Emily is the free spirit. She’s the tiny dancer, yogini extraordinaire. She is only person who can say that they are spiritual and not sound like a phony. Unshaven, impenetrable, tattooed in the most impetuously determined way. Emily decides consciously to remain undecided. In this moment is where she lives. The future exists as a weight that she can choose to pick up or slough off. We lived together for a year, and it couldn’t have been a more symbiotic pairing. Neither of us liked to dishes or cared if they were done. We both liked the heat to be around 75 degrees. On top of that, we were on the same schedule. We met doing our laundry at 3-4am over several nights, and that schedule persisted. When I need someone to get it, to talk with me about the spirituality of traffic or the joy a smooth floor while you’re cooking so you can dance and twirl at will, I call Emily.
Bella is the no nonsense reality check. Powerful and responsible and never ever frivolous. She speaks Mandarin and watches Asian cinema, and cooks with nutritional yeast flakes. We met living across the hall from each other. She and Stef lived together. She was amazed by the fact that I worked in a chinese restaurant for four years and that I knew so much about Chinese and Korean culture. We also, shared our Christian-ish affection and a love of the smell of clove cigarettes. She’s the politician, and programmer. In some ways she’s the oldest and the youngest of us all. Bella doesn’t know how to drive. She never got her license because it’s not necessary in the city with all the public transit. She also didn’t learn how to ride a bike until her early twenties. As far as the future, she is more mature than any of us. She chooses a path based on what is most practical and alters it as needed. Being passionate is in the backseat for her, except for her body. Her tattoos are her one passion and slightly reckless indulgence. When I need someone to talk some sense into me or give me advice, I call Bella.
Stefanie (pronounced, by me, stef-AW-knee) is the doer. She wants to hike, she buys all the equipment to hike for a few days even if it drains her bank account and hikes. Then when it rains and soaks the new tent, she leaves it and hikes down the mountain and heads home never looking back. We met at the same time I met Bella. She and Bella let me sleep in their room to save me from my horrible roomies. She always had thought out answers to tough questions and criticized my taste in music. She is fond of her niche and sticks to it. Stef would never go to church even out of curiosity, as she is deeply agnostic- non-religious in the truest sense. She is the most impulsive and passion driven. She likes the environment… she gives up meat, she majors in environmental science. Her passion extends from her career and into personal life. She can describe the trajectory of her life through her sexual experiences, and right now she’s madly in love with a man who makes her love out of control, an action that she advised me against in the past. When I need someone to tell me to go for it, I call Stefanie.
Rachel is quietly loud. Her face never betrays her emotions, and she is the quiet one, but never the type to hold her tongue. She reminds me of my father. She sticks with what she likes, doesn’t have a ton to say but when she does talk, you listen. We have the most in common. We worked the same job. We’re both married. We both have had kids through home birth. We met at work. She and I seemed to laugh at the same jokes and ended up sharing with each other our pregnancies before anyone else. She was there for me through my miscarriage with the perfect lack of words. We’ve gone to church together and she invites me to her Mommy group. When I don’t feel like talking and I just want to feel still, I text Rachel.
We all have a very different relationship with each other. Only Rachel is just my friend. The rest of us are all friends in our ways. Rachel and I spend the most time together. Emily and I are in the same state and see each other the most out of my college friends. Bella and I have been the most distant until I had my son. I can tell that she is thinking about kids more and more, so we are making all kinds of effort to see each other now. Stef and I are now most distant. Not only does she live the farthest away, but we both have very strong views that conflict. Now that I have a son, sometimes those conflicts are ugly. I have no idea what holds us all together or how I got so lucky with such a dynamic support system, but I am glad to have them! I love them for every bit of who they are! The septum piercings, tattoos and lack thereof, the recklessness and maturity, the new languages and postcards from all over the world. I fucking love those girls!