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New Kid
As a child of a curious mother, I spent my early years migrating up and down the Pacific Coast.

I didn’t mind moving too much. It was the leaving behind that was the hard part. Once we had taken a long look at our empty house, savored one last tuna roll at our local sushi spot, and sniffled through our goodbyes, it was on to the new: a new bedroom to make mine, new neighborhood to scout out, and new kids to meet.

Sometimes, I’d wonder what I was missing by trading the depth of my relationships for a breadth of experiences. I’d meet classmates who had known each other since birth, their chatter punctuated by stories from sleepovers that dated back more than a decade. Unsure of myself, I muffled the thought that we might not ever become true friends because of my shifting hometown. Maybe lifelong friendships just weren’t really my thing. 

Fresh off of another move, this time to Northern California, I started eighth grade as eighth graders do: with a mortifyingly false sense of adulthood. (I had just gotten my braces off, which didn’t help.) I slowly nestled my way into a group of friends, and as the months of the school year ticked by, my newness dulled, just like it always did. 

My family nested in that city, and I found myself living in one place for the longest stretch of my life. Over the next few years, those friends and I stumbled through our formative years together. We tested the limits of loyalty, intimacy, authority. We lashed out and licked our wounds, grew closer, drifted apart. And when we were lucky, we’d maneuver our way back together, seeming to pick up right where we left off.

The weird world of adulthood was populated with new reasons to relocate, scattering us around the globe. Having moved to Brooklyn on my own, and starting a dream job soon after, I found that each change now seemed to come packed inside its own frame, almost like I was being plucked from one comic strip and flicked into another. More often than not, I’ll catch myself worrying that I don’t quite fit into the box, fumbling to smooth out my rough patches and sand down my edges. 

Then I’ll get a call from a friend, one who has known me since our thin eyebrow days. Just figured she’d say hi—and two hours and forty-seven minutes later, we’ve discussed our latest concerns and recent snacks, debriefing our days until at least one of us is late to a dinner reservation. And no matter how big or small my life seems in that moment, I hang up knowing that we’re still in this together.

As they tend to do, the mother of one of these women said it best: “Lifelong friends are important. They accepted you when you were uninhibited, before you were consciously trying to become your future self. If you’re lucky enough to have them, treasure them. And if you’re not quite there yet, it’s not too late to reach out."
Sophie Tahran is a UX Writer for The New Yorker who lives and works in NYC. She can be found on Instagram, Twitter, or her website.
Art used in this issue: “Deux Fillettes (Two Girls)” by Marie Laurencin
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