“If it’s time to go, remember what you’re leaving. Remember the best. My friends have always been the best of me.”
"It's a good day to be good"
We sat two rows away from each other for 4 ½ months and had no idea how close we would actually become. A year later we were in the same choir class. We started talking through a mutual friend and slowly started talking every day. Soon the school year was coming to a close and the final dance of the year was just around the corner. Big, green posters littering the walls of every portion of the school telling girls to ask to the dance, “Morp is coming” signs around every corner and everyone was talking about who they were going to ask and how. I decided on this boy I’d been texting for weeks, Alex, a tall lanky boy with sandy blonde hair and could blow most anyone away on the guitar. He wouldn’t be 16 until three days after the dance but that didn’t stop me from hanging a pink teddy bear from his front porch, holding a sign that said “Don’t leave me hanging.” And it certainly wouldn’t stop his response of a bucket of ice on my doorstep, filled with slips of paper with different messages written across each of them. An hour and a half was spent sifting through those papers and I progressively got more and more upset. Anger and frustration bubbling up inside me, causing me to stop texting him after about 20 minutes. After going through every one of those 200 plus papers with no avail I refused to talk to him until I got my answer. The next day I opened my locker to find a giant poster with the words “Whoops, forgot one” and a small slip of paper taped to the bottom with a “YES!” written across it. Little did I know that would be one of the best dates I ever went on and our cleverly obnoxious creativity would be a defining moment for our friendship for years to come.
The door opened and I couldn't quite see what all the hubbub was about. The walls were brown, the amphitheater style seating was a bit steeper than I had anticipated. Gold pipes with shiny noses poking out above more brown, the framing of the organ, it seemed like a normal choir room. The students shuffling in, each with their different shape and size. I sat in the back with the rest of my class ready for this excursion to show its true colors. My high school self was sitting there trying to grasp the idea that this would be me one day soon. I had just got dumped 2 weeks prior and the wound was still fresh. I sat, quiet, in the back of that auditorium next to Alex. A boy sat on my other side. Alex introduced him to me. His mess of brown curls bounced as he sat down his deep dark freckles and a voice higher than any bass I had ever met. This was Garian. The three of us talked, laughed and caused entirely too much ruckus in the short 50 minutes we were there listening to the choir. At the end of what I’m sure was beautiful choir music walked out of that auditorium better friends than ever and I walked out that day having laughed harder than I had in weeks.
A message I got more than once via Facebook that started a friendship that I would always be so grateful for.
“Wanna play the question game?”
This was an experience Matthew and I laughed about regularly. We never really hung out until about halfway through our senior year when fate or circumstance brought us together for a date. Having promised Garian that I would be his first date. I recruited Matthew to help me out. We had to plan a makeshift date in less than 12 hours in order for me to keep my promise. We sat at the granite countertop in his kitchen throwing ideas at the wall in hopes that one would stick. I was ignoring my stomach’s aching, not wanting to be rude and ask for something to eat. My ache in my stomach begin to claw its way to my vocal cords to voice its displeasure with my lack of nutrients. It was in this moment that I caved to what I thought was rude and simply asked if he had anything I could eat.
He said as he pulled out a toaster and some bread “I was afraid to eat anything in front of you”. He looked at me with a big bright grin like he had just told the funniest joke in the world. His teddy bear like cheeks showing his dimples and his whole body jiggled as he started to laugh. His laugh was contagious and I couldn't help the chuckle that escaped my lips as we proceeded to eat the entire loaf as toast. Delicious, delicious toast. Before we knew it the majority of his kitchen was covered in all kinds of breakfast food, from purple jams to orange juice his kitchen had never been so colorful. Between bites of toast and sips of orange juice we laughed and planned this makeshift date in record time, my stomach moaning from laughter and having been fed. From that moment on we were near inseparable.
It was always the four of us. Sitting in Matt’s basement. Its white walls covered in pictures of temples and Christ, courtesy of Matt’s mother. Every night was a collection of faces. Each night different but almost always those 3, consistent smiles shining through the darkness of the basement brighter than the blue glow of the TV screen. As time passed more faces were added to that brightness. Each smile a reminder of the love around me. Mckay, Austin, Rylie, Tyler, Tiffany, Alyx, Madelyn; Brought together in that mansion of a house. Every day Matt’s car would be outside each of our houses. It’s low rumble a comfort in winter. It’s blasting music a party anthem in the heat. Celebrating the good. Coming together to fix the hardships. Sharing scriptures and testimonies. Crying together, laughing together.
We were bandits, we were adventurers, we were missionaries and we were friends. It was one of those friendships that just happened and until you look back you had no idea it would change your life. We were slowly approaching the day Matt would go off to college and none of us knew what was going to happen. The night before he left, we all sat in his basement. So many people were there but as the night progressed people kept leaving. The night dragged on and it was starting to get late. I looked around me and realized it was just the four of us now, Matt, Alex, Garian and me, sitting in that basement just like we used to. We decided to go for a drive so we piled into Matt’s car and began to drive. The music was its classic party anthem, the gray leather seats of his van squeaking as each of made even the slightest move. We were laughing and smiling. We found ourselves at the Y parking lot. The music began to mellow down and conversation got deeper. Matt started to talk about how he was afraid to leave. And we all listened. Then one by one we each gave our best advice, sharing a story from the Book of Mormon or our own personal experiences in life. One of us shared the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo, their strength of heart, another one of us compared it to the Stripling warriors, their courage to leave their homes and families. Garian said “it was a good day to be good” a saying that quickly became our slogan. These boys are my stripling warriors and in the following months this slogan kept me going. I don’t remember all the stories that were told that night, but I do remember I have never been so grateful in my entire life.