Rae and Sylvia, both 18, live in Daphne, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, respectively. They were literally born to be friends. Read on to find out why.
SUBJECT: Friend Crush
Sylvia is the most radical little fireball that I’ve ever known. Our love story begins on day one: we were born almost a month apart on a naval base in Sicily. We moved to America, and began visiting each other in Florida, but sadly, we lost contact at some point. Fast-forward to 2011, and our moms get back in touch and arrange to meet at a restaurant. I was stunned when Sylvia walked in: she was gorgeous and had an expression that said “I couldn’t give two shits what people think.” We sat next to each other awkwardly until I finally popped a question to break the ice: “So…do you have a Tumblr?” Her response: “OHMYGODYES!” We were hugging and squealing like girls at a club.
Everything about Sylvia rocks my socks. We are both outspoken feminists who adore cats (no, WORSHIP cats). She is interested in crystals, spirituality, and activism, just like me. The best thing about her? She stands up for what she believes in. She makes me feel empowered, like I’m not the only one who feels that there’s more to life than what the world has to offer. Everything about her coruscates, and I couldn’t ask for a better friend.
ROOKIE: I admit, when I read your email, I had to look up the word coruscate.
RAE [crusher]: It’s from a song I like by CocoRosie called “Werewolf.” The line is “Crystal ships dripping with ice / Diamonds coruscate in the night.” I cut out the letters, sprinkled them with glitter, and put them up on my wall.
Were you nervous to see Sylvia again after so much time had passed?
I was really nervous. I wasn’t sure who she was going to be or if she was going to be nice to me.
What did you remember about her from when you were little?
Not much. I remember playing on the beach at her grandmother’s house in Florida, and filling up big bins of water to play in. And I remember celebrating our birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese once.
What was your first thought when she walked into the restaurant last year?
She had piercings and a nose ring and cat-eye makeup. She didn’t look like everyone else, and that made me think she must be really confident. And she didn’t seem like she was eager to get me to like her, which is kind of refreshing.
Once you started talking about Tumblr, what were you most surprised to discover you had in common?
It was just random things that you wouldn’t expect someone that you haven’t seen in years to have in common with you. I was studying Buddhism, and she’s interested in it. I’m interested in using crystals for healing, and she had read a book on [that subject]. And we’re both feminists, and we both feel like the black sheep in school.
You said you’re both activists?
Well, I guess when I say activist I mean that we’re not afraid to bring things up. Sylvia can whoop butt in a Facebook conversation. I remember one time I had a status that said “Rape jokes aren’t funny,” and of course there were guys that started telling rape jokes and saying that I was “so sensitive.” Sylvia just came in with a clarity that would make you snap to your senses. She’s very brave. I look up to her in that way, because I’m more cautious.
I just don’t want people to see me and get the wrong idea that people who care about feminism or LGBTQ issues are just out for a fight. And you can’t change stupid, as my mom says. I think I just realized that there’s a time and a place.
How many times have you seen her since your reunion?
She’s coming over tonight for a sleepover—that will be the third time. The second time was by accident. I was walking around the mall with my friends about a year ago, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a girl in the bookstore and thought, Wow, she’s really pretty. I like what she’s wearing. And then I was like, Wait a minute. We ran up to each other and squealed. The stars were aligned. We live 45 minutes apart, and I wonder if we’ve accidentally passed each other at T.J. Maxx and didn’t even realize it.
When you say you’re a black sheep at school, do you mean you don’t get along with the other kids?
No, I’m pretty friendly with everyone, but best friends are harder to come by. Sylvia feels almost like my clone, like we were created in a lab to be together.
Do you have the exact same taste in everything, like music and books and movies? Is there anything you don’t agree on?
I’m not even sure! When she gets here tonight, we’re probably going to find out a ton more that we have in common. So I guess there are some benefits to being far apart—every time we do talk or get together, we learn something new about each other. I mean, in a lot of ways, it’s sad, just because I wish I could be with her all the time. But when we do get to see each other, it’s exciting, and maybe not having her around makes it all the more special.
So what are you going to do at your sleepover?
I just got a new camera, so we’re doing a photo shoot. I have to say: Petra Collins is my biggest inspiration. We’re gonna go for a “goddess of the night” feel. I still have to get some props together, but I made flower crowns, of course.
What should I ask Sylvia when I call her?
Ask her: what do cats look best in?
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ROOKIE: When you saw Rae again after so many years, was she how you expected her to be?
SYLVIA [crushee]: I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was her as soon as I walked in, though. It’s not that she looks the same as she did, but I just knew. I was really jealous of her hair, because earlier that year I cut all my hair off, like really short, and it was in that awkward growing-out phase. And she had this long, flowing, gorgeous hair.
Rae says you figured out that night that you have a lot in common.
I’m a big believer in fate, so I think it happened for a reason. I just think it’s so cool that we got reunited and immediately clicked. I don’t have any friends like that.
What makes Rae so much more awesome than other people?
She’s very confident in herself, and I really envy that. She doesn’t care what people think of her at all. I love how real she is. She doesn’t try to be someone she isn’t. I think that’s awesome, because so many people, including myself, just hold back with everything. I mean, not everything, but I’m really shy.
It’s funny, because she had actually said that you’re the confident and brave one.
Well, I’m very opinionated, but I don’t know if I’m confident. I’m quiet. I don’t really get into politics, but I feel like Rae and I have the same views, and it’s easy to talk to her about stuff like sexism or gay rights. I never get super talkative with other people, but we just feed off each other’s energy. And being around her puts me in a good mood.
Do you like being long-distance friends?
I wish we lived closer, but we probably appreciate each other’s company more this way. And running in the same friend group gets exhausting, because there’s always going to be drama. I kind of like having Rae all to myself and not having to compete with anyone.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you see her?
Probably hug for a really, really long time. We haven’t seen each other in a year. And knowing us, there might be a short period of awkward not knowing what to say, but it’ll probably take about five minutes for us to start talking each other’s ears off about I don’t even know what.
Last time you hung out, what did you talk about besides feminism, crystals, and Buddhism?
We both love photography and cats. We really, really like cats.
Do you think there’s a difference between cat people and dog people?
From what I’ve found, cat people are a lot more eccentric, or else shy and introverted. I think the stereotypes are funny. Like, the idea that I’m going to die alone with my cats? I’m completely OK with that.
I was told to ask you what cats look best in?
Ha! I put my cat Anniken in a red sweater-vest one time. He wouldn’t come near me for a week afterwards. I also found a pink doll dress, and I thought he looked very good as a cross-dresser. ♦
(Interviews conducted by Phoebe.)
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