We've been friends for 19 years, and for the past six we've been pursuing what we refer