(Marisa and I before a scary movie, how did we make it this long?)
Our story began Fall of 1997 at Central Baptist Church. Free time was in session for us preschoolers, all of my peers broke off to play in their social circles, and I went to my usual spot which was a sandbox located in the corner of the room. After a few minutes of rolling this little toy car around , I started to feel a bit lonely and looked around to see if there was anyone who wanted to play. Everyone seemed content where they were, and even then I was too shy to join a group. So I turned back around and went back to what I was doing.
Suddenly a soft chiming voice came out of nowhere and asked, "hey do you want to play?" I turned around to look at the owner. She was this petite freckled faced redhead, dressed in a white shirt, pink jumpsuit and sneakers. Grateful that someone had finally come, I answered "ok," and invited her to sit next to me. We spent the rest of the day rolling the toy cars around, and according to her we also sang these silly made up songs. Ever since then, that girl has been my best friend for twenty years and her name is Marisa Partelo.
Even though she lives an hour from me, the distance between us does not define our friendship. I remember that when I suddenly fell ill winter of 2008, she did not desert me like several people who I thought were my friends did. When I lost my paternal grandfather to cancer, Marisa was the first friend who I called and she consoled me while I grieved. Not once has she ever judged me for my learning difference, if anything her sassy attitude helps me find humor in my flaws. For instance, the GPS can be a hit or a miss since I will misinterpret the auditory and visual direction combined. As a result, I have often been responsible for us missing exits and we almost ended up in East Lyme once instead of Stonington. Not exactly the most reliable co-pilot, but Marisa thinks that it's hilarious and helps me laugh about it.
Now before you say aww or grab your tissues, I'm going to shake things up a bit. Also Marisa, if you're reading this and thought for one second that this post would be all flowers and rainbows, think again. All of you should know that I don't remember the last time that Marisa and I watched a PG or G rated movie. We love to drink angry orchard whenever we go out to eat. We make MMA fighters look like saints with all the trash talking that we throw at each other, God help anyone who will ever have to be a witness.
I am the merciless and at times heartless prankster. I have done everything from taking Marisa to horror movies, showing her jump scares on YouTube, and she freaked out when I changed my desktop background to a picture from The Exorcist. On the other hand, Marisa is the merciless and at times heartless agitator. She has made me try baby food, will cover me with makeup since she knows that I don't like it, will go slightly over the speed limit to annoy me, and her best comeback yet is asking me to be her maid of honor,
Yes she will the tie the knot next year, and you're probably wondering why her request of me is a comeback. Well don't get me wrong, I am honored and humbled to be part of such a celebratory milestone. However being the maid of honor comes with the shopping for dresses (I don't like to shop) I'll need to wear make up (Marisa has plenty of horror stories about that), and I need to dance (it's one thing for me to dance in front of people I know, it's another to do it in front of strangers).
The most hilarious but brutal trick that Marisa pulled on me, was when she said that it would not be a traditional wedding, so I was convinced that being the maid of honor would not be that bad. However on one of our shopping excursions, Marisa said that she could not wait for the best man speech. "Wait if he has to do a best man speech, then do I?" I had stopped at the realization, she just shot me a Cheshire cat grin and made a smart aleck comment about my gullibility. Good one Marisa, don't think I'll ever let that one slide. For the record, I absolutely detest getting up and speaking in front of a bunch of strangers. Marisa is my best friend though and I refuse to let her down, so I'll do it. Now do you see why the maid of honor is one of her comebacks? Well I guess it's all good. As long as she knows that I'll have tricks up my sleeve when my future wedding comes, then we're solid.
Despite our strong yet unconventional friendship, Marisa is truly a blessing. She is the embodiment of a true friend because of her loyalty, humor, generosity and caring nature. To know that she has been there for twenty years is more then I could ask for. Even though Thanksgiving has past, it's not too late for me to reflect on how thankful and fortunate I am to have Marisa in my life.
My hope is that all of you will find not only true but long lived friendship. Friends come and go, but the best ones are those who stay by your side for a really long time. It may be hard to find that friendship, but once it happens, the reward is truly wonderful. Thank you and hope you find blessings in all you do!