Seven Years Ago, Seven Years From Now


Seven years is a long time. It was the last time I saw her.

I remember running through campus to find my sorority's rush flyer posted in a random hall. We snatched it down and ran back to our dorm. She knew I was an interest, and she was determined to do all she could to help me make it through.

Just like she'd done all she could to help me make it through my breakup freshman year. Like paying the man $25 to let me cut him in line so I could make a free "get over him" bear. Stuffed with love and adorned with a tiny t, that bear was everything I needed.

Her friendship was everything I needed.

And as we got closer in our synchronicity and friendship, she was slowly drifting away. I looked up and she was gone. Back home. I didn't even have the chance to talk her out of her decision. I didn't have the chance to save her like she saved me so many times.

Seven years is a long time. It was the last time I saw her. 

And I counted every single day she was gone. I'd lost the best friend I had, at such a large university, and I was afraid that shortly after I'd lose myself. 
I had nothing left but a huge dorm room and two twin beds. I'd like to say that's where my story of Christ gripping me by the lapels began.

Many people quantify friendships. They think the number of years you've known someone makes them your best friend. They suggest that those years automatically determine quality. India taught me otherwise. Because for the short time I've known her, she's proven to be one of the best friends I've ever had. One of the most missed friends I've ever had. One of the most life-changing friends I've ever had. 

Because iron sharpens iron, and she was the reason my blade was so precise; which is also why her disappearance cut so deep. She was the reason I wanted to do well academically. She helped me do well academically. She pushed me to pursue more than I was interested in pursuing - in all areas of life. And while she may not have ever known, my desire to be better came from her. Even long after she was gone. 

So on this International Women's Day, I have to take the time to thank the woman who was my purest example of friendship. The woman who has occupied my space for only a year and a half, but managed to sit in my heart ever since. The woman who taught me what true friendship feels like; who loved me through one of my biggest heartbreaks and who nurtured me back to a sound mind.
 A selfless woman.

A woman who urged me to enjoy college and all the sloppiness it may bring. The woman who told me to wipe my tears, while secretly crying her own. The woman who would never let me endure alone. The woman - who much like my mother - rarely let me see her pain, while she was uplifting me through mine. 

To the woman who unknowingly changed my life through both her presence and her absence. 

To the woman who embodied living life and loving it. The woman I'd crack jokes with and crack jokes on. The woman whose late laundry nights made time for loud laughs and stories from the night before. The woman whose love for writing and reading, somehow manifested into mine, now. The woman who allowed me to sleep on her dorm room floor time and time again. The woman who meant more to me than she will ever know. The woman who now, seven years later, is still the closest friend I've ever had. To you, India Butler, I dedicate this day. Thank you for being the woman I'm still longing to become.  

I love you dearly. Seven years ago and seven years from now. 

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