Hopefully you read that title as being a drawn out, multi-syllabic rendering of “best” and not as pronounced like “beast.”
This week, one of my most favorite people on the face of the earth, Miss Katie Booker, has packed up all her things, left her wildly successful job and will move 3,000 miles across the country back home to California. I am equal parts happy for her and sad for me. This occasion seems like a monumental opportunity to wax poetic publicly about how much I love her and how better my life is by having her in it. I am lucky enough that there are several people I can say this about, but….none of them are moving this week.
I’ll always remember Bid Day 2005 when we all nervously milled around at Theta, trying to meet each other and not say anything stupid. Somehow it turned out that Katie and I were the only two living on South Campus and I became her official chauffeur of the new member ed process. Those 10-minute rides to and from the house forged our friendship for everything that followed: adventures, fun nights out, becoming real adults and dealing with sadness and disappointment. We went from being within spitting distance of each other in our tiny bedroom at the house, to a 30 minute train ride from NJ to NYC, to a 4 hour bus ride from Boston to NYC. We’ve always made it work and don’t let more than a couple months pass between seeing each other. Now it’s a cross-country flight, but I’m happy to have someone to visit in San Francisco.
Booker reads through my crankiness and petulance like she has some sort of Jess Infante Playbook and has talked me off many a ledge. (I’ll let you in on a secret though: while I had pneumonia senior year of college and she had to share a bedroom with my coughing and hacking, she asked if maybe the sickness was in my head. One spot of petulance that you miscalculated, Books. Sorry you had to wear that ridiculous SARS mask.) Anytime I’ve ever needed her, she’s been there faster than I could even ask. When my dad died, she took the train out to New Jersey to be with us every day until the services and brought snacks (I told you she knows me as well as I know myself, yes?). She came out and spent the following Thanksgiving with us and brought some much-needed cheer to a holiday that will forever have rather shiteous connotations.
Three years go, I made what I thought was a big move from NJ to Boston to go to grad school and roundly patted myself on the back. Katie knew she’d be happiest at home in California and made a plan to dismantle her life in Manhattan and redirect the career she built. Because she’s talented, intelligent and all-around fantastic, she’s already landed a totally awesome job and I am so incredibly proud of her for making this move.
You read all these trite quotes about friendship and think they sound nice, but until you’ve actually had a friend walk through true tragedy with you, they don’t mean much. With Booker, the one that comes to mind is Walt Whitman’s “I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends.” I don’t know that I can ever be the kind of friend for her that she’s been for me, but I try really hard. And I’m going to start by setting a fare alert on flights from BOS to SFO. Love you much, lady. I’m so happy the panhellenic gods brought us together all those years ago.