Last year on Feb 14th I got a package in the mail. It was a dozen chocolate covered strawberries. They were beautiful and sweet and they weren’t from my husband.
When I was 21 and in college I hardly dated. I’m a terrible dater. I’m an asshole when I’m nervous and the only times I’ve ever considered suicide were during awkward pauses. My roommate and I made an H-E-B run for milk and ended up buying two-dozen chocolate covered strawberries. We spent the evening like we spent most evenings: in the doorways to the hall between our rooms. She on the left halfway listening and halfway watching an ABC Family movie on TV, and me on the right, talking about The Office and why I should change my major, again. It was the best Valentine’s Day I’d ever had.
Fast-forward almost ten years and I was crying all over my counter top. I’d had surgery earlier in the week to remove the “mass” from the surface of my eye and diagnostics had come back positive the day before. I had cancer.
My daughter crawled into my lap and I handed her a strawberry. I thought about my best friend, almost an entire state away, and started crying again. Because I missed her. Because two days before I joked that I’d have to cash in her “God-Mother” card early. Because she’d laughed and then said, in all seriousness, that she would always take care of my girl.
I squeezed my daughter close, and smiled through my tears, because I knew in that moment, there was never anyone else I’d want to leave her with. There was no better example of a woman, a mother, a sister, and a confidant than the friend who had been each one of those things for me.
So when the world tells you romantic love is the greatest love, it’s fine with me if you tell the world to shove it. Because sometimes roommates become soul mates, and it’s totally OK to have more than one person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
The husband and the wife they’ll come. They just do. It’s easier to see the love that stands before you. But the people who love your guts, the people you can talk to for hours about everything and nothing, the people who know exactly what you need and when? You have to look for them. You have to find them. They are their own great love, and in my experience…
…they’re always a little to the left.
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