I met her at my sister’s wedding. I was the maid of honor and she was the guest book attendant. I was immediately drawn to her and by nights end, we had agreed to be roommates. She was a year older than me so, by age alone she was automatically cool. She already had a year of college behind her which somehow gave me confidence by association going into my freshman year.

She was fun and funny, playful and vivacious, blond and gorgeous. She was dramatic, jealous, passionate and, by the standards of our small Bible college in South Carolina, she could be downright scandalous.

It was little things that bonded us at first: we wore the same size shoes and could share clothes and both had an unnatural love for our favorite musicals, often acting them out for one another in our small, girly decorated dorm room…entertainment we resorted to as we had no car between us, nothing within walking distance of campus and we weren’t allowed to have TVs. But we shared a lot more than just a room during those years in college. We shared dreams and drama, heartache and heart breaks as well as a love for the Lord.

As the years have passed, we have graduated and grown up. I have watched as she remained fiercely loyal to those she loved, even if she had been hurt by them. She has taught me to play more, laugh harder and not take myself so seriously. She is beautifully human.

These days we only get to see each other about once a year. Two years ago we went to New York and ate pizza in Brooklyn and saw Wicked on Broadway. Last year she came here for a weekend (with me and my 3 kids…not exactly a walk down 5th Avenue, but still). We keep in touch fairly regularly and always pick up where we left off no matter how long its been. She continues to always always have better stories than anyone I know. For example, strange woman asks her “Will you take a picture of my mom and I for me?” Sure. No big deal…unless strange woman is Queen Latifah. Or accidentally walking in on another woman in an unlocked bathroom stall…again, no big deal. Unless, of course that other woman is Cindy Crawford (or was it Brooke Shields?). True stories…they’re always true stories.

She is one of my favorite people and today is her birthday. We’ve been together on her birthday for the last few years…but not this one. She is on her end of the country and I am on mine. She celebrates with friends I may one day meet but will never know. It is right that she has people there, I have people here, and that our lives have continued. But I miss her. And I am sad that she is no longer a part of my everyday. But I am thankful for her influence, her heart, and her hilarious take on life.

Happy birthday, friend.