A girl lands at a small midwestern university hundreds of miles from home.
On move in day she meets another girl who has also traveled far to make this campus her home.
The two girls bond during multiple trips to Meijer where they purchase Ramen noodles, candles galore and the occasional random dorm room necessity like a chair that flips to a single bed.
They meet two other girls their first semester. They marvel at how they all have chosen this place.
The four of them become a team.
The next four years are spent commiserating over papers due, boyfriends gained and lost, dreams for the future.
They pick different majors.
Some join sororities or play sports.
But the four of them remain a crew.
They travel to Florida for spring breaks and make the journey across the water where Europe will temporarily pull them apart (some for longer than others).
They always come back to each other.
They move in to a house their senior year and vow that nothing;
no one ever will take them away from each other.
Their wings take them in different directions, move them down different paths.
One gets married and moves to DC.
Two others start their lives in Boston.
And the fourth heads to Rochester to carve her own way.
They gather every four months or so in one of those cities to navigate the waters of adulthood together.
There are more weddings.
They move cities and they begin to build their families.
Their friendship is the constant.
There are fights. Moments of anger with each other.
They endure the growing pains of life.
As always they come back together.
They turn 30.
Life gets real.
There are miscarriages.
There is a marital crisis.
A parent dies.
The friendship becomes more-they are a family.
And now their babies are the visual reminders of their friendship.
The children are “cousins” the other mom’s are the “aunts”.
There is a divorce.
New life changes.
Another parent dies.
They cling to each other like life rafts.
They are fiercely protective of one another and the love they share.
And now as they sit, staring down the hallway of 40, they plan for 40th birthday trips to Key West where spouses and children aren’t welcome.
Not because those men and those babies aren’t important or central.
No, it’s because this friendship deserves a singular moment where the women can honor the role they have played in each others lives.
And that one girl.
The girl who traveled to that small midwestern university with no idea where the path would take her.
She now wonders if these girls,
who have seen her through more seasons of life then she could have ever imagined,
if that maybe they aren’t her great love story.
These ladies just might be the love of her life.
She can’t wait for their next chapter together.