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  • Writer's picturejmcsperitt

RIYANA


Wining and dining in Dozza, Italy

I first met my best friend when we were twelve at a summer acting school, but I thought she was a bit of an oddball. As we entered middle school, we had the same group of friends so even though her and I weren’t super connected, we did see each other pretty often. In high school, she went on a different path and we disconnected, but then in our early 20’s, we were brought back together by bad boyfriends. We were extremely heartbroken so we took comfort in our female companionship and our desire to be free from other relationships. Over the next five years, we did everything together. We even lived in the same building of apartments. We each had our own, but we were just down the hall and available, more or less, at the drop of a phone call. Our number one goal during this time was trouble, and we usually found it without any problem at all. We danced all night every weekend at our favorite watering hole, then spent the weekdays prepping for the next one by shopping and driving around for fun in my convertible. At age 24, we backpacked through seven countries in Europe, then moved on to Costa Rica, Italy, and Mexico. We saw it all, we had it all, and we still have a friendship with the wherewithal to persist despite significant changes and significant distance.  My relationship with Riyana is extremely important not only for the duration, but because she has been my deepest partnership. My world changed when she entered it because for the first time, I believed in something non-existent. I knew that if I had been given a gift like this, then immense things really did subsist. If I never had anything else, never amounted to anything, never published my book, or succeeded in my dreams, I would be happy knowing that in my life I felt great love in the form of friendship, that I have discovered something infinite, and that my life is as it is now because I've had her faith in it. I sometimes wonder where I would be without her presence. Would I have discovered limitless potentiality in the universe and myself, and what's attainable in terms of a connection with another individual, or would I have just settled on something less important? I don't know what I would have done, but I know that I would've been missing a great one because she's one of the ones who makes my life a lot more meaningful and a lot more fun. My life would've been a lot less substantial without our connection and without a friend with the title of "best" in front of it.  Riyana's here with me in Italy this week soaking up "la dolce vita" for the first time since I moved here in 2010. We'll be up to our usual antics, celebrating 25 years of friendship, and talking relentlessly about the last decade of life changes. I'll keep you posted on some, but probably not all, of our 36 going on 24 shenanigans, and the love and adventure that comes with two best friends who share their hopes, fears, and most importantly, life together. 

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