Invisible Friends

It is a truth universally acknowledged that making friends as an adult is hard. It’s awkward and uncomfortable to get close to someone new at this point in your life, especially if you’re like me and have had the same best friend for sixteen years. Prior to about two years ago, I was totally Sam Weir from Freaks and Geeks:

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Then, Peaky Blinders happened. With my induction into the world of fandom, I was suddenly communicating regularly with people online, people who shared my interests and passions, who came from all over the world and had interesting stories to tell.

One of those people was Brenna. Brenna didn’t give a shit about my two friend policy. She kicked in the door with one size-six foot, sat on my metaphorical couch and made me her friend. Being friends with Brenna is like being friends with the host of a party where you don’t know anyone else. She walks you around and introduces you to people and tells them how wonderful you are, and because everyone trusts her, you leave the party with ten more friends than you arrived with. She’s human sunshine. She makes things grow.

It would take ages to write out the progression of everything, but I’ll give you the condensed version: Kristine and Brenna were internet friends, Kristine and Brenna met in person and became even better friends, Brenna and I became friends, Brenna facilitated friendship between me and Kristine, Kristine decided that her 25th birthday would be best spent in California with her sister Kim, Brenna… and me!

The girls flew into LA on a Thursday, Brenna first. I picked her up and we went to get coffee and to check out the Last Bookstore, which was amazing, and an adventure in navigating Downtown Los Angeles that I’d not like to repeat any time soon.

Then it was back to LAX to pick up Kim and Kristine! We took the coast home, had Mexican food for dinner and went to bed early to prepare for day 2: Kristine’s birthday at Disneyland!!!

So all three girls had been to Disney World, but none of them had been to Disneyland. hadn’t been to Disneyland with a rookie in ages, and getting to see them experience the magic for the first time was a gift. I had previously introduced Brenna to my friend Angie online, so Angie joined us for the day and added to the fun tenfold. We spent the whole day laughing, eating, taking photos and screaming on rides — I can’t imagine anything better.

Saturday we were all Disney-hungover, so we kept our day close to home and only ventured out for açai bowls (a California must) and a bit of sightseeing. There’s something very special about being able to see your hometown through new eyes. I take Ventura for granted more than I should. It’s a pretty amazing place.

Sunday we did the Santa Barbara Zoo, a quick drive by the mission, and then over the 150 for a scenic drive to Bart’s Books in Ojai. We found an old family Bible at Bart’s Books that was full of birth, death, and marriage records, old pressed flowers, and family photos from the late 1800’s through the 1920’s. Looking through that book was one of those moments that sticks with you. It reminds you of the vastness of time and space and makes you wonder what you’re going to leave behind when you’re gone.

We came home and made brownies and watched Hocus Pocus. I guess it could seem like an anticlimactic end to a whirlwind weekend, but I wouldn’t call it that. I’d call it hygge. Cozy. I’ve come to love these girls so much over the past couple of years that sometimes just texting with them at the right moment made me feel warm and safe. It was actually kind of surreal to have them physically there in my house making me feel that way.

It’s my hope that this is the first of many adventures together.  I can’t believe how blessed I am to have found friends I connect with so well when the odds are so high that we never should have met, and it feels like some kind of magic. Like something that should be celebrated and held sacred.

I heard someone once call their online friends their “invisible friends,” and I’ve come to really like that. Having them is like having an extra arsenal of love in your back pocket. It makes you feel that you’re never really alone.  Even though I miss them and I’m counting down the days till we’re physically together again, I know that I have them rooting for me in their own corners of the world, and that’s pretty special.

Published by clairelaminen

I am a Ventura, California native with a compulsion to create. I'm a storyteller, through writing, photography, and occasionally music. Weekends are for camping with my husband, reading, and hunting for vintage treasures, which I sell in my Etsy shop, Peace & Goodwill. My favorite things include lavender lattes, swimming in the ocean, true crime podcasts, The X-Files, and Peaky Blinders. I hope to become a full-time writer, bestselling novelist, and a continually improving reflection of God's grace. Proverbs 16:24

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