Contributing Illustrator/Jainee Shah

The great love of my life is electric, like the Oasis song we love, and eccentric, like our high school badminton coach who made us crab walk across the gymnasium floor 15 times as punishment for being late. 

She makes me vote on dress options for her grandmother’s funeral. “You’re sure this one isn’t too low-cut?” she asks, and I shake my head and say “No, she would have liked it.” She eats 36 pork dumplings in one sitting because “they’re 50 cents each.” She silences the party and makes the whole room dance to “Bodys” by Car Seat Headrest. She makes me playlists titled “there’s nothing as revolting as the homosapien male” when circumstances permit and she sends me Brian Eno songs when she knows I need my mood lifted. Her favorite Beatle is Ringo — which is weird — and she has a poster of him on her wall that watches her as she sleeps — which is super weird. She’s the only person who will wander with me through Greenwich Village in the dead of night and try to find Cubbyhole without a map (it’s on 12th Street). When we don’t want to say goodnight to each other, we walk laps around her block until our legs burn, our clothes are soaked through with rain and it’s late enough that her mom is texting us to come home because Riverside Drive is dangerously quiet at night. We cry every time we say goodbye for college, even if it’s just for the two weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. 

Imogen and I met in first grade, when she mediated a fight between me and another girl over who liked animals more. She chose me, and she chose right, because now I’m majoring in environmental science and we are best friends — the type that stand outside in the sticky August heat until five in the morning because going home means saying goodbye. 

Around Thanksgiving last year, Imogen and I had our hearts colossally broken by boys who were idiots but who nonetheless swept us off our feet, because that’s what happens when you’re 18. Subsequently, we developed a shared obsession with Audre Lorde’s essay “Uses of the Erotic,” which boldly condemns romantic love and reaffirms faith in the power of friendship. That’s because the erotic, by Lorde’s definition, doesn’t just pertain to sex. It’s a feeling of deep fulfillment, of internal joy that we’re taught to confine to the bedroom because women are dangerous when they live in search of true contentment. “My friendships are the most erotic part of my life,” I texted Imogen one night when neither of us could fall asleep. “The erotic is the feeling of the most intense love imaginable that only exists when you care about someone so much that you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about how grateful you are that your paths crossed.” I was, obviously, talking about her. 

Imogen is a stark contrast to many of my other childhood friendships, which solely exist out of shared experience. These are the friends with whom I reminisce; the girls I grab coffee with over winter break so that we can discuss what happened to the kid that was expelled from our middle school or reflect on the time our fourth grade teacher threw a pen at a student. We don’t make new memories, beyond sharing a croissant at Joe’s Coffee and wandering through the new thrift store in my neighborhood. 

But Imogen and I have grown together since the beginning. We joke that we’re so compatible because our personalities naturally melded together during our 14 years of friendship; that we’re the only people who can put up with the other’s neuroses because we were socialized to tolerate each other. 

In the months after we broke up with our first boyfriends for college, Imogen and I sent each other a series of messages about what love truly is. 

“I don’t want good morning texts and holding hands on Fifth Avenue and Wii golf matches and guitar serenades and having to pretend I care about this one person above everybody else in my life,” I told her, referring to a series of dumb events our now-exes had put us through that summer. “I don’t want things to go wrong. I don’t want to fight and break up. I don’t want to feel that deep, inconsolable heartbreak they write songs and make movies about.” 

Because what’s the point? I don’t see how I’ll find another love greater than this one. And this one doesn’t come with a side of heartbreak. I’ll never meet anybody else who can look me in the eyes and scream nine minutes of Green Day’s rock epic “Jesus of Suburbia” without even the slightest twinge of embarrassment. There’s no other human in the world who will trek to the Hungarian Pastry Shop with me and write Zadie Smith quotes on the wall of the bathroom to prove that we were there; even as we move apart and make new friends and live in different neighborhoods, the truth of our intertwined lives and shared love is forever written on the wall. 

Anybody with a best friend like mine knows the feeling of catching each other’s eyes at a party and knowing that you’re the other’s person. Whether we live down the block from each other or have to travel the 804.3 miles between Rice University (Texas) and Emory, hers are the first eyes I look for. 

She’s electric and she’s eccentric and she’s the erotic, and I will never let her go. 

Sophia Peyser (25C) is from New York, New York.

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Sophia Peyser (25C) is an environmental science and english + creative writing major from New York City. In addition to managing the Opinion and Editorial Board sections of the Wheel, she works as an intern at Science for Georgia and a radio DJ at WMRE. In her free time, she loves thrifting in remote corners of Atlanta and drinking lavender lattes at Victory Calamity + Coffee.