On Friday, my long-time forever friend Lauren is getting married. And so I’m packing for a trip to Massachusetts, thinking about the past 12 years of Coletta, and getting all varieties of giddy and emotional.
There’s a line in the movie 500 Days of Summer that reminds me of my friendship with Lauren. It’s when the little sister (the best female character in the plot, because, well, let’s not even get into what a b—- Summer Finn is) tells Tom “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soulmate.”
False, little sister. False.
Yeah, we’re going to go ahead and ignore the whole romantic premise of the line and get down to the obvious truth — the little sister was wrong. That ‘bizarro crap’ is exactly what makes Lauren Marie Coletta my soulmate. That bizarro crap is just the cream rising to the top — a latte of proof that we are kindred spirits — that has been confirmed over and over by process of mutual identical thinking.
Coletta was the easiest friend I’ve made. We were 14, and we were sitting in Earth Science. I couldn’t see the overhead projector slides (because I needed glasses and didn’t know it), and she had (has) perfect vision, so I started copying her notes. Those who knew me in high school, or yesterday for that matter, know that this is a big deal. I’m a bit snobbish when it comes to study buddies. Coletta’s notes were perfect. She abbreviated what I would abbreviate. Which is nothing.
Coletta our freshman year, sitting across from me in science. Look at that face and tell me it wasn’t destiny.
Pretty much from that point on, Coletta and I were together, from the 7am student council meetings, through the exact same class schedule year after year, to field hockey after school. In retrospect, it’s a pretty good thing we got along. I remember back then feeling like she was the other side of my brain — the part that could actually do math in a reasonable time frame. We loved Harry Potter, thought throwing an invisible ball during class was hysterical, found deeper meaning in the Disney Channel, and spent entire sleepovers creating new flavors for Ben & Jerry (“A Wok to Remember” — an Asian ice cream novelty). I remember thinking how odd it was that I could have so much in common with someone who had lived so far away my entire life.
Nearly all of my happiest adolescent memories include LMC. The two weeks spent wearing the same “good luck” field hockey sweats. Dressing up like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Halloween, dressing up for dances, ‘dressing up’ for ghetto nights at Applebees. Hiking, white-water rafting, midnight practices, weekends at the Cape. Late night AIM conversations. We learned to drive together, and her house was one of the first places I remembered knowing how to get to by heart.
Over the years, there have been visits. Summers spent travelling Route 66, eating Mexican food, and roadtripping to San Diego. Sleepovers in dorms and nights out on the town. There have been long phone calls and late night email catch-ups. There have been big announcements, big disappointments. One thing has been absolutely apparent — though I only lived in the same state with Coletta for two and a half years, soulmates stick together. Every time we talk, we just pick up where we left off.
As I sift through old photos and the memories float up, I’m most pleasantly reassured that, at the core, we’re still the same couple of 14-year olds we were back at Nipmuc. I think about all of the milestones and life changes and obstacles that have fallen across the pathways over the past decade, and I’m so, so proud of you, Lauren Marie. I’m so excited to get on the plane tomorrow and watch you take one more step in your fated direction. I’m so happy to share this time.
This is the part where I talk about how lucky (and awesome himself) Dave is and how happy they’ll be. I talk about their huge future and how their dreams are just starting to come true. I tell you I’ll cry as she walks down the aisle, and admit that my plan is to mainly watch her future groom’s face as he takes her in. And her Dad’s, too (Hey, Mr. C!).
And all that is true. But it’s getting late. My suitcase is packed, bedtime is long past, and all I’m hearing is her cackling laughter and the way Jeff Buckley sounded the first time I heard his voice in her parent’s Volvo. I’m shaking my head at the way she’d get so nervous before vocabulary quizzes that she’d physically tremble. I’m debating who is ultimately better, Johnny Tsunami or Zenon, and I’m wanting to chant, “What makes the grass grow? Blood! Blood! Blood!” I’m thinking about that August some years ago when we crammed ourselves into Miley’s princess tent, and the hours a couple summers back we spent at her then-new duplex eating bruschetta and playing Wii. I’m laughing at the journal we used to mail back and forth across the 3,000 mile span in order to “pass notes” to each other.
Mostly, I’m looking forward to watching more unfold. I’m convinced that we had it right from the start: bizarro crap is solid, sturdy ground for a lifetime.