Illustration by Emma D.

This month’s Friend Crushers are Cara Messina, 18, and Hannah Williams, 17. Talking to these two, their love for each other is so strong it basically oozes through the phone. They tell their story better than we ever could, so just read on, will you?

TO: [email protected]
FROM: Cara Messina
SUBJECT: Friend Crush

I decided to nominate my best friend Hannah to be my Friend Crush. We met at camp two years ago. It was this killer camp in North Carolina, Camp Greystone, which is for girls between the ages of seven and 17. We met our junior year at camp, when we were 16—that was two years ago—but we didn’t really become friends until the last week or so. We really bonded while we sat in the art room as she painted a sick portrait of some girl for her advanced painting class, which I was not a part of because I paint like a four-year-old on meth, but she is freaking fantastic at it. Soon our blossoming love became a full-blown affair of mutual awesomeness and affection. Since then we have kept in touch (she lives in Texas and I live in Florida) through Facebook and random texts. When we were reunited last summer we basically tackled each other to the ground and smothered each other with our love. We love the same things and have the same dreams and basically are each other but in different bodies (that makes no sense but, hey, go with it). I really love this kid with all my heart and kind of want to be her but not as much as I want to be near her. She is wickedly funny and equally goofy and dresses like a sexy beast. So basically I love this kid.


ROOKIE: What kind of camp is Camp Greystone?

CARA [crusher]: It’s just kind of an everything camp—they have arts and crafts, and you can like shoot things, and ride horseback, and they have diving classes, and there’s swimming.

You shoot things with a gun?

Yeah. I took riflery for like five years there. I got pretty good, actually.

Is it fun?

It was a lot of fun. It was, like, exhilarating. I’m not like all pro gun stuff, but I can understand why people like guns. There’s a lot of power behind them, and when you shoot them, they kind of kick back into you. If it’s a really big gun, that can be painful. But it’s a weird kind of fun.

It seems like it would feel really cool, from watching movies…

Yeah, but I guess in movies they, like, kill things. I’ve never killed anything, so I wouldn’t know about that.

That was my next question: have you ever killed anyone?

[Laughs] No, I’m not a homicidal maniac.

So you can’t be a camper anymore at Greystone, because the cutoff is 17, and you’re 18 now, right?

Right. You can go until the summer before you’re a senior in high school. Then you have to take a year off. Then you can go back as a counselor.

Are you gonna do that?

I want to apply. It’s kind of competitive, because a lot of people want to do it. But I would love to be there again. It’s a really awesome place.

You said you and Hannah didn’t talk until the last week of your junior year at Greystone. Why did it take you so long to talk to her?

I liked her from a distance, but I found her intimidating. I was like, She seems like a really cool girl, and she probably wouldn’t want to talk to me, because I’m awkward and weird. But then our second to last summer there, we just started talking, and we realized that we liked all the same things and were equally weird.

What seemed so cool about her from afar?

I thought she was hilarious. She was always laughing, all the time. She had the coolest, craziest blonde hair. And she rocks some pretty crazy stuff, clotheswise. At camp there are like these weird style trends—like one year everybody wore Hanes men’s V-neck undershirts, and everyone coveted them and was like, “Oh my god, I need to wear those shirts.” Hannah started that. She was always the trendsetter of camp. She would wear, like, big fisherman’s shirts—that was another trend. They’re called Guy Harvey shirts, I think? She was the first to wear them, and then everyone wore them. I was like, God, this girl knows what’s going on. It was a crush, for sure.

What makes her different from, and better than, other people?

It’s the full package. She’s got a sense of humor to kill—she can make me laugh no matter what. Every single year leaving camp, it’s just a big bawling session: you’re crying hysterically, you’re like, “don’t ever take me away,” “I hate you, parents—you’re the cruelest people in the world,” “I wanna stay here forever.” Every year, Hannah got me to stop crying by bringing up an inside joke, or telling me how much more we’d cry when we’d be reunited.

She is crazy artistic. She paints and she’s an amazing photographer. I’m like an art appreciator, because I am actually the worst artist in the world. My mom will tell me, about my drawings, “That was a nice try.” [Laughs] Right now she’s looking at me like “Why are you telling these people this?” My first bonding moment with Hannah was when she was finishing up a project—it was a portrait, and it was fantastic.

Who was it of?

I don’t know—I think it was a random girl at camp. And it was so great—just the colors she used and everything. I always thought Hannah was just super, super amazing. I guess that was one of my crushing moments on her, that art thing. I’m always in awe of people who can create things.

What is the weirdest thing about her?

I think she likes country music a little. And that always weirds me out.

But isn’t country music popular in Florida?

No. Florida is not really the South. The South is like Texas and North Carolina and Alabama. [Liking country music] is in Hannah’s blood, being a Texan. I find that incredibly odd. I can’t listen to that twang.

What about, like, Taylor Swift? Do you listen to her? Is she country music?

Um, I don’t like her. [Laughs] I don’t! I feel like all of her songs are about some guy—either she really likes him, or he’s a really big jerk.

What confuses me about her is when she’s like, “She wears high heels; I wear sneakers.” But you wear high heels all the time, Taylor Swift!

Yeah, with your A-line sparkly dresses! Come on!

What do you think she loves most about you? Not Taylor Swift, Hannah.

[Laughs] Well, Taylor Swift…

Taylor Swift really likes that you sit in the bleachers wearing sneakers.

