It started on the balcony of Manley dorm. A crowd of girls was jumping, dancing, and shouting to the greek gods of exclusivity, “We’re sisters!” Whitney Bost was on that balcony—we’d invited her. Though technically not exactly part of the family, it was only a matter of time. And while she pined for inclusion—I stood wondering, did I really just sign up to pay for these friends? We both stood on the periphery of the dancing, and then struck a deal.
If she lived with me sophomore year, I’d feel less a part of the cult. And if I lived with her, it would give her an excuse to keep hanging around this balcony. Plus, I was leaving for a semester in China for the fall, so she’d have the room to herself half the year. That settled it. We were going to be roommates.
That summer, Whitney and I didn’t talk much, and when August rolled around, Whitney moved into our double-room by herself, and I got on a plane for Shanghai.
By the time I returned, that balcony pact felt like a bad tattoo engraved into your lower back on your 18th birthday. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. But what did Whitney Bost and I have in common other than the fact that we’re both 5 foot 3 inches and brunette?
Plus, if we were being honest (which we rarely were, at that point), we were both miserable.
Whitney had isolated herself with a boyfriend while at Furman, and I had isolated myself from everyone halfway across the globe. We rarely talked, and were rarely in our dorm room at the same time. We started talking about rooming with other people for junior year. Our experiment had failed.
Then one day, there was a phone call.
Hey girl, I’m on my way to class, just wanted you to know I left the room in shambles. I was doing laundry and I just left it all over. Sorry it’s in everybody’s way.
Ha! Yeah, EVERYBODY is so pissed.
At that moment, something changed. We both broke out laughing, and somehow, somewhere, the proverbial ice cracked right down the middle. It wasn’t so bad. I wasn’t pissed. Soon, Whitney broke up with her boyfriend (after I boldly asked, “Why are you still dating him?” and she didn’t have a good answer), and I started crawling out of my China-induced-depression.
I introduced her to a guy on my Young Life team.
They started dating.
We went to Young Life camp together, as leaders.
We didn’t live together junior year, but might as well have. We lived together senior year. Now, looking back, we say we lived together all four years of college. But that’s boldfaced.
I was an accomplice at her bachelorette party and a bridesmaid in her wedding.
She showed up at my doorstep just minutes after I got engaged.
The best friendships start in unlikely places. I thank God for Manley dorm, that balcony, and that call. I thank God for Whitney.