In middle school Orchestra, the viola section was reserved for badasses. It was a group of four girls who wore ripped jeans, wore dark makeup, had boyfriends, and listened to alternative music that you would never hear on the radio. They were their own clique and although I was part of the orchestra, I never talked much to them. I was too intimidated.
By the time I entered high school, the viola section had split apart as a few of the girls stopped playing their instrument. And when only one of them continued on to join orchestra in high school, I was surprised to learn just how nice she really was.
I learned that her name was Miranda. She had a wicked sense of humor. She was incredibly intelligent. She loved Phineas and Ferb, comedians, her friends, and her boyfriend.
One day in the tenth grade after we had slowly started to become friends, she invited me to spend the day with her at the mall while her mom worked at a kiosk selling children’s music. Of course I agreed to go because, who wouldn’t want to spend twelve hours at the mall? (I learned the answer to that question quickly. ME.) I remember being a little nervous since we had never hung out outside of class before but I figured that all the excitement at the mall would keep us busy regardless of whether or not we had anything to say to each other. It turned out though, that I had nothing to worry about.
We went from store to store looking at the most outrageous clothes we could find and scouring each store for the perfect dress for her sweet sixteen. We ate greasy food in the food court and returned back to her house where her mom made the most delicious Italian dinner that we stuffed our faces with and then fell asleep in her tiny twin size bed.
Before I knew it, we began having dance parties, gave each other nicknames (forget Abbey, just call me Cabbages from now on), and bonded over music that we both hated (at the time Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” was usually the punch line of most of our jokes). I watched on in admiration of her growing relationship with the boy she had dated from middle school—Bryan–and dreamed of some day finding someone like that for myself.
Because although Miranda and Bryan are young, their love is unequivocal. It’s a rare treasure to find what they have. A needle in a hay stack. A diamond in the rough. (Insert your own cliché about unique discoveries here.)
What’s so special about their relationship is that they’re friends first. Best friends, actually. I may like to think I know Miranda very well, but I can guarantee that Bryan knows her a million times better. Throughout their entire relationship they have each lived their own lives doing the things that they each like individually, doing the things they both like together, and always meeting somewhere in the middle to compromise and work through any situation they are put in. They are devoted to one another and are willing to make their relationship work under all circumstances. They take the effort to understand the other person. They communicate. And because of this, they rarely fight. They have decided to be a team where both sides put in an equal amount of effort.
So when Bryan proposed to her at our senior prom, it was no surprise that Miranda said yes and the wedding plans began. And last summer, I had the privilege of being a part of their wedding. Many people are surprised that they got married so young but if any couple is going to survive, it will be them. Because as I watched her walk down the aisle, it was obvious what true love was. It wasn’t marrying the person you spent your whole life wishing for. It was marrying your best friend. Because no matter how close Miranda and I get, there’s no one who will understand her better than her husband. I see their future as something beautiful and amazing and I know that when they’re old and gray they’ll be walking along the Florida coast still holding hands.
This is because they share all three components of what constitutes consummate love. They like each other and share an emotional connection–intimacy; they share a physical connection–passion; and they are seriously devoted to the other–commitment.
I can only hope that one day I experience consummate love in this way. I hope that I can find someone who brings the best out in me—who doesn’t make me feel suffocated or stifled, but let’s me be myself and explore my identity in all aspects. More importantly though, I hope one day I can do that for another person the way Miranda has done for Bryan.