59: Samers

59: Samers

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls


Friendship isn’t a big thing — it’s a million little things.

~Author Unknown

Lindsay and I met on the worship team of our campus ministry group during our freshman year of college. She played the drums and I sang. Everyone in the band listened to her suggestions on what songs to play and I — well, I just talked to myself and made snorting noises into the microphone for entertainment while they made their plans. I thought she was conceited and she thought I was weird. We weren’t off to a very good start.

In spite of my resentment, however, we actually had a lot in common. We wound up having so much in common, in fact, that at times it felt like she was following me.

Shortly after I moved from my all-freshman dorm into a different building, I learned that Lindsay had decided to do the same. Not only did she switch buildings, but she moved into the same building, on the same floor as me. Directly across the hall, in fact.

But that wasn’t all. The week after I told the worship team I was considering applying to the campus newspaper, Lindsay came to practice with an ear-to-ear grin and asked the band to guess who the newest staff writer at the Northern Student was. I decided not to apply.

Not long after she got the job, Lindsay took a sudden interest in learning to play the guitar. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, except that I had recently shared with her how I had been struggling to teach myself for several years. It irked me even more when her guitar skills surpassed my own and she started offering me tips. Whenever I could hear her practicing new chords across the hall, I closed the door and cranked my music.

Finally, the copycat did the unthinkable — she changed her major. And can you guess which major she switched to? Bingo. My major — Creative and Professional Writing. And to top it off, she also declared a minor in Spanish, just like me.

I don’t like being closely followed. When I ran cross-country and track in high school, it drove me crazy when I could feel someone running right behind me. I would speed up to escape the clicking of their spiked shoes and the sound of their labored breathing.

I wanted to run away from Lindsay Larson.

Which is why it was so surprising when, on the first day of our second semester, I felt only relief when I walked into Spanish class to find her sitting there. I had been so nervous about the class that I actually studied vocabulary and verb tenses over Christmas break. When I saw her familiar face in the class, the worry vanished instantly.

It didn’t take long for my bottled hostility to leave, either. Through hours of visiting each other’s dorm rooms to quiz one another and giggle at strange-sounding Spanish words, we became not only neighbors, band mates, and fellow writing majors, but also friends. We were all-around “samers,” as Lindsay called it. No longer did I feel she was threatening my most closely held passions, but that we were sharing in them. She wasn’t chasing me anymore, but running beside me, a welcome companion.

We needed each other. She taught me how to cook and to dress more fashionably, and I taught her some of the more unconventional arts, like “dorky dancing.” We proofread each other’s papers and bounced story ideas off each other. We exchanged encouraging Bible verses, prayed together, and kept each other sane.

I especially needed her support during our sophomore year, when I became very interested in a senior named Ryan. My way of showing him I liked him involved a lot of teasing and obnoxious pranks, some of which I’d roped Lindsay into helping me with. I reasoned that, if we were meant to be together, Ryan might as well know my true personality from the get-go. But that was just the thing — I didn’t know if we were meant to be together until, at some unidentifiable moment during that semester break, I knew I was going to marry him. Simple as that, I knew it.

There was a problem, however. When it came to girls, Ryan acted completely disinterested. He seemed much more intent on hunting and fishing and tromping through the woods — which completely surrounded our little northern Minnesota college town — than finding his future spouse. Still, I told Lindsay how I felt about Ryan.

Lindsay had also taken interest in a young man, Ben, whom she had met at a Christian music festival that year. Like me, Lindsay was cautious when it came to dating. She wanted to make sure that if she dated someone, there was potential for a future. When we prayed for my future with Ryan, we also prayed for God’s direction in Lindsay’s life regarding Ben.

And then one day it happened. The familiar clicking of Lindsay’s high-heeled boots sounded behind me as she shared the news that she too knew who she was going to marry. Her voice shook with excitement as she described what happened. “When I was driving yesterday, I asked God if Ben was the one for me, and I saw a vision of Ben and me facing each other, smiling. I was wearing a wedding dress. I know it probably sounds like I’m trying to copy you, but I know I’m going to marry him.”

I believed her just as she had believed me. We clung to that belief when Ryan ignored me in church and when Ben took weeks to respond to Lindsay’s e-mails. We rejoiced over it when Ryan apologized for being aloof and when Ben started calling Lindsay.

Slowly, steadily, surely, the time did indeed approach for both of us. To the surprise of many, Ryan and I started dating that April, just before Ryan’s graduation. He opened up about his feelings for me one evening as we walked along the lake our campus bordered. A year and four months later, we were married.

True to her pattern, Lindsay wasn’t far behind. She began her journey with Ben on — get this — an evening snow-covered stroll the winter of her junior year. They were married the following December, just five short months after Ryan and me.

Ryan and I are currently living in Wyoming, and Lindsay and Ben reside in Florida. She already has two children and I have none, so I guess it’s my turn to follow her! I just pray that, despite the many miles between us, we will continue to write many more stories together.

We are both writers, after all.

~Loni Swensen

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