Talya Jill Loken has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. Our relationship could be considered fate, her mom was my dad's dentist and then they realized that they had daughters the same age and that they lived in the same neighborhood.
The rest is history; we had endless sleepovers that were filled with imaginary games, Wii sports (specifically the sword fights), and running around outside until the street lights turned on.
Talya was a curly blonde, blue-eyed, ball of fire and I was blue-eyed, brunette, laid back kiddo.
What a pair.
We were like yin and yang friends, a perfect balance, and our parents couldn’t keep us away from each other.
Talya sadly had to move back to her home state of Wisconsin when we were in 4th grade. It shattered us.
I remember the last playdate we ran around outside per usual through neighbors sprinklers, but this playdate ended with us hugging and crying. We knew it wouldn’t be the end of our friendship - it was only the beginning (hehehe had to have a little tender moment in there).
We stayed in touch, wrote letters, and sent each other gifts that reminded us of each other.
Middle school was a weird time. Neither one of us had phones really and we both had a lot going on during that period, both good and bad.
Freshman year of high school my dad showed me a picture of a girl that looked all too familiar. She had curly blonde locks and braces.
Tears welled up in my eyes. Talya!
She had never left my memories, but I had so much going on the 3 years in middle school felt like a blink into existence. My dad told me that he had spoken to her mom and that Tal and I should reconnect. There was no question I wanted to.
We began Facetiming for hours. Catching up on everything there was to catch up on. We decided that we wanted to see each other face to face. I bought a plane ticket and we planned an exciting week for our reunion.
My heart was beating so fast when I got off the plane. I was going to see someone I hadn’t seen in 5 years. I remember spotting her and her mom holding a sign I ran up and hugged her and we cried. We even have a cute little video of our reunion. We went to Lollapalooza right after we got back to our hotel. That day is something I will never forget. I was at a music festival with my best friend who I hadn’t seen in years, it was surreal.
We knew we had to make a pact to try to see each other at least once a year and so far it’s worked out. ;)
We have surprised each other, made weekend trips, met each other’s friends, boyfriends, coworkers, etc. Together we have made some of my favorite memories, laughed until we cried, and we always pick up where we left off. It never feels like there were 7 months in between each of our visits. It doesn’t feel like we are 529 miles from each other, approximately 7 hour and 49-minute drive.
This isn’t a regular “living-like a local story,” but I’m sure it is something most people can relate to since quarantine. It can be painful to not see someone you really would like to see.
Hopefully, everything can chill out so we can see each other this year. Talya is my forever friend and I hope you guys get to feel a friendship like this in your life. :)
Keep supporting local and stay kind.