When we were 24, we moved to New York City together. We sublet a tiny apartment in SoHo; just the two of us and my cat in a cramped, noisy apartment. We relished in the fact that now we were each other’s emergency contacts, and we hung the first piece of mail addressed to our joint household on our fridge.
Where one of us went, the other was asked about. We were inseparable. Life was loud and dirty and difficult, but I was happy. No matter what, I had my best friend, my emergency contact. But now I have to leave behind this intimate life with my other half. Because I am moving in with my boyfriend.
So, now I am (about to be) a grown up. I will be living with a boy who is not my roommate and who, I hope, will one day officially become a part of my family. So what does that mean for my unofficial family? The “sister” who understands what I’m feeling before I do, who interprets my intention with one shared glance, and who has accompanied me on more late night trips to McDonald’s than I care to admit?
Well, it means our relationship is going to change. It means that, instead, my new partner will deal with me when I’m tired or hungry or cranky, will share late night secrets and laughs with me, and will be my emergency contact. But there is always a space that Jenny and Jenny alone can fill. Soon she will not be down the hall, but she’ll always be close – we’ll always be close. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be in New York. I wouldn’t have met Mike. I wouldn’t be facing the same future I am now, and I will always be thankful that I got to experience this stage of my life with my best friend for life.
I have a new best friend now. But he doesn’t replace the one who shares the “Best Friends Since 2002” bracelet set with me. And he doesn’t have to. There’s always room for more family – official or not.