This is a letter I wrote to my friend C for her birthday five years ago, her 30th. The week before last she turned 35. Five years ago, a girlfriend of hers that I'd never met somehow pulled together email addresses for many of the people in her life and sent us all a prompt—to choose our favorite memory with C and a photo to match—and then she created a book for her with all of our responses. Below is what I wrote. I think if I were to respond to the same prompt again today, the words and memories would be different (Maine! Wedding! Zion! Humboldt! Las Vegas! Topanga! Tulum! Painting your bedroom ledge!) but the sentiment would be exactly the same. It is neat to see how the way we talk and write changes along with us as we grow. Anyway, the five-years-later milestone struck me last week on a hike and I remembered the existence of this letter. So here you are, C, a love letter redelivered. Happy birthday, again.
I have way too many wonderful memories with you, my churri, to even consider trying to pick one. That would be, well, totally impossible. Where to begin? Popcorn. Basel. Brothers and Sisters crammed on that tiny sofa in that tiny salón with all the churris in the freezing cold Madrid winter. El italiano. Asturias. Cuenca! Cácerces. Mérida. Valverde 49. Infantas 30. Valverde 36. La Ardosa. Las Fiestas de San Isidro. La Escuela Oficial de Idiomas and that painfully dull teacher. More popcorn! The moment when you clicked "enviar" on your grad school apps after 36 hours locked in Sira's room (during which we only fed you pizza from the italiano), walked out into the hall, and promptly burst into tears (I think I was already weeping in the salón). More popcorn! C doing cartwheels in the Picos. C doing cartwheels on the playa. The moment at Kisko's dinner party when, at 2:00 a.m. on a weeknight, they began to pour rum and cokes and you turned to me with a look of total disbelief and said, "It is a Wednesday, isn't it?" Driving to Asturias together. Hiking around Asturias together and eating way too much cheese. That nostalgic afternoon of yours in Oviedo. Driving back home to Madrid. Sweating our booties off in Cuenca with the churris. You swimming in frozen creeks in Solán de Cabras. Laughing hysterically listening to Rosa tell jokes. Laughing hysterically listening to Sira tell jokes. Walking around Parque Oeste with you and Sira and watching the two of you jump up and down on fallen fruits, just for the joy of squishing them. Being miserable together in smoky, loud bars where we couldn't hear nor make ourselves understood, but were too in love with our lives and our friends to go home and actually sleep. Watching you fall in love with Ludo. Having you as I slowly fell out of love. Watching you wear the same clothes to work three days in a row because you love your friends so much you couldn't say goodbye. But perhaps most of all, I love that you, like me, would go to the ends of the earth for a great block of cheese. The moldy green kind in particular.
I am so glad we adopted you, sooooo glad we shared Madrid, and equally thrilled that you have adopted me now. I love that you are insanely smart and beautiful but still (inexplicably) have meltdowns where you think you are neither, have traveled the world but have no ego, and are from LA but grew up Izzy style. You are a fabulous women C; be proud of yourself, of your choices, and know that you are one of the most down-to-earth, real, driven, clear-minded, and loving people I know. Happy 30th churri. I totally, totally adore you. I am honored to have you as my friend and can't wait to grow old together.