I remember sitting in Bill’s basement anxiously waiting because I was there to specifically meet you. Austin had the grand idea of having us meet each other at the weekly “game night” that your group of friends had…something like a blind date. Austin made me sit next to the only other empty chair at the table which was obviously meant for you. I protested a little but sat down anyway. I nervously waited and drank my awkward mixed drink made of Sunny D and Smirnoff. You finally walked down the basement stairs wearing your Northlane hoodie and made a bee line to the fridge to grab a beer. You sat next to me, we awkwardly looked at each other and said hello and then we all proceeded to play board games. As I went to leave that night, you were outside smoking and I said bye. I couldn’t really see much of you besides your shadow. You said “Have a good night” or something like that and I was sure that would be the last time I’d probably see you.
Then a couple months later you randomly asked me out on a date before you left for bootcamp. I said, “Sure, why the hell not.” Again, I was sure that after this one date I’d probably never see you again. Maybe I’d ask for an address to write once or twice to be nice but things wouldn’t go farther than that.
I’m not sure if I had maybe one too many mudslides at Friday’s or what it was, but somewhere in between our laughing, eating cheeseburgers and telling stories I knew this wasn’t going to be it.
And it wasn’t. You left for bootcamp and I wrote you every day. I ran home after school every Thursday anxious as hell for your letters and it got so bad that my mom just started bringing them to the train station when she came to pick me up.
Then you graduated bootcamp and I met your family for the first time and saw how you were with them and I fell even more in love with you. Someone ran into the side of my car while it was parked outside my house and you knew I was devastated so you called right away to ask if I was okay. I fell even more in love. You randomly sent me a stuffed kangaroo and penguin since those are our favorite animals. Fell more in love. My parents gave their approval and said you were perfect. More in love. We’ve been through bootcamp, A-school, Power School and now Prototype and I seem to love you even more after whatever we go through.
Now it’s your 23rd birthday and I love you even more than when it was your 22nd birthday. And when it’s your 87th birthday and you need a walker and your grandkids help to blow out the candles I will love you even more than I do now. You are my absolute best friend and one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. You have stood by my side no matter how crazy my dreams were or whenever I made a mistake. I’ve laughed with you. I’ve cried with you. You have taught me things about life that I’m not sure I could ever have learned anywhere else. You have shown me that love does exist and that there are good people on this earth even after I had just about given up hope on all of that. My life has become that much more beautiful since I have met you and I can never thank you enough for loving me like you do.
So, my dear, I hope you have an amazing birthday filled with lots of Budweiser and happiness. You deserve every good thing that has come your way and I am so damn proud of you. I love you beyond words. Don’t you ever forget or doubt that.