This weekend, I took a trip.
A small, two-night trip with my three best friends.
Best friends isn’t quite the right term, but it’s a convenient placeholder. Emily likes to call us soul siblings, which I think is far more accurate. Family by choice, connected at the core of our beings until death do us part.
There’s nothing I need to hide from these three, no part of me they wouldn’t love or understand. And I can wholeheartedly say the same for them. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Nothing they could say or reveal to me that would make me question this friendship, the love I’ve had for over ten years now.
We laugh and cry and tease each other mercilessly, but holy shit, the bond that burns between us when we gather around a table is something sacred. Untouchable. Otherworldly.
When we come together, it’s a peace that engulfs us, a high we can’t describe. But we try not to question it. Rather, as we’ve grown older, we simply give thanks for the gift of each other and the precious time we get. As if the universe might take it away if we aren’t grateful enough.
Matthew: Aggie Catholic, stubborn brother to us all. Can tell a lewd one-liner and recite a prayer in the same sentence. Talks your ear off but is the best listener you’ve ever met. Born insanely innovative, he is the brains behind every operation. (Sometimes painfully) honest, and always a problem solver. Compassion and patience run deep in this one–essentials, I think, for having three female best friends.
Marissa: Giggler of few words, awe-inspiring success story who doesn’t know the meaning of the word pride. Chronically indecisive but surprisingly opinionated in the right conditions. Fiercely independent. A beautiful spirit, blessed with both wisdom and integrity. Will laugh at every dumb joke, guaranteed, because she just can’t help herself. That one person you’ll always look up to, even when it seems like she’s quietly judging you. (She’s not. Probably.)
Emily: Memory-capturing confidante and astoundingly selfless dreamer who keeps us all together when life makes it tough. The first to admit her faults but the very best at reminding you of your strengths. We like to protect this adventurer, but in reality, we know it is she who protects us. Full of quirks and charm that make us fall in love over and over again. A natural early bird, she wakes first, brews the coffee, and waits for everyone else to get their asses out of bed. Lovingly, of course.
Kristen [in Emily’s words]: Sassy, silly deliverer of the dumb jokes. Last one to apologize, first one to approach the scary stuff that might otherwise go unsaid. Passionate and bold, the perfect travel companion. A fearless redhead with a propensity to love more deeply and wildly than you could ever imagine. Relatable, timeless. Freely herself, 100 percent of the time. The friend you want on your side through the good and the bad. Frighteningly loyal–will take a bullet for you, or–you know–kill someone too.
So this weekend we took a drive across Texas, talked for hours about nothing and everything all at once, munched on chocolate and drank coffee as the last rays of sun flickered in the west. But it was only the beginning.
Grocery shopping and wine-tasting and breakfast-cooking were on the unspoken schedule. We assumed it’d be a relaxing, uneventful weekend. And in many ways, it was.
But at 3 AM–sitting in our mint green cottage, wrapped in blankets and sipping the last drops of a bottle of wine–we became a little bit raw, a little more in love with each other. This was simply supposed to be our farewell trip. But it became far more than that. Suddenly, for a thousand reasons, tears clouded our vision and a sweet sort of sadness washed over us. But underneath the pain that we harbor from different ghosts, there was a joy in each other, immense healing in our togetherness.
Through blurry eyes and persistent smiles, we glanced around the room and took a good, long look at unconditional love–met its gaze three times over and saw home.
The next day we snapped photos and chatted with bartenders and decided to climb Enchanted Rock in the dark. We traveled the winding ribbon of pavement through the hill country, turned up the music and flew.
And we hiked to the top of that huge rock, looked to the stars and tried our luck at identifying planets. While we wandered, my stomach, my bones ached from laughing so much.
Eventually we lay back on the hard granite, all in a row, peered into the void and grew quiet for just a moment. And in the silence, no more than half a minute long, I cannot describe the peace, the strength, the hope I felt. I’m attempting to now, but I simply cannot do it justice.
I’ve been getting glimmers of this feeling for months, flashes of wholeness. Saturday night, I was drowning in it.
And it hit me: if my journey through life led me to the top of this rock on a cool May night with these incredible friends, all of us just on the cusp of something even greater, then I must be doing something right.
Of course–as always–we dissolved into a fit of laughter seconds later, but I remember the silence more than anything. Nothing needed to be said. And still words aren’t necessary, but I must try–because if anyone deserves a tribute, it’s my soulmates.
We are on different paths and will separately achieve spectacular things, large and small, and we’ll make mistakes apart from one another too. Our lives will inevitably vary, but our love is unshakeable. These three beautiful, shockingly good people are with me always, wherever I go.
And I think that’s a little bit holy.