As far as discovering a kindred spirit goes, it happened in an instant for Claire and me. Silly things like both coming from families of nine, or how the combination of our names was the equivalent of the hip magazine Marie Claire, or how we both "type" our thoughts on our leg, are a handful of things that made our instant bond feel like magic. It was as though God, from his throne overlooking the universe, cared enough to carry me from Germany and her from Utah and plop us together in the same "ghetto" college apartment in Idaho.
God put us in the same furnished three-bedroom, six-girl apartment, but we had to fight to be "room roommates." By default we were paired with two different girls from Pocatello who we now remember fondly, but who then were making our first college apartment situation shy of a clickish perfection.
After a few hours of knowing each other we had a game plan. We would swap mattresses (yes, swapping sheets would have been much easier), moving my mattress around an impossible corner into Claire's room and her Pocatellan roommates' mattress back around that same impossible corner into my old room. No, we didn't have permission to touch their stuff or evict them from their first-come-first-serve chosen bedrooms; they were victims of our compromised etiquette for the higher good.
As "room roommates" we would stay up late at night writing in our journals, doodling in the margins the names of our future children. We'd stay up all night long memorizing lyrics to songs packed with words and making goofy tapes. We'd talk about our pasts and inspire one another with our ambitons of being better people than we'd ever been. Whenever we contrived a new inside joke we'd write it on a sign and hang it on our bedroom wall. Between our inside joke wallpaper, my disco ball, and her cool Beatles posters our room was the perfect abode.
She'd pretent (cough) to be me (cough) on the phone, playing sick for the guys I didn't have the heart to turn down for dates. Most guys we dated felt they were dating two people at once. They didn't complain because together we were funnier and happier and more spontaneous.
Years passed and guys came along--guys that were all wrong for us. We thought we wanted to marry these guys despite how they made us cry and tore at our friendship. Suddenly I felt like screaming at Claire, "How can you date him??! He's all wrong for you!" And she was heartbroken and hurt when I chose to spend my Christmas break in Germany with a boy that was all wrong for me instead of be the Maid of Honor in her wedding. That is one of my deepest regrets. I so desperately wish I would have been there. I should have been there.
But we learned from the bad guys and saw each other through some rough patches. We left the boys that were all wrong for us and found men that were just right for us. We've found new best friends in our husbands, but the magic of our friendship still thrives. We still have major coincidental similarities, my favorite one being that we both have three-year-old daughters and infant sons.
So meet Claire, a petite blonde Irish-American girl with a stunning smile. She's a worrier who eats slower than a turtle; she's a phenomenal pianist who is the best bargain shopper I know. She's smart and hard-working and absolutely lovable and endearing.
I hope you all have a number-one girlfriend like Claire in your life.
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