These days, popcorn is a favorite snack of mine. It’s super low in calories and is surprisingly filling. I absolutely have to have it in a bowl, though, I will not eat it out of the bag.
But every time I eat popcorn, I think about my best friend Molly.
Like most girls, I have a best friend who is my age and with whom I have been friends since the ripe old age of 16. When I was 8 years old, due to some family issues, I retook the second grade. From then on, I was always one year older than everyone else in my class. That one year means a lot when you’re in grade school, and even into high school, so finding someone my own age in any of my classes was difficult. Until I found Molly.
Molly and I took chorus together sophomore year. At first, we were just pleasant friends – the kind where you exchange pleasantries and share the occasional inside joke and that’s all you need. The following year, my family was looking for a new church to attend and we ended up at the church Molly went to. Justin and I had started dating at that point, and I remember calling Molly to tell her the night Justin asked me to be his girlfriend. Justin and I continued to attend church with Molly, mostly by ourselves after a while. This gave the three of us a weekly opportunity to hang out outside of school, and it gave Molly and I a huge chance to bond.
Because of the aforementioned age-to-grade deal I had going on, Molly was one class ahead of me in high school, so she graduated first. She went away to school, clear up in Ohio, to Malone – the place she had dreamed of going for as long as I’d known her. She continued school up at Malone and I stayed local for the first two years. After that, I transferred to the school Justin went to and earned my BA from there. Before Molly could finish school, due to financial reasons, she dropped out and moved back home to SC.
In the summer of 2007, she married Andrew, the boy she’d been dating on and off since high school. The fall of 2007 was the semester I started at the new school, so I wasn’t local anymore. But every time I came home to visit, Molly and I would go out for drinks and I thought it was grand.
When we weren’t having an absurd amount of fun throwing back Black Cherry Cosmopolitans, I would go over to Molly and Andrew’s house and hang out there. The first time I ever went over there, Molly gave me the grand tour. She pointed out everything she loved about the house, which had been Andrew’s childhood home, and sort of drilled it into my head that this was her house and that she lived here. She made it sound like the most wonderful thing in the world to have your own place, away from your parents – something my 21-year-old self didn’t know anything about yet. Eventually we made our way into the kitchen and she asked if I was hungry. After rummaging through the cabinets, Molly suggested some popcorn. As we were standing in the kitchen, I remember her telling me how you decide what to buy for groceries, how you decide how to decorate. It sounded heavenly. As she was making a list of reasons why she loved her house so much, she ended with, “And all the popcorn you could ever eat.” It wasn’t the land of milk and honey, it was the land of popcorn.
I don’t know why that story sticks out in my head so much. I guess now that I have my own place and I live on my own and I go grocery shopping and clean and everything, some days it doesn’t seem like the land of popcorn that I once thought it was going to be. Being able to buy my own popcorn doesn’t have the same thrill as it did three years ago when I did it for the first time. But I guess it’s a sweet reminder of how simple life can be. Where Molly and I now worry about car payments and rent, that only concern at one time was popcorn. That’s what best friends are for – to remind you that sometimes, all you need is popcorn.