By Kelly Hines
You know that friend – the one you plan summer vacations with. The one you can always count on for a girl’s night out. The one in all the pictures with you on Facebook, arms slung around each other’s necks, cheesy grins in full effect, fruity cocktail in the foreground.
I don’t have one.
I’ve had one before, of course. I had my elementary school best friend with whom I had so many sleepovers I’m sure our parents weren’t sure who lived where after a while. My middle school best friend, who shared my love of Duran Duran and helped me through the most awkward time of any girl’s life. My high school best friends, who introduced me to alternative music and Berkeley and ditching first period to go get doughnuts. My post high school bestie, who became my maid of honor and was good to me when I didn’t know how to be good to myself. My adult best friends, bonding over babies and husbands and books and loss.
I loved, and still love, all of them. Some of them move away, and distance and busy lives are not conducive to keeping a bestie. On the rare occasion I see or talk to one of them, it’s like slipping on an old pair of jeans, but it’s always temporary.
“I need a best friend,” I said to my husband.
“I don’t think that’s something that you can just go out and get, intentionally,” he replied. “There isn’t like a match.com for friends.”
“Maybe there should be,” I say. I start scoping people out. The woman with the kind heart and open mind? Already has a best friend. The cool one that makes me laugh? Similarly taken. The one who is basically me, but with better hair? Spoken for. It’s like dating all over again.
“I think you just need to relax and let things happen naturally,” my husband (who has a best friend) says.
If there is one word that does not exist in my vocabulary, it’s relax. Everyone I come in contact with becomes a potential best friend. “Paper or plastic?,” the bagger at the grocery store asks. “Would you consider going on vacation with me?,” I say. She doesn’t make eye contact again. I become a woman possessed; scoping out the playground, identifying potential friends in the car rider line at school based on their bumper stickers, trolling the “people you might know” section of Facebook.
“You are completely insane,” a friend (with a best friend) says to me, laughing.
And then I realize – I have a friend who thinks it’s funny that I am on the prowl for a friend. I have another friend that I love to talk about books with. I have a friend that I can talk to about my feelings, and one that I can talk to about my kids, and one that I can count on for takeout Chinese lunches and lots of laughter. They are all funny and smart and kind, exactly what I would want in a best friend. Except I don’t just have one, I have lots of them.
The only thing better than a bestie, is besties. Lucky me!