Non-Coincidence Number One: Staying Together
Story By: Allie Kawata
Your persistence is admirable, my dear prince. But you cannot win my heart with…
“A sofa that says, ‘I have style, but I like to be comfortable,’” I said, waving a card in the air.
The room around me exploded into shouts.
“Not ‘basic human decency’?”
“What about ‘tasteful sideboob’?”
“YOU DIDN’T LIKE ‘SELF-LOATHING’?”
It was two days before Christmas in 2014, and there were seven people jammed onto the furniture in my parents’ living room playing Cards Against Humanity (read: having an hour-long, good-natured screaming match). They’re highly competitive, prone to singing, willing to stick around through thick and thin—my best friends. And if it weren’t for a handful of coincidences in late 2009, I probably wouldn’t have any of them as friends.
Coincidence Number One: A girl forgets her glasses at home. Her biology teacher swaps her seat so that she can sit at the front of the room to see the board.
Coincidence Number Two: Two people pick random seats on the first day of ninth grade English. Later they’re paired up for a round of Mad Libs.
Coincidence Number Three: Another girl can’t do conditioning with the track team because it falls during the same period as choir. She ends up with the tennis and golf teams instead. One day, she and one other are the only girls in a sea of tennis and golf guys, start talking and quickly become friends—the kind of casual, usually-transient friends made every semester when schedules line up just so.
These and a dozen other small things all just happened to occur in the right order, and the beginnings of our friend group formed. I arrived thanks to coincidence number three, but not until almost a year after my friend and I had that class together. Once as we had lunch, she invited me along on a group Disneyland trip—and the rest was history.
Nearly four years later, that same Disneyland group, plus a few more, were crowded around my parents’ living room, screaming (affectionately) at each other over card games. At that point, our friendship had made it through graduation (mine a year earlier than everyone else’s) and the dispersion of our group across time zones to different colleges, with all the associated stresses of change. This isn’t to mention what the coming months held: boyfriends and girlfriends, transferring schools, engagements, and soon, a second geographic reshuffling as some of us head off to grad school.
Our worlds are constantly shifting around us, but there’s one thing I know will be constant. When I go home for the holidays, at some point we’ll crowd into someone’s living room—passing around Martinelli’s, kicking each other trying to fit four tall people onto one couch, looking around at a half dozen ridiculous people who have known each other for five-plus years and still, somehow, decide to stick together—and I will be home.
There’s nothing quite like that feeling. I’d be lucky to find it even once, much less every time I return home. I hope I never take it for granted, especially because I did nothing to earn it: if a dozen small events hadn’t aligned just right, none of us would have become friends. We can thank the universe for those coincidences.
But the thing is, our friendship hasn’t lasted due to chance. We may have met by way of some cosmic blip, but that’s not why we’ve stayed together. Friendships are built on commitment (plus fourteen-hour Disneyland days, hating the same foods, and sleep-deprived midnight movie premieres), and we have all proved time and time again that we’re in it for the long haul. The past five years have held the best friendships I’ve ever been fortunate enough to have, and I know the next five—and ten, and fifteen—must hold even more.