Admittedly, I am one of those people who has more than one best friend. I put them into categories, I suppose; the best friend who’s basically like my sister, the best friend I talk to the most, the best friend I’m married to, the best friend by way of history together. It breaks all the rules because by definition “best” has a singular implication, but when it comes to unimportant rules I am all about breaking them. Don’t tell my mother.
When I was thirteen years old and fantastically awkward, with bad teeth and glasses Husband refers to as “goggles,” a penchant for the band Hanson, and a major flair for the dramatic (which may or may not still be present in this 28th year of my life — that would make me 27), I attended a Church camp. Before you start imagining me at a retreat, singing songs about Jesus with my hand raised to the air like I just really want to share my answer, let me explain that it was more or less an opportunity for a bunch of teenagers to get together and feel less weird about being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This isn’t to say being a member of the Church is weird because it’s actually super awesome in my opinion, but I think we can all agree that being 13 and into worshipping God isn’t always going to be the popular choice.
That was the summer I met K.
She was probably the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen — full of the confidence I was sorely lacking without being arrogant. She was who she was and that was perfect for her. In fact, even though she wasn’t even my camp counselor, I found myself afterward with a camera full of photos I’d taken of her. When she taught the aerobics class in the mornings, I attended that. I wanted to be around her so I could learn how to become like her. And when I found out she was also an adoptee, that piqued my interest further. On the last day, full of this audacity that won’t seem to let up, even now, I asked her for a photo with her (like she was a Disney princess) and for her address. I wanted to become penpals. Looking back, I wonder what it was that made her agree; to act like this was a perfectly acceptable, normal thing. If I’d been in her place, at 18 or 19, I would have been cordial, but I never would have written back.
But luckily she and I are different that way, and we became best friends through letters written over the course of five years. It sounds so archaic; after all, our grandparents corresponded by way of letter-writing, but for K and me it totally worked. When we re-connected in person during a long weekend in San Diego and I was about to graduate high school, she introduced me to Krispy Kreme donuts and P.F. Chang’s and Cold Stone ice cream and fish tacos. And when were both older, when she had a husband and three children and was still willing to hang out with me, she introduced me to Boba.
Friends encourage their friends to drink Boba. In fact, a couple years back when I had a temporary roommate I did just that, but she didn’t quite care for it and to be perfectly honest I think that might have been the downfall of what could have been a fabulous relationship. K took me to a hole in the wall Chinese restaurant in her hometown with a really vast Boba menu, and we ate (and drank) ourselves silly. Aside from being really delicious, Boba is always served up in these enormous cups with equally enormous straws, and I think that’s what appeals to me the most.
If you don’t know what Boba is, then you should, and I am happy to be the one who’s educating you. It’s a fruit smoothie, most likely made from a syrup that has absolutely no real fruit in it, which is how it should be, served up in a cup that has black tapioca balls, a little larger than pea-size, in the bottom. If there is someone out there who can describe Boba any better than that, then I genuinely hope he/she is a professional writer. I think the appeal of Boba is the aesthetics — you’ll be sipping your cold smoothie through that enormous straw and then surprise! Chewy Boba ball. I actually despise everything about tapioca, but Boba is completely different. It’s like a gummy bear, without the irritation getting stuck in your teeth, and it’s flavorless (despite its being black and looking a lot like it will taste like licorice), so it pairs well with any flavor you choose.
It’s just one of the many things K taught me about life. I’d say she was the sole reason I was able to make it through puberty totally unscathed (not to say that my parents were somehow not present, but there are things sisters can help with a lot better than parents). I still remember the phone conversation in which she first told me about Boba, probably better than the one when she told me she was getting married, or the one when she told me she was pregnant with her first child.
Awhile back, Husband and I went to a Chinese restaurant in our town (I will never refer to it as a hometown…not even if we stay here indefinitely, but please, God, don’t let us stay here indefinitely) and I was exceptionally pleased to discover they served up Boba. I’m even more pleased to say Husband liked it; if he hadn’t, I’m not entirely sure what I would have done.