It was the first time my flatmate and I had really spoken since we moved in together 5 months ago. We had said hi and bye, and updated each other about what was happening on the day but this might've been the first time we had sat down, had some food, and really bonded.
We were both contemplating our jobs - navigating between our creative (the more fun) and analytical (the better paying) sides, and having similar decision fatigue about being interested in everything and simultaneously not being particularly great at anything. We talked about our lifestyles and what our ideal day-to-day would look like and then finally, landed on the topic of friendships.
It's here that I should probably mention that my flatmate is also my best friend's boyfriend. Though we all went to university together, he has primarily been known as 'Sako's boyfriend' to me, and everyone else who knows him vicariously through my stories.
I mentioned that I had been grappling with the idea of making more friends. That I was getting the impression my mum was getting worried about my lack of social interaction. That at work, someone who had gone to school in New Orleans came in to speak with us and mentioned in passing that she didn't have many friends because she had just moved here. "Don't worry, I've lived here for close to five years and only have two friends", I had replied. My measly attempt at making her feel better about her situation pretty much propelled her into a well of pity for me, instinctually offering herself as another option.
"It's all by design. Kyling doesn't want any more friends", my CEO had said. Super to know what your boss thinks of you.
I relayed this story to my flatmate, realising that he had just about a thousand friends. That was one of the reasons we had gone so long without having a real conversation. He was always out - at dinners, at volleyball practices, at a friends house, at a party. It was one of his selling points Sako had used to show him off - something about how he had so many friends come to his birthday party and it was so last minute! That must mean that everyone was willing to drop their plans to come, which must mean something about his character. He must be so nice. When I pointed that out, he smiled faintly, saying "yeah, I guess I have many friends, many people I know, but I don't have friends like you do". Yes, you have more, I think we've established that, I had thought before he went on. "We used to play this game - who would save you if you were in a burning car and I don't know many people that would".
In that moment, I realised it was an instant-replay of a conversation he had had with Sako a few months ago, where she had pushed back on him thinking she should be making more friends, too. "If I was in trouble, if it was the middle of the night and I needed someone, I know for a fact that I could call Cat or Kyle and they'd be here, how many people could you say that about?" and I couldn't help but feel a little like that girl from New Orleans, volunteering as tribute to save myself from the awkwardness of feeling sorry for someone I actually thought had it all together.
As cliche as this all sounds, I knew then and there that I had made the right choice. That given the opportunity to have a hundred friends, I'd take my two ride-or-dies who had been there through every heartache, celeration, every piece of drama-llama life had to throw at me, every failed job interview then every successful one. The two people who I have a permanent attachment to for life. Literally, because they forced me into getting matching tattoos that I do not want to regret, ever.
To Sako and Cat, who would only ever read this because of their undying love and support for me.