What if it were fourteen years?

Take a moment. Sit in silence, count down from ten, and think about the person who you care and worry about the most. Think about the person who you can always rely on. Think about the good times, think about the laughter. Now think about the tears and the pain. Ask yourself if you’d change it. I know I wouldn’t.

The people who I’ve met since coming to university have known their best friends for much longer than I’ve known mine. With middle schools having no existence in most places, people have usually known their best friends since they were aged eleven, or four. I can’t help but imagine what things would have been like if that were the case for me. What if my best friend and I had met fourteen years ago, instead of four?

For at least a year, my flute teacher has called my best friend ‘auntie X’, and it makes us both laugh, because it’s so true. She’s also made the comment that the two of us prop each other up, and even though people usually don’t see both sides, we’d both struggle without the other one. That’s why, in recent years, my opinion has changed a little. I no longer think of her as my ‘auntie’, or even my ‘best friend’. To me, she’s my big sister. She’s always here for me, to protect me, and to listen. She’s happy to guide me and help me, and she’s a million times more patient than any normal friendship would allow. I know that she thinks of me as her little sister, too, and whilst I’d never tell her, I love that. I love that someone cares about me unconditionally, and that she’s always there too turn to, no matter what. It doesn’t matter if she’s revising, if she gets a message from me that says ‘I miss you, I’m really sad today’, she’ll fix me again, and reassure me that it’s not long until we see each other again. It only takes minutes, and she has an ability to make me happy and fuzzy that nobody else has mastered, and I doubt that they ever will. All at the same time though, I mother her, too. In some ways, I know more about her than her own mother does, and I feel responsible for her health and welfare, too. It’s her job to make sure that her little sister finds her way in the world, and is my job to make sure that my big sister will always be here to guide me and to keep me safe.

The point that I’m trying to make, I guess, is that is doesn’t matter that it has only been four years, and to me, that will never matter. She’s the only person who would offer to take me for a drive after a bad exam, she held my hand when we went to talk to my head of house about me not coping, and she’s the only person who I would top and tail with in a single bed and not worry that the suggestion would seem ‘strange’. I’m sure by the third night of her stay here, I’ll probably be curled up on the wooden floor with my dressing gown, but that’s another story entirely!

Of course, I mustn’t paint the perfect picture. Not only have we both had demons to fight and battles to help each other through, we also fight and argue, just like siblings. It’s never serious and it never lasts for too long, but it does hurt when it happens. I always tell myself though, it only makes us closer, and our friendship stronger. We haven’t fought for a while.

I’ve concluded that actually, fourteen years wouldn’t have been better than the four we’ve had. Maybe we’d have smiled more as kids than we’ve managed in the past four years, but I also have a gut feeling that our relationship would be completely different. It wouldn’t be like this, and I’m not sure how I’d cope without ‘this’ in my life. It keeps me sane and healthy, and every moment we spend together is beautiful, no matter what the reason is. We always share, tears and laughter. Sometimes, it’s like we’re almost one. We were made for each other. We don’t choose our family, but this was the family member I did get to choose, and for that, I am forever grateful. In ten years time, it’ll have been fourteen years, and that’s just how I want it. I simply cannot imagine it any other way.

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