Friendship Over Tacos

by justine

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.”
The Book Thief

Living in a large, transient city like Los Angeles means that people come and go. And as my group of friends approach their 30s, everyone is settling in to the dreams they plan to pursue in adulthood.

Many of these plans involve leaving LA.

Last week, I said goodbye to Stephanie, the 4th of my girlfriends in less than two years to move on. She’s off to grad school in Maryland to become a nurse.

I remember reading her grad school application essay while we sat at my kitchen table. I remember giving her some advice on how to tighten it up, but to be honest, I felt unworthy. The essay was already well written, and it was clear she’d put more work into writing and rewriting it than I had into any project I’d ever done for school.

She not only studied her ass off to go to school while working full-time, she not only got into a prestigious school, but she received a substantial scholarship.

She is going to be fine, I know it.

Stephanie and I met in my last semester of college in a conducting class. I was abysmal at conducting, but I could tell that Stephanie, with her focus in film scoring, knew what she was doing. So I asked if she’d tutor me. I don’t know why. I struggled through 4 years of music school and not once did I ask anyone else for help.

Not only did she tutor me, but we hit it off immediately. We realized we were both from adjacent towns on Long Island and that we shared a love of books.

Fast-forward two years later, and Stephanie is doing a trip to scout out LA before she graduates. We grab tacos for lunch and pick right back up where we left off.

And that’s how it all began – my luck of getting to call her a friend for the past 6 years.

Since then we’ve gone on long hikes, run the beach path in Santa Monica, had a sleepover or two, went out for delicious breakfasts, given each other tiny gifts, gushed over Elizabeth Gilbert, shared books, and rode bikes. I listened to her while she went through really difficult times, and sent her mail when boys sucked. And she listened to me while I was manic with work anxieties and stress.

I watched her travel to countries alone, so in awe that she had the guts. And she flew across the country to attend my wedding.

Besides grad school, this year she also ran the fucking LA marathon *and* fell in love with an awesome guy.

I’ve watched her grow from a driven, lost girl, to a successful, joyous woman.

She is the most generous person I know. And I miss her like hell already.

I couldn’t be more proud of you Steph. xo

PS – We started the LA portion of our friendship over tacos, and we said goodbye over tacos last week, as you do in SoCal. Can’t wait till our next taco date!