Averil Gleason

My best friend’s birthday is next week. And for what seems like the millionth year in a row, I won’t be spending it with him.

But that’s to be expected.

On April 10, my best pal Peter turns 26.

You see, I met Peter in college.

He was a Sigma Chi pledge when I was a sweetheart for the fraternity.

It was friendship at first sight.

We shared a mutual love for heckling others and each other.

No joke went too far and no compliment went unnoticed.

Peter wasn’t the first guy friend I had.

But he was the one who stuck around the longest.

After I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University, I moved back home.

Peter came in town for my birthday and I visited him Nacogdoches.

We were inseparable in college.

So, hundreds of miles apart was hard to get used to.

But it was our new normal.

We kept in touch with social media and our weekly phone calls.

He told me about the drama happening at Sigma Chi, and I told him tales about life as an adult.

When Peter graduated, he moved in with his parents in Dallas.

The drive to see him was long but worth it.

After months and months apart, when we reunited, it was like no time at all had passed.

We celebrated the fact that he got a job in Tennessee two birthdays ago, and FaceTimed when he turned 25 in Argentina last year.

Peter and I have so much in common, but one thing that differs is his passion for adventure.

He often speaks of his goal to visit every state before he turns 30.

Peter’s always planning his next trip, his next vacation, his next quest for the unknown.

This year, Peter’s spending his 26th birthday in North Carolina. He’s going on a solo trip to his favorite spot to reflect on his last 25 years and look forward to the future.

I wish I could spend Pete’s birthday with him, but I know he needs this trip more.

Peter is a part of me. Even when we’re apart.

It’s been seven years since Peter and I became friends.

And they’ve been some of the best years of my life.

Peter is so smart and passionate and kind and understanding and handsome.

I’ve never met someone who is equally vulnerable and strong.

Through thick and thin and funny and awkward and sad and uncomfortable, he’s my guy.

Happy birthday.

Contact Averil Gleason at agleason@fbherald.com.

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