SHRIYA: Clare and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. We met in toddler school around age two—wee babes, for sure. Here we are at my fifth birthday party, Clare looking sassy as ever.
CLARE: Once, when we were at preschool, Shriya was eating a butter and sugar sandwich. When I asked about it, she casually noted, “Oh, it’s an Indian treat!” Years later, I found out that it was, in fact, not. A prankster from day one.
SHRIYA: Art has always been a major part of how we communicate with each other. In seventh grade, we started writing notes and leaving them in each other’s lockers. Eighth grade saw the beginning of SCHK, an acronym for our friendship. SCHK effectively stands for “Shriya Clare Hello Kitty,” but it represents a lot more.
Clare: Once, at a student council event, someone misspelled her name as Schriya, and we started referring to each other as Schriya and Schlare.
Notes from Shriya motivated me so much in junior high and high school! Creating for each other now is most meaningful to me because it started as these scribbles on paper when we were stuck in class. Even then, I think we both felt the importance of finding an ally to dictate your brain to, and that carries through to what we do now.
I wrote this nickname for Shriya (after the model Iekeliene Stange) on a wood chip during our ninth-grade school trip to Disney World. I honestly cannot believe that she’s kept it all these years. This sums up how our relationship is a perfect mixture of perpetually goofing off, but also being very, very tender.
SHRIYA: This is a high school graduation present I made for Clare. I was moving 800 miles away to New York City and she was going to college in our hometown in Indiana. I took these photos of her goofing around in a parking lot in the beginning of senior year.
CLARE: I made this drawing for Shriya when we graduated high school. It’s based on a photo of us and has lived on the wall of every one of her college dorms.
To me, a blood brother is like a soul sister, but even more urgent and applicable to the intersection of our current lives. Blood brothers 4ever.
SHRIYA: I made this for Clare’s 19th birthday when she came to visit me in New York during the fall of our freshman years. We hadn’t seen each other in 109 days, and all that mattered to me was that we got to spend her birthday together.
CLARE: At the end of our sophomore year of college, Shriya and I decided to get complementary tattoos. We wanted two items that symbolized ourselves individually and our friendship collectively, and we wanted to depict the symbiotic nature of our relationship. We settled on a pot of bergamot tea and a potted bergamot plant, both drawn by me. She waters my plant, and I grow the tea to fill her pot.
CLARE: I made this painting for Shriya based off of a photo she took of us playing music together in sophomore year of college and paired it with the quote “Invisible threads are the strongest ties” from Nietzsche.
Playing tunes is another way we like to spend time with each other. One summer, Shriya came back to Indiana to visit me and we recorded some covers of songs we like under the name Sleepy Teens.
SHRIYA: I joined the Rookie staff in early 2014, and Clare sent me this drawing in the mail. It was the swellest surprise! It felt so great knowing she was proud of me, and those Rookie glasses are really the bomb.
CLARE: Despite the fact that emails, texts, and various social media allows us to stay in near-constant contact, sometimes the distance between us feels like a bit too much. I made this drawing on one of those days when I really wished we could be hangin’ out, and it was almost as good.
SHRIYA: This past summer was special because we got to see each other loads. This here tender pic was taken by our friend Krista when we were on the Q train going over the Manhattan Bridge as the sun set.
Though Clare and I have lived quite far away from each other for over three years now, our friendship is still as special and golden as ever.
CLARE: When I picture what I have with Shriya, this is how I see us. One of the most wonderful parts of her moving to New York was how it has opened up my world and social circle. I still live in Indiana, but I feel like little bits of my heart are scattered everywhere she goes. ♦