviewer herself at the time... Well, naive and sweet compared to some people, if you know what I mean. You bridged the connection, or completed the circuit, or, hell... you sparked the kindling to a friendship that it has been an honour to be a part of.
In that moment when you pressed Send, I bet you didn't know you were about to gain a best friend. Albeit, a crazy best friend with occasional odd tendencies and a penchant for sexual innuendos and pessimism, but besides that... I'm quality friendship material!
Such a simple action that started this insane adventure, really. A review composed of three sentences, and the first sentence barely counts... but it was enough to spawn a friendship not for the faint of heart. Also, not for the naïve. Or for the easily offended. And let's exempt the general population before things get messy. You know, with all those groups crossed off, I think we are the only two qualified people to be friends with each other featuring the caliber of friendship we're running at.
In four years, what have we done? We've done more than write stories and create art. We've created worlds. Just the two of us, we have gone on adventure after adventure without ever having to leave the comfort of our computer chairs. I created worlds inside my head, filled them with words and actions and characters, and you filled them with colour and form and gave them solid reality in your art. Together, we've travelled to different planets, alternate dimensions; you have occasionally reminded me that there are heavens to be found on Earth, and I have had the delight of making your skin crawl with hells I know that lurk around every corner.
Could we ever count the number of adventures we have been on? I don't think there's a number high enough, or words made sincere enough to ever capture the true essence.
There have been days when we've been gods, and other days when we've been devils. Okay, and admittedly there were times when we were both – but neither of us can help it if we are so good at being bad. On the passing occasions, we turned to wraiths, and sometimes we were aliens. Laughing fools, wise women, cackling jackals, snickering foxes, and gossiping girls. Most of the time we were human, but that's boring. I prefer to think that at all times, one of us was a Fish and the other was a Queen – all metaphorically, I assure you.
We mixed magic with science, words with art, imagination with creativity. We mixed stripes with polka dots, and even wore mismatching socks.
Though our first steps were tentative, we have since held our arms wide open for each other. The doors were kicked open, windows thrown up, welcome mats rolled out, clean clothes donned... occasionally. We have taken our share of spills, suffered a few let downs, a couple of heartbreaks, and more than enough crises to last a lifetime, but the great thing about having found a friend like you? I've never been alone through any of it. Neither have you. I like to think that we have each had our moments of picking the other up, dusting them off, and giving them that hug that we probably desperately needed at the time.
You've shown me patience and kindness, reminded me of youth and naivety, and given me joy and delight in some of the simplest things that I have long since forgotten about. Your cleverness never ceases to amaze me, and your gift of insight is nothing short of inspiring. I think you are funny when you write essays about the littlest things, and sometimes I want to smother you with wuv because you are the most adorable little ducky I have ever known. The way you bring to life the words I write through the art you draw, I have told you time and again that it is like you read my mind. On the days when I need bolstering of support, you are there unfailingly with words and love... and, if need be, an essay full of snotty Britishness tearing apart whatever dared stick a thorn in my considerable ego.
If I could turn words into water, I would fill an ocean with all the things I could say about you.
It is hard to think of a world without you in it.
My world without you in it would suck balls – and not the fun kind of balls, either. It would suck homeless hobo balls that have not been washed in three years, and quite possibly have herpes, or some other kind of open sore that smells like rotten meat and is currently oozing some form of festering yellow puss. That's how much my world would suck without you.
You are my best friend. My confidante. You are my partner in crime, and also the only editor in this universe that I can tolerate. You are the Superman to my Batman, the eggs to my bacon, and quite possibly the Spock to my Kirk... just without the distinct homosexual undertones. Maybe.
I just want you to know that I love you, man.
...human-shaped Fish person I met on the internet four years ago.
You know what I mean.
I bet you never expected all of this on this day four years ago, when something extraordinary happened without you knowing it.
Happy Friendship Anniversary!