Dear Abby,

Long were the nights of Muchas runs, walks to the play across town, trips to Portland for church, those visits to Elise’s house for roomies or movies, and tea parties in our dorm rooms. I miss those nights sometimes, but I’m glad I have the memory of them.

Long before college, when we were just cousins, we always had a routine when we’d have visits. We’d start out getting along great, then we’d argue over something petty, then we’d leave on not-so-good terms only to repeat the cycle all over again. Sometimes, it’d take a few days to get through our little routine, sometimes a few hours… But it was ridiculous nonetheless. 

To say you’re one of my best friends is an understatement. I know we’re not as close as we were in college, living right next to each other instead of in different states, but I honestly still think of you as one of my dearest friends. When we do manage to fit a visit into our schedules, it’s always the same as we left it: yes, we’ve both changed since college, but our friendship is still there. You are a friend as well as family, and that’s one of those rare things to find in a person.

Instead of figuring out the roomies song, or going to dinner together on Wednesday nights. Buying those flowers for our mutual friend, or even just dinking around on the computer, recording our version of White Winter Hymnal. Instead of living life side by side, and doing things together, we send snaps back and forth, and I get to know you’re doing fine in Oregon. Those kids you take care of seem all too happy to have you as a nanny, and I’m glad to see you looking just as happy.

“Ficta schnee cortan thiw,” as I wrote that down, I laughed as autocorrect tried to replace the words. That made up language we’d freak people out with was great. I remember telling Christopher that it was some sort of middle eastern language that his dad just happened to know… Like what even are the odds? And when we knocked on Andrew’s door, greeting him with words we didn’t even know how to translate, only to have him join right in. Good times. You always knew how to make the most ridiculous things so fun and comfortable despite the odd looks we’d get. I miss just being odd with you. 

Or that night, when we were practicing to go on for open-mic, only to be asked to perform alongside that group of guys who were apparently some sort of big deal band on campus. It took one practice round as a group, and about an hour waiting to go on stage before we performed none other than White Winter Hymnal. We were late for the chair decorating thing, but that was still one of my favorite memories of college. 

I’d see you on campus as I’d be headed to a worksite on that gator, only to stop and drop you off at class before heading back to work. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to drive you around in company property, but I didn’t see the harm in it, and we never got caught anyhow. You were the only one who’d go out of your way to reassure me that I did a job well done as I’d rake the leaves, or prune the shrubs, or water the trees. Alot of the student body seemed annoyed at the groundskeepers on campus, easily ticked off by a spot on the grass with a tire mark, or a leaf that was missed in the quad. You were the opposite, so thanks. 

You were there when I got married; you were there for my first day of college, and my last; you were there with me to see the fire damage at critter cabana; you were there when I just needed to talk. You are the kind of friend who is so far from judgemental, or crude. You are so positive, and God’s love is on display in your life. You’re one of the only friends I’ve had in life that I feel comfortable enough around to say anything. It takes alot for me to be that comfortable with someone, even if they’re family, so thank you. Thanks for bringing out the fun side of me in college, thanks for being there to listen, pray, and talk things out with. Thanks for truly being there for me when I just needed a friend to rely on. Thank you for still being that friend despite the distance. I love you cousin. 

With appreciation and love,

Melissa

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