My very first friend at the school I now attend is, was, and forever will be a short, adorable little Indian girl named Mallika. The first time we met, I mispronounced her name; that will remain a stain on my conscience until the end of time. She assigned to be my “buddy” (every new student has one remaining student that is essentially obligated to be their best friend for the first two weeks of sixth grade), so for our first outing together we watched Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds’ End. It made no sense and terrified me because a. I’d never seen any of the previous movies and b. because I don’t like action movies, which is why I hadn’t seen the previous ones.
In 8th grade, we came up with this strange inside joke where everytime we saw each other, we’d spring at the other and scream something, like “Huggie!” or “Huggle buddy!” I think we arbitrarily ranked ourselves the best huggers that ever lived. I also joined debate in 8th grade, while she had been participating since 7th grade. We were much different then.
Mallika and I go waayy back, and I’ve seen her transform throughout the years. While I flourished and grew 5 inches, she still seems as short/”fun-sized” as she always has been. Sometime during our time in high school, I discovered that we have similar music tastes, which is something that I get easily excited about.
We were even – gasp! – debate partners for a couple of weeks in sophomore year! Yeah, that worked out splendidly (half-sarcasm) though I can say with confidence that this was one of the most pleasant partnerships I’ve had. Yeah, we suffered through every loss and celebrated every victory together, the way an ideal partnership would.
So where are we now? Seniors, getting ready to move onto the next chapter of our lives. Debaters, that have stuck with the activity (an admirable feat for the rigor that our school requires) and even thrown themselves into the community, establishing deep relationships with fellow debaters. At tournaments, we pretty much always share beds, and I find her to be a great buddy, never rolling around or (unintentionally) grabbing me during the night.
I will cherish our adorable selfies forever, and thanks for not judging and instead having a laugh about the weird things that we both do. A toast to our wholehearted and wholesome discussions about both of our love lifes and friendship problems, and I hope that they continue long into the future.
…and happy 18th!