Jade and I have been best friends for many years (precisely 12 years, 5 months, and 4 days), and since it is her birthday today (in the western hemisphere), this is a tribute to her. After the show please stay for a photograph quiz (or just scroll down and skip hearing about my best friend in the whole world, you heartless monster).
(Today feels parenthetical.)
When Jade and I began to hang out in choir freshman year of high school, we clicked instantly. We both shared the same fascination of all things unimportant. And by that I mean our giddiness about matters (such as our fake band) manifested itself in the form of secret handshakes, extensive and incriminating plans that we wrote down in about ten notebooks, and the overuse of exclamation points.
I just finished reading a notebook she mailed me titled, “Emily and Jade’s Letter Folder V”. Each page is filled with our correspondence during a month of high school. I just finished reading the whole thing, and I must say it was very anticlimactic. We were so afraid of someone getting ahold of our precious Letter Folder that all the juicy information is circumvented with vague references and promises to each other that we’ll “give the details later” and requests like, “Please switch places with Erik at lunch so you can tell me what happened. If you don’t want to do that then you can tell me in 7th”. Our fears were based on the hard, cold truth of the previous year. One of us (not I) had left the third CEJ Letter Folder (The breed of folder that involved all three of us) out on my patio where my mom found it, read the whole thing, grounded me, and then refuses (still) to give it back. But at least we know where CEJ Letter Folder III is; the others are MIA.
I even wrote about needing to buy a safe to keep the notebook in so no one can find out about what we are really up to. So now I’m just left with accounts of strange events like when I stopped brushing my hair because I discovered “it’s not actually necessary to do so”. True I suppose. But then I explain that it’s “an attempt to make my hair wavy/curly. “ I thought it was just another silly idea I came up with but never followed through on until I read about the 6th day of “my anti-brushing of hair campaign”. Jade had to step in at that point and explain:
“Not brushing your hair isn’t going to make it wavy/curly. It might make it scraggly, like you just got finished riding in a convertible w/ the top down, but not wavy/curly. You can try though. If you’re not going to brush your hair, then I’m not going to cut my toe nails.”
It’s especially frustrating to read Jade’s letter on a certain Monday at 10:43am.
“I’m sorry, but this must be said. He is soooo obviously saying that b/c he feels dumb. How can he go from ‘I really love you’ to ‘I love you in a friend way’ in one night? I guess it’s possible, but it’s just so obvious. He really is starting to annoy me. Whenever we have a chance to walk alone together and talk, he always joins us and we can’t talk! It’s soooooooo annoying.”
Who is “he”?! Who loved me? Or Jade? I’m not even sure who he loved… or didn’t love, depending on whether he was telling the truth. I think Jade was onto something, his story doesn’t add up. But who is he? Jon M. or John R. or one of the Jakes? Seems like every other male name in the notebook was either Cameron (there was a big Cameron and a small Cameron), Jesse (there was a big Jesse and a small Jesse), Jake (there was an old and a new), David, Sam, or John (there were exactly seven, I know because there is a list of them on page 28). There are also tons of references to Carrie, of course. And, our friend Randee makes an appearance, writing, “HEY JADE THIS IS RANDEE! THE FOLDER IS NOW CALLED ERJ (Emily, Randee, Jade). REMEMBER THE TIME WE ATE THE BROWNIES @ KAYLA’S? IT WAS FUNNY! BYE!” in neon green marker.
Now that I really analyze the letter folder (despite all signs that point towards that being a waste of time), I realize Jade was often helping me with my problems. She had problems, too, but the ones she wrote about were of this type: “I’m exhausted” or “I hate graphing” or “I want to go to sleep in at least one of my classes, but I can’t today.” She always seemed to know how to fix her other real problems she alludes to in the letters, and I remember this being the case. I on the other hand needed help with everything from why un-brushed hair doesn’t turn curly to how to get over Jon, which was apparently…
“a serious, serious (and chronic) problem and you are really gonna need to help me overcome it. I’ll do anything (short of pass Algebra or make out with Henry)… I’M STILL NOT over Jon!”
Wow. That two month relationship must have really been special (relatively).
But just like a true friend, Jade figured out how to help me:
“About your “PROBLEM”, there really isn’t much you can do to get over Jon. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the gosh-darn truth!”
A particularly low point is when I complain about my “noisy neighbors especially the stupid crying baby!” and ask Jade if I should post the following note on their door:
“You don’t live on a farm. Our backyards are small. If you could please keep it down, I’d greatly appreciate it”
Jade said the note sounds like a good idea, but I should omit the farm part. By the way I wasn’t a baby hater usually. I babysat little kids starting when I was 10 (not sure why parents let kids babysit their kids, but it did happen… for two dollars an hour).
My favorite part is when I refer to Taiwan. So now I have proof that I knew this country existed. I even spelled it correctly. This is exactly what it says (there’s not even a new paragraph after the ellipses; I wrote it all together like that):
“Hey, I’m in sociology and we are discussing the possibility of a WWIII soon. I kinda got lost as soon as he started to explain the whole Taiwan wants this b/c this and we have a missile set up here or there b/c this or that… New Jake is so cutie. You know what is so cutie: when he says something like “No way” or when something weird happens on TV and he opens his eyes real wide and gets all into it like he’s a little kid or something. It makes me laugh.”
See, in high school I was all international and stuff. In my defense, New Jake was from California and had natural white-blonde hair. He was also extremely tall, so he was a bit of an oddity and a legitimate distraction from learning about WWIII, which never materialized afterall, Mr. Mitchell.
And TWO pages later I wrote:
“Last night I reached an epiphany… I don’t like New Jake. He didn’t really do anything wrong; I just don’t like him. I have to tell you the details later.”
See, all the juicy stuff was left out.
Not everything about Jade and me was so superficial. Two times our relationship struggled when a boy came between us, but we always persevered in the end. And we’ve both helped each other through some rough times. Before I came to Taiwan, we even lived together in Austin. And she’ll be visiting me here in April!
Life can be difficult and your hair might get scraggly, but as long as you have someone you trust with all your heart to help you through it, you can get it all brushed out.
Happy Birthday Jade!
I love you!
So here’s the deal readers. I’ll show three photos. Guess which of the three is the item that was bought in Taiwan. The other two are things in the care package Jade sent me from the U.S. Good luck! (If you’re wondering why on her birthday I get a package, I can’t write it here, so sit next to me at lunch and I’ll explain.)