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Best friends know what you want for your birthday more than you do.

About two weeks before my 19th birthday, I had finally decided what I wanted to get myself as a birthday present, and, little did I know, my two best friends, Chelsea and Samantha, had also decided what thy wanted to get me. In the usual birthday tradition, they didn’t tell me what it was, but, being my best friends, they told me they had a surprise planned for my birthday, and “we’re not telling you what it is!” And for the next two weeks, they taunted me. Every day they’d giggle their little asses off and say “Have you figured out what your surprise is yet?” and collapse in gales of laughter when I’d start yelling at them to at least give me a hint. They even went so far as to tell me to “dress like you’re going to a club, but you’re not going to a club.” They were relentless.

So, two weeks drag by at a snail’s pace, and I start researching what could be happening on the appointed day, but to no avail. I show up at Sam’s house and spend a few hours listening to my two best friends debate on what I should wear to an event I don’t even know about, and finally I ask “How are we going to get there if you’re not going to tell me where it is?” 

Side note: We were going in my car. What they’d neglected to tell me was that they’d gotten Sam’s mom in on the conspiracy, and it turned out that she was going to drive us there, in my car. What’s even worse than someone else driving my car, you ask?

They blindfolded me.

So, for about half an hour, I had to sit, blindfolded, in the back of my own car, while Chelsea smacked my hand down every time I tried to peek, waiting for some hint that this torture would be over.

Finally, we arrive, and the two conspirators remove my blindfold. The first thing I see is a line of people standing against a dingy brick building under a flickering sign that said “The Pit”.

Then it dawned on me. They were taking me to a concert. 

Not just any concert, but one of my favorite bands at the time: Otep.

I was ecstatic, of course, and the wait in line was almost as bad as the wait in the car, but we finally made it in and watched several local bands barely entertain the crowd before Otep Shamaya, in all her remarkably short glory, appeared on stage.

Most of the rest of the night was a blur of screaming and sweat as my two amazing friends and I got shoved, kicked, punched and deafened with our hair in our faces and our fists probably in somebody’s ribs, but I do remember stumbling, dazed and exhausted back to the car, driving home and passing out with a huge smile on my face.

These are the kind of memories you make with your closest friends. The ones you’ll tell your grandchildren about when your favorite bands are long outdated, and your friends are so wacked out on medication your conversations consist of “What?” “Huh?” “My hip hurts!” “Call my nurse, I can’t get up.” “What?”

As much as we want to kill each other a lot of the times, I do love my best friends. To date, Sam has moved to Kentucky with her boyfriend, and Chelsea is about to move to Virginia with her father. I don’t know what I’m going to do without those two, but Sam has promised to come visit every so often (And I know you read this, Mango. If you don’t come visit I’m going to be very upset.) and Chelsea probably will too, if she can. Chances are, when I have the resources, I’ll be making the journey to go see them from time to time as well.

Friends come and go, but there are a precious few to whom you should hold on, and Chelsea and Sam are definitely in that precious few.

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