You’re going to need a person in your life who makes you smile even when you’re mad. Who knows your heart like the back of her hand and calls you out on your bullshit. Who says, “screw him,” and “I love you,” and, “you got this,” and really means it. Late nights of long phone calls and laughing until your ribs hurt. You need a person who sees you for what you can be, what you will be, and never lets you be any less. A weirdo, preferably. Who yells your name across street just to embarrass you. Who holds you when he breaks your heart and keeps you strong when he comes crawling back. Who tells the truth when she talks about life and makes you feel a little less alone. A person who is beyond words, beyond thanks, beyond what you could have asked for. Find this person. Trust me. You’re going to need her.
a thank you to my best friend, who is all of this and more
The marks appear halfway through the third trimester of her first year at Dupont. Alya had just gotten out of the shower when she spots it in her bathroom mirror. Etched into the skin beneath her right shoulder blade, the words follow a curved trail along her spine in tiny cursive. It takes the combined help of her Ladybug compact mirror, her camera phone, and a whole lot of squinting for her to finally make out what it says:
“while loving someone deeply gives you courage”
No capitalizations. No punctuation marks. No hint of whether the phrase begins or ends the rest of the sentence.