When I was a lonely teen, I desperately wanted friends.
Friends near me. Friends I could hang out with all the time. Best friends.
I was in my thirties before I realized how lucky I was -- that I had so many friends. That I'd had a goal, and achieved it, all without even noticing. A heart-goal... a deep-seated need.
My friends who are kindred spirits, fandom [and fangirls/fanboys!], SCA and my fencing family, gamers, geeks, pros, penpals: so many friends!
Before I was ten, I had two best friends. I still had them when I'd moved, but they lived in the next township. In Michigan, unless you're in one of the few places with good public transport, a car is required. When you're ten, or twelve, or even fourteen, you can't just up and go see people without a driver.
But you know, I've always had friends. My brother was one of my very first friends. Despite our bickering during our teens, we were still friends and playmates.
I had my cousins. I was lucky that I grew up with cousins on both sides, so I had age-mates [as did my brother] and we played with them too. I'm still friends with my favorite cousins.
And now -- oh, now! I have friends around the world. I have friends around the country. I have net-friends and in-person friends, and friends I've grown up with, friends I've known for decades, all sorts of friends. I have friends who are exSOs and friends I went to uni with.
And you. Yes, YOU.
This is why stories about friendship affect me so powerfully. It's written into my heart. Freak the Mighty made me weep. Fire and Hemlock made me yearn for a best friend like T--. The Ticker in Finder. (I could go on and on.)
Thank you for being one of my friends. I love you.