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Almost 20 years

I met her when we were three years old. No pun intended, but I was SUCH a Chey child. I would not speak unless I felt comfortable, & back then, I only felt comfortable talking to my

parents, siblings, & Mommom. I always envied how confident my big sister was. She loved...scratch that because she still loves...talking to people. She never Chey-d away from conversation, always loved meeting new people, & was always making new friends. I used to question why I couldn't be more like her in that aspect.

My mom has never said it, but I'm sure she was anxious about me making friends throughout my educational life. "You're a lot like me," she'd say. It meant that I was introverted. She wasn't wrong. I'd have my dad stay in the back of the classroom because the thought of being "alone" was too much for a 3 year old me to withstand.

But then I met her.

I was standing at the top of the jungle gym, staring at the fireman pole, too scared to go down. I let other kids go before me--watching them grab on & slide to the bottom effortlessly. I had finally built up enough courage to touch it, but once I did, I quickly withdrew my hand & stepped away.

And then she said, "Watch me go first & then you try! Okay? It's not too scary."

I nodded and watched her. She landed on both feet & ran back up to meet me. She encouraged me, told me where to put my hands, & reminded me that I didn't need to be scared because wood-chips would cushion my landing.

The rest was history.

I don't remember a time where we weren't in each other's lives. Through many different hobby changes, performances, games, breakups, vacations, graduations, we've always been each other's Yin to the Yang. There has never been a milestone event that we did not experience together.

She is my forever person.

Most people hear that & think that a forever person is someone who you share a romantic relationship with. I completely disagree with that. To me, a forever person is someone who sticks around when the situation is the ugliest, loves you when you're at your lowest, supports you no matter how small the idea is, reminds you of your worth constantly, listens without judgement. A forever person is someone who you can trust with your entire heart & know that they will never forsake you.

She is my forever person.

A lot of people wonder how we've maintained our relationship for so long. Whenever asked, we both sorta shrug & then laugh. There is no secret to making our friendship work.

We just love each other.

We have enough respect for each other to understand that we are two, separate individuals who have lives outside of the life we share together. Yet, we still make time & effort for each other. We are not the type of friends who talk to each other every day or every week, even. We are the friends who can go weeks without talking & pick back up right where we left off.

So, there is no secret. Truly genuine & good friends are hard to find. So, when you do find one, you gotta hold onto her tightly...& let her know that she has another 20 more years to go with you.

May your day be ever filled with love, light, and of course, an abundance of chicken tenders💜🌻✨

Cheyenne Pajardo

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