I met Jessica in third grade. She stood by me even after I projectile vomited on the audience during our fourth grade choir concert. So I stood by her even when she disclosed she had chosen Infinity Dresses for her bridesmaids. When we arrived at the three-chair salon in rural Puyallup, Washington, I quickly Googled pictures of my desired hairstyle, knowing that my vision left to interpretation by this stylist would be reminiscent of homecoming 2004. We all took turns getting our hair done, sipped mimosas and put together wedding programs. As anticipated, the hair stylist/anti-Christ French-braided my bangs and secured my tightly wound curls with hairspray that has most likely caused permanent damage to my respiratory system.
With hair and makeup done, we made our way to the venue and somehow managed to figure out our Infinity dresses, thinking the whole time about what good friends we were. As the bride slipped into her fairytale Luly Wang gown, we were consumed with the reality that Jess was getting MARRIED.
Watching my childhood friend walk down the aisle was strangely bittersweet for me. As a bridesmaid, I was lined up with a few of our mutual friends and a few others she’d met at nursing school in Alabama. She had a beautiful outdoor ceremony and looked absolutely stunning. I was incredibly happy for her as she married Ryan, who is kind and honest and every bit deserving of Jess. However, with that feeling of happiness, I felt a little uneasy closing this chapter of our lives. This chapter during which we both moved across the country to pursue our careers, settled into new cities that gave us new perspectives on who we are and who we’d like to be. The same chapter had moved us back home when we learned how rarely life goes as planned.
Now, ready or not, we start a new chapter. Gretchen Rubin, whose book The Happiness Project reached number one on the New York Times Bestseller List, said it best: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Tomorrow I fly back to Los Angeles and Jess leaves on her honeymoon. I continue working my crazy Personal Assistant schedule, playing the dating game in Hollywood and she begins her life with Ryan. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little envious of that feeling she must have with him. That feeling that no matter what, you’re on his team and he’s on yours. What I do have, though, is the fact that I’ve yet to be eager for a chapter to close because each one is better than the last — because each of us is exactly where we are supposed to be.
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