If I had to talk about my best friend in the world, the first thing I would do would be not to say his name. Never. Names are something humans play with too much, but they are the only thing that can identify us. I mean, if you do not have a name, you do not exist. At least that’s how things work here. Did anyone think about it before? Someone’s name is something so important and we give it constantly without thinking about it. It is something you carry since you are born, since people who don’t know you at all –people who can’t see the future and who can’t guess how are you are going to be when you’re a grownup- choose it even before you learn how to talk, as if they didn’t want you to protest about it. People are constantly making up a lot of stuff that you’re supposed to be and do if you have this name or another (we all have seen this websites that base all that guessing in the etymology, as if that was that easy). Names point you as someone unique and are that thing mafia uses to put a beautiful horse’s head in your pillow. Names are so important.
Saying a name can take your anonymity away. We never wanted this story to stop being ours and secret in some way, but at the same time we thought it could be good to share it. That’s why we decided to write it. That’s why we’re here – I’m here trying to talk about my best friend.
TJ Hudson – which is a pseudonym, not his real name - and I are friends since we were kids. We met when we were nine-years-old, when our families moved at the same time to adjoining houses. Well, technically he arrived before, but that doesn’t matter right now. The best of all was that we became friends so quickly (but just because I was a very cute and friendly girl, to be honest, ‘cause he was not so hustler at that time).
Here we are now since then. It’s been almost ten years. That’s more than the half of my whole life, and maybe that’s why I cannot imagine a day without seeing him. It’s insane. At least we don’t usually have arguments, because if we argued all the time it would be so like my parent’s marriage and that would be so disgusting and uncomfortable.
Even if I don’t say it often because I’m not a girl who likes to express her feelings easily, I thank him that we became friends that first day of July, when we arrived to the new house and my sister pushed me so she could climb the stairs first and choose the best room. I remember that I was pushing a box full of books all around the garden and that he was playing with a tennis ball against his house’s wall, catching it every time it hit the wall. He saw me and ran to give me a hand. Without saying a word – in that kind of silence we let be when we’re kids, when nothing’s uncomfortable, nor difficult, and there are no reasons to be worried – we carried the box to the door and, when we put it on the floor, he raised his head to me and said “Hi, my name’s TJ”. And then I said my name too, and he grinned at me with that lovely smile he still has and then asked me if I wanted to play with the ball. It was as easy as that. Because, even if nowadays kids are usually mean and cruel, he was not. He has never been mean. The truth is that he’s a boy with a huge heart. And I’m so thankful for that very first moment and that smirk, because that was when it started.
I do not have to explain that our relationship hasn’t been always based on making his mum mad because of that stupid game. TJ and I have spent our lives together, I already said that, and obviously we’ve changed since we were nine. Nevertheless, while the people I know looks as if they had slowly rot inside, as if it was so important to win the I’m Growing Up And That’s How Grownups’ World Works game, he’s been able to stay fresh and transparent. He has always been there for me. While I fought the chaos in my very first teenage years, TJ was the only stable thing in my life. Obviously we all miss that innocent and blond skinny boy, especially since he grew as much as the list of the girls that have a crush on him - which I think it’s normal, because I have to say that his DNA it’s been beautifully recombined and he really did it well when he decided to work on his six pack - but his essence is the same. He’s still the hand I need to hold sometimes. He’s still the goofy smile that I need to greet everyday.
If someone asked me how much time I think our friendship is gonna last, answering “always” would be one of the things that would make me happier.
There are some people who come into your life slowly, like if they were ashamed, and then there’re the ones who open the door without knocking and jump into your bed as if they were at home. Ellen McKenzie, my best friend - that’s not her real name, of course - is the second kind of person. Which I love. I met her a few months after moving on and, if I thought in the very first moment that she might be kind of helpless pushing that box full of books, I was completely wrong. Ellen’s like a hurricane. I knew it when I introduced myself and she looked at me with those big, decided, bright eyes (so bright, that kind of eyes you cannot help staring because they’re just too spectacular to be in someone’s face) and said her name and wrinkled her little nose and half smiled at me, which made her plump cheeks swell. I think that, since that moment, the word to describe what she made to me is that she enthrall me. She’s an amazing person, probably the most awesome person I’ve ever met –and, also probably, that’s why she’s been my best friend for that long time-. I swear to God she’s like a whirlwind. You could listen to her while she’s talking (always fast, really fast) for hours and she shouldn’t be saying anything interesting because you wouldn’t mind. She cannot use that voice to sing, that’s true, but everything she says turns immediately into a tale.
When Ellen laughs, her whole face turns bright red, as if all her blood had decided to gather in her head. Well, it’s not just when she laughs; it also happens when she’s angry, or she’s a little bit ashamed, or too ashamed, or when you say something kinky and she’s afraid someone’s heard it. She blushes constantly, and I love it. Not because her face’s suddenly so red and cute –which is not, I mean, it looks like her head’s gonna explode or something. I love it because it’s funny and I enjoy inducing it.
The best about Ellen is that she’s always laughing. She laughs all the time, and she can make you laugh too even if you’re not in the mood. She just wants you to smile. And she also tries when she sees your - my - lame efforts of fixing whatever did her world look less sunny. And when she tries to make you feel better when you tried to make her feel better even if you had no success, that, that’s the best of her. What makes me wanna hug her. She never says “I’m tired” or “Leave me alone”, she just lets you love her and, at the end, she smiles and her cheeks swell in that way I’d love to pinch them.
When Ellen and I decided to write this, she grinned with that light in her eyes, like the first day we met. We were in her house’s garden, also like the first day, under May’s hot sun. School was over and we just had some finals before summer. I smiled back at her. It looked as one of her great ideas. I just hope this works okay.
Here’s our story.