I do think she likes that about me! [Laughs] I think Hannah likes me because I’m crazy and sarcastic. I think she likes our mutual craziness, in that we get into odd shenanigans together.

How often do you guys actually see each other?

Texas and Florida are really far apart, so we don’t get the chance to see each other very often. It’s really been confined to camp. But we talk a lot, and we Twitter, we Tumblr. Trying to keep in contact is a lot harder than people think. This year was especially hard, because it’s our senior year, and our schedules got really hectic because of the whole college process. But just the odd tweet here and there, the odd Facebook message, makes my day. It can make my week, my month, just hearing from her.

Awww. How did you know when you’d made the transition from just friends to best friends?

I feel like that always happens with an inside joke. We have this one—we were just talking, rambling on, about crazy things. In response to something or other I said, “Childhood is for losers,” or something like that. Out of context it sounds horrible, because childhood is awesome, and I don’t remember why I said it or why it was funny. But for some reason we couldn’t stop laughing for 10 minutes. She got paint all over her face because she hit her face with her hand while the brush was in it. It was a golden moment. After you have an inside joke, there’s no turning back.

I’ve never thought of that, but that’s exactly when it happens. It’s something that only the two of you share.

Yeah, and everyone gets angry around you, because they’re like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

So I’m about to call Hannah—is there any question that you think I should ask her?

Bring up She’s the Man. That’s one of our mutual movie loves. It’s a horrible movie, but it’s horribly amazing. She will really respond to that.

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ROOKIE: How long did you go to Camp Greystone?

HANNAH [crushee]: For eight years.

Are you thinking of going back and becoming a counselor there?

I think so. I’ll see how college goes the first year—that might change my perspective.

What is so awesome about that camp that you both spent so many summers there, and are both considering going back as counselors?

We’re there for five weeks—basically a month every summer. So you have to get to know people, and the relationships you make at camp are sometimes deeper than the ones you have at home. It’s funny, because Cara and I are from two different states, and we’re only together for a month out of the summer, but we’re better friends than we are with some people we know from home. And it’s just a really great vibe at camp. It’s so positive, and everything’s just fun and carefree.

Did you take the gun-shooting class too?

[Laughs] I did.

It sounds actually really fun.

I think it’s so much fun. Our camp is definitely southern. Everyone has a thick southern accent, and we have a shooting class.

Cara told me about the moment you guys met. She says you were in the art room working on a project—do you remember this moment?

We were in painting together, and Cara cannot paint worth anything. No offense to Cara—she knows it. I was taking advanced painting. It was one of the last weeks of camp, and she just came and sat with me while I was trying to finish this big project. And we just laughed and laughed and laughed. She’s so funny. She’s seriously one of the funniest people I know.

She told me that she said something about how childhood is for losers, and that became an inside joke. Do you remember what you guys were talking about?

We to this day do not remember anything about that conversation, I think because we were laughing so hard.

You guys like drugged yourselves on laughter. She mentioned that you were painting a portrait of some specific girl, but she didn’t know who it was.

That’s pretty funny that she said that, because it was actually a self-portrait.

Ha! She was like, “It was some random girl from camp.” So here come some really corny questions. What makes Cara a great friend?

She is extremely loyal. She’s a really good listener. And I love her sense of humor. She makes me laugh so hard that I’m crying and just about wet my pants.

What makes her different from other people?

The way she talks about her Italian heritage. She will blame everything on the fact that she’s Italian.

Really? Like what kinds of things?

Oh my gosh. Just everything. Like she’ll say she has a huge appetite because she’s Italian. She says that her parents are hilarious because they’re Italian. She always talks about how loud she is—and she is pretty loud, but it’s great—and she says her whole family’s loud because they’re Italian, and Italians are loud.

That is so funny. Do you buy it or do you think it’s bs?

I totally buy it.

I was gonna ask you what’s the weirdest thing about her, but now I think that’s the weirdest thing about her. How are you going to see each other now that camp is over?

We’ve talked about going to visit camp this summer—like taking a little trip to North Carolina with some of our other friends from camp. Just to get a little taste of camp, since we’re not gonna have it all summer.

I feel like Camp Greystone is going to be very happy about this post, because it’s like the best commercial ever for them. Last question: tell me what is so great about the movie She’s the Man.

Oh my god. [Laughs] Well, She’s the Man is the movie that is quoted all over camp. We were like obsessed with it. I don’t know why, but we all knew every single line from that movie. Have you seen it?

No, but you guys make me want to.

You have to. Amanda Bynes is so funny in it. She disguises herself as her brother and goes to his boarding school to try to prove that she can play on the boys’ soccer team. And it’s filled with all these super-awkward moments, because she’s rooming with this really hot guy, who is Channing Tatum, and she’s falling for him, but, you know, she’s a dude, supposedly, and she’s trying to be on the soccer team while her mom has no idea where she is and thinks she’s at her dad’s house, and it’s just so funny. It’s a twist on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Is she cute as a boy?

Kind of? It’s hilarious that anyone would buy that she’s a boy. Anyone would totally know it’s Amanda Bynes.

Cara: “These pictures are a reenactment of the day we reunited after a whole horrible year apart.”

To nominate your own Friend Crush, send BOTH of your names, ages, email addresses, and pictures, plus a paragraph or two telling us what makes her so great, to [email protected], and write FRIEND CRUSH in the subject line.