"Glinda, come with me! Think of what we could do! Unlimited – Our future is unlimited! Together we'll be the greatest team there's ever been, Glinda – dreams the way we planned 'em – if we work in tandem, there's no fight we cannot win, just you and I – defying gravity."

For going on twelve years now, you've been my best friend. You've been the sister I never knew I wanted and the one person in my life I know I can't live without. You've been the Sailor Venus to my Sailor Jupiter, the Glinda to my Elphaba. I almost never see you, but I know that if I call you, even if you're having a crappy day, you'll almost always pick up and talk to me and be happy for me or sad for me or…you know… just there for me. My friendship with you isn't something that I deal with every day that's in my face and an immediate part of my life, but it's a constant, a given. It's something I almost don't notice, like the way my math teacher's room smells like stale coffee and whiteboard markers or the way my friend Marc slouches terribly because he's self conscious about being tall, but it's something I always expect to be there. I wonder, sometimes, if I have any right to expect that. I mean, it's not your job to take care of me, and I often feel like I don't do nearly enough to deserve your friendship. I feel like, a lot of the time, the only thing I manage to do is to follow our one unspoken rule, which is that we don't nag each other about the things everyone else nags us about. Maybe that's what's kept us together for so long, through all the separations and coming-togethers, both between us and other people in our lives.

We've gone to separate schools for the past seven years – I should be okay with that. I mean, it kind of sucks that I don't get to see you every day and don't know every little thing that's going on in your life, but it's something I've dealt with. The thing is, I like plans. I've planned my whole future out since I was little. A lot of things have changed: First I thought I wanted to get married and have children and the whole white picket fence scenario – I have an on-again, off-again relationship with that particular dream. I've always wanted to be a teacher – first I wanted to teach fourth grade, then middle-school chorus, then history, now high-school art. I wanted to go to a big college in the city; now it's a small women's college here in town. But one thing has always been a constant: you. You were the old lady next to me in the retirement home, being all snarky and making fun of the other old people. You were always in the bed in that hospital room next to mine, because of course our children would have to be exactly the same age so that they could be best friends, too. You always taught English alongside whatever I ended up teaching – you've always been a great writer. You were my college roommate, with our dorm decorated in turquoise and lavender, listening to Queen and The Killers and talking about whatever books we were reading at the time in our Honors English 111 class while I knitted you a sweater in light blue to match your eyes. And, after, when we graduated and got an apartment together, you'd teach me how to do laundry and how to cook so I wouldn't burn rice. Or, you know, toast. (Because, clearly, baking and cooking are not the same thing, and being good at one does not mean one is good at the other, as evidenced by the fact that I can bake a gourmet pie but my cooking prowess ends at ramen noodles.) It doesn't matter that my dreams change: What matters is that they all have you in them. So… one has to wonder if that's not the only dream that's important.

And the thing is, if being with you is the most important dream of all, then I guess it's kind of ironic that that's the one most likely not to come true. I mean, I started planning my college goals the summer before my junior year. I figured out where I wanted to go, what scholarships I wanted to apply for, when everything was due, what steps I needed to take to get there, and so on. I worked my ass off in school and made the honor roll for the first time since seventh grade. I aced my SATs and AP exams. And, this year, my senior year, I applied early to my first choice college – and got in. I got merit scholarships and talent scholarships – I'm still waiting on one more, but I'm fairly confident about it. So it would seem that I'm well on my way to flying high. It's just... it's kind of bittersweet, you know?

The problem is… you're not flying high. You're not up here with me. You went to a different high school, and didn't do that many extracurriculars or AP classes or anything to make yourself excel. You didn't apply to my college, and now the dates have passed; as far as I know, you haven't applied anywhere. I don't know what you plan to do or where you plan to go, and…I hate it. I feel like it's partially my fault for not encouraging you, for not dragging you along with me, be it kicking and screaming or, even worse, following docilely. I feel like I should have brought you up to where I am, that I should have spared some of my glory for you. But then I hear your voice in my ear: "Lauren, I'm proud of you, but what if I don't want all of that?" You're the girl who sits in the back of the room, who is more intelligent than she gives herself credit for but doesn't want to speak up and be noticed. You're okay with not being the best, even though you could be; I promise. I've always loved that you've supported me, coming to my concerts and reading my poems and being thrilled for me when I got acceptance letter after acceptance letter, but... I don't want you to raise me up: I want you to climb with me. I don't know if you've been scared or apathetic or just content with your place, but… I guess it's too late now.

I don't mean to criticize you – I'm the last person you need that from. It's just… I feel guilty, partly, for excelling when you're not, for working hard and being rewarded and not sharing it all with you, even though the truth is it's not really in my power to do that. But then I feel guilty, too, for expecting you to be the other half of me, and not entirely understanding that maybe you don't want to be.

I don't like to weave other people into my dreams, because then I have to unravel them all once I realize their dreams don't follow the same pattern as mine. I guess I just always assumed that yours did, and now I feel like I have to tear apart and re-write the design for my whole life, and… I don't even know where to begin. It's like if someone asked how my life would be different if I were missing a limb or my eyes or my heart, because...well, you're at least as important, if not more so. It would be so unlike anything I've ever thought of that I wouldn't even know where to start. I can't have a life without you in it, with me, living our dreams (my dreams?), together forever.

And I know you'll always be my friend: I'm not discounting that. I just hate that it might always be like it is now, which I took as a temporary situation: A friendship kept over phone lines, seeing each other "when we have time." I don't want to be those old friends who have to schedule in a coffee date: I want to be those friends who walk across the street to each other's houses in pajamas for homemade waffles on Sunday. And I don't know how to make that happen anymore, because I just sort of assumed it would on its own.

And, you know, maybe it is my time to be through accepting limits and truly defy gravity, but…I've never been good at goodbyes, and heights are awfully scary without your best friend to hold your hand.

"I hope you're happy now that you're choosing this… I hope it brings you bliss; I really hope you get it, and you don't live to regret it; I hope you're happy in the end… I hope you're happy, my friend." -"Defying Gravity," Wicked

To my best friend in the whole world, D.M.W. I love you more than life.