My friend who lives the closest has become my friend who lives furthest away. We went from living in buildings next to each other, to living in opposite hemispheres.
Nina and I met at a home church. We had the typical “where do you live” conversation, then realized we lived in the same condo complex, traded numbers and became fast friends.
I think God orchestrated our paths to cross. When Nina and I met, we both needed a neighbour friend. And that’s what we got.
When I was sick, Nina brought over a care package. When it was busy season, I brought Nina dinner. We shared bottles of wine, pots of chili, and bags of apples.
We had many text conversations that went like this:
“I’m having a horrible day.”
“I’m pouring wine now, come over.”
Or like this:
“I just heard there’s a food truck festival in Waterdown.”
“I can be ready in 15 minutes. Are you driving?”
One time, I had to run a random errand late at night. I saw that her light was on and texted to see if she wanted to come. She did.
We walked a lot. To the grocery store, to the mall, to get frozen yogurt, but mostly with no destination in mind.
We watched fireworks and sunsets, and ridiculous YouTube videos. I will always think of Nina when I see Despicable Me or hear City Harmonic.
We talked about bad dates and good dates, about joys and heartaches, about mistakes and family and dreams and fears and Jesus and life. We laughed a lot and cried a bit.
We ran into each other in the parking garage, at the grocery store and once on the street. Our lives intersected naturally and wonderfully.
Because of Nina, the last two years of my life have been fuller, funnier, and a lot less lonely. A friendship like that has God’s hand all over it.
And now, Nina’s on her way to Australia for a two-year secondment with her job. Instead of the communal rec centre separating us, there are a few countries and an ocean. The neighbour chapter in our friendship is over, and a new and exciting chapter with us at opposite ends of the earth is about to begin.
This is what the word “bittersweet” was created to describe.
But I’m inspired by Nina. She’s choosing butterflies in a really big way, and it’s been awesome to journey along with her as she made the decision to go, and watch how things fell into place.
And while we won’t be able to wave from our balconies anymore, I’ll be cheering her on from my corner of the world, as she’ll cheer me on from her corner of the world.
That’s what the next chapter looks like. It’s a new chapter and I’m not sure of the details. But that’s how the best stories go.