The Communicator

The Communicator

The Communicator

Inseparable, yet Separated

How one of the most important friendships in my life taught me the power of connection, withstanding separation.

It felt like there was no air in the room. Hot tears rolled down my face as I sat on the hard wooden floor of my bedroom. The summer heat was dwindling and I could only hear the sounds of crickets chirping. The moon illuminated my room as pictures and trinkets were scattered across the floor. Although months had already passed, the realization had finally hit me. My best friend lives 500 miles away from me.

I have known Lizzie ever since I was in middle school; we followed each other on Instagram, had each other’s Snapchat and shared mutual friends, but we went to different schools. Later on, we wouldn’t even attend the same high school.

It was fall of 2020, and I was starting my freshman year of high school online. Sitting in my dining room, I was surrounded by screens daily. When I wasn’t on my computer doing homework or logging onto Zoom, I was on my phone for hours, scrolling aimlessly and texting friends I hadn’t seen in months. Undoubtedly, there was a social disconnect between me and my peers. I felt overwhelmingly alone, and had been told a myriad of times that freshman year was like no other year in high school — “this is a crucial time, it lays the foundation, both academically and socially, for the next four years.”

But I wanted to face my discomfort. I pushed myself to talk to those outside of my social circle, which were my friends from middle school and family. The pandemic eliminated socialization that school instills, but I didn’t want that to dictate the social life I knew I could have. I shared this frustration with a friend, and she told me that she thought Lizzie and I would be a perfect fit: same humor, similar interests and personalities that just meshed.

Quickly, we made plans and I couldn’t help but feel excited and nervous simultaneously. At a young age, I was shy, keeping to myself rather than actively seeking out friendships, and under the circumstances of the pandemic, new heights of shyness and discomfort arose. But these fears immediately dissipated as I was met with Lizzie’s warm and caring nature.

My evenings mainly consisted of lengthy FaceTimes with Lizzie, dissecting our days, watching a show together or simply enjoying each other’s presence as we completed homework. In a strange way, the pandemic deepened our budding friendship. I did miss the ease of seeing friends in person, but these new margins allowed for a different kind of intimacy.

The summer going into my sophomore year was full of unforgettable memories: late-night movies with copious amounts of popcorn spilled everywhere, long and sunny daytime walks near Argo Park and sitting on the floor of her living room, playing Egyptian Rat Screw as our favorite songs filled the ambiance. I knew that sophomore year wouldn’t be like the year before; we were going back to school, but I didn’t fear that our friendship would diminish — our bond was unbreakable.

The year went on, and Lizzie and I spent as much time together as possible, or at least we tried to. Our schedules tended to make that unfeasible. Lizzie’s schedule consisted of hours and hours of homework alongside her rigorous volleyball practices. I was commuting from school to dance, spending the majority of my days downtown as I also had mountains of homework to complete. All of my free time vanished. But there would be the rare moment where we’d both be free, jumping at the chance to see each other.

Amidst sophomore year, the news broke. Lizzie was moving. The aching feeling didn’t truly hit me until senior year. During junior year, it was riddled with overwhelming extracurriculars and never ending homework. Standardized tests loomed over my head, taking the forefront of my mind. I felt disconnected from everything around me and the one person I felt most connected to was gone.

As mawkish as it may be, Lizzie is my other half. She gets me in ways that no one else does, always there to support me, even when she isn’t here physically. Whenever she comes back to visit, it feels like no time has passed — being in her presence instantly makes me feel better. While we may be apart the majority of the year, she’s always only a text and a call away, I remind myself, constantly connected.

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About the Contributor
Ruth Shikanov, Print Editor-in-Chief
This is Ruth's seventh semester on staff and first year as one of the Print Editors-in-Chief. You can typically find her commuting between her classes or doing homework, but in her free time, Ruth enjoys being outside, walking her dog, Juno, reading, going on runs near Bandemer and trying new recipes. She cannot wait for all of the amazing work that will be created in Room 300!

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