We'd shared classes before, met through friends, knew each others' names. And yet for years, we didn't talk. Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if we had talked back then. But I'm certain that if we had we wouldn't have become the friends we are now. It would've been the right time but we weren't the right people yet.
But then we became the right people and I found myself opening up to her faster than I'd ever opened up to anyone. For a long time it scared me that I didn't know why I trusted her so much. And she opened up to me too, something as rare for her as it was for me. About struggling with loneliness and the lack of true friendship. About how she felt like people wouldn't be friends with her unless she slept with them. Months later she told me that she had trusted me because I was the first guy she met that didn't make her feel like his friendship depended on her sleeping with him.
When I came out to her in the midst of a panic attack about my gender, her only reaction was to reaffirm her friendship and support of me. Instead of refusing to talk about it she encouraged me to examine my feelings rather than burying them once again. She pressed me to go to therapy, to try to get better one last time. And when I came out to my parents she stayed on the phone with me for hours until I passed out from exhaustion.
How do you tell someone that they've changed you? That just having them in your life makes it worth living? How do you tell someone that you would give anything to make them happy? How do you tell them that you can no longer remember what life was like before you met and that you can't imagine life without them anymore?
I visited her in Boston once after graduation. We had dinner with her boyfriend and watched movies and talked for hours into the night. The next morning she took me to the train station. As we were standing on the platform she suddenly turned to me and hugged me. "I'll always love you," she said. And for a moment, I forgot that I was trans, unemployed, and lonely. For a moment it didn't matter that she almost certainly would never love me the same way I loved her. We stood there, holding each other: two people in a train station, hugging on the platform like there was no one else around.