In my ideal world, best friends would meet in kindergarten.

There would be a moment when you both realize that you need scissors to cut this week’s art project … and then you’d be friends until you are old and gray.

That’s just not the case in the real world.

I was 16 before I met one of my best friends, and our story hasn’t been perfect.

By a stroke of luck and a little tragedy, we met when his parked car got hit outside his house, which happened to be two doors down from mine.

When I heard the sound of metal crunching, I ran outside to make sure everyone was okay. Thankfully he was fine. At first glance, I assumed he was much older then me and that we wouldn’t be friends. To my surprise, he was only a year older, and we quickly discovered that we both had incredible taste in music.

After that first night meeting in front of his damaged bumper, we had many nights where we sat curbside between our two houses talking about all things under the sun — music, dates we were going on and what we were going to do after high school.

We got closer, and we also changed.

He was leaving for school, and I still had another year. Up to that point, our relationship had been easy, but all of a sudden, our friendship seemed challenging. We would bicker in front of our houses, and one of us would storm off. Then someone would call a truce, and we would ride down the street for a Slurpee, laughing like it never happened. Most of the things we couldn’t agree on just came from the fact that our worlds were changing so rapidly.

When he left for college, our friendship changed. There were fewer curbside talks and more letters, emails and a quick Facetime between school and practice.

It was hard to keep in touch, and our relationship was never, by any means, perfect.

I am grateful for our friendship for one main reason: we allowed each other to be the most authentic versions of ourselves.

It was our willingness to change and grow together that made a good relationship.

This friendship has taught me that you should never let the fear of an imperfect friendship keep you from starting one.

Years later, we are still friends. I don’t know if we will still be friends when we are old and gray. I do know that, no matter how we change or where we go, we will be there for each other.

He has made me a better person and friend. We have taught each other valuable lessons even when they were hard ones.

Now when we go home to our street — the street where an accident became the beginning of a friendship — we meet outside to catch up and show up for each other when it counts.

At the end of the day, this is the relationship I needed.

A good one — not a perfect one.

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