I’ve written about my friend, Jessica, before, but this time is a bit different because she FINALLY visited me in Chicago a few weeks ago for a glorious three-day weekend over the Labor Day holiday.
For me, Jessica is the person who will always be in my life. She’ll always be that someone I think of everyday, someone who I can connect with all over again even after being 10,000 miles away from each other, someone who knows all of my deepest and darkest and still loves me. I don’t have many people in my life who’ve I’ve entrusted my heart to, but Jessica is one of those people who holds a very special piece of my heart. We’ve known each other since middle school but grew closest in high school. We both share a love and passion for words. We lived about a 5 minute drive from each other during my time in small-town Florida, and my most vivid memory of spending time with her was when a hurricane swept through Central Florida our senior year in high school, and I spent days at her place complaining about the heat (because the electricity was out) and napping and talking together in her mom’s bed. High school was a weird time for me. Like many kids that age, I didn’t quite knew who I was, but we always found each other somewhere along the way, and I am forever grateful for her endearing love and friendship.
Given our past, I wanted to make her visit to Chicago special because it was her first time in a big city, and we hadn’t seen each other in two years, I believe. Way too long for best friends to be apart, I know. I’d say my planning went over quite well though. I took her on foot around the magnificent mile, we gawked at Chicago’s Gothic architecture and stunning churches together, and we dined on a really expensive (but tasty) appetizer at the top of the Hancock Tower re-connecting as if we’d only be apart for a few days. I also took her on an architecture tour, which I had never been on either! It was incredibly interesting. I fell in love with Chicago all over again. Deep inside, I’m such a huge history buff. I absolutely love hearing about Chicago’s rich, and dark, past. Speaking of which, we also ventured through the World Fair exhibit at the Field Museum. It was just as awesome as I thought it would be. We ended the weekend at the Second City laughing hysterically, especially at the very end when the cast did some stand-up. Somehow, we ended up at a bar down the street from Second City where we talked, and supported each other, just as we always have.
It was a very special weekend for me, and it made me miss her so much more when she left. Before I left Florida, I was pretty miserable. I worked hard at two jobs that paid me next to nothing, and I had moved to a part of Florida that I hated and found boring. But, when I left, I realized what amazing friends I had there. Jessica’s visit flooded my mind with such sweet memories of college, and although I’d never go through high school again if you paid me, I have sweet memories of high school too. I miss parts of Florida, but I’ve come to realize that those parts I miss are my friends (and family….but my mom and step-dad have moved so my heart will follow them on their retirement adventures).
Friends like Jessica are valuable. I’ve had many people come in and out of my life–some that come in and out like the wind, gently touching my life and allowing me to learn something about my life–others like fire, roaring and fierce, sweeping me up in a whirlwind of emotion and disconnect–and others that never leave–anchors in this crazy thing called life. These are friends that God placed in my life permanently for a reason. But my wind and fire friends have also taught me so much about who I am as a person, and all of it has brought me to this moment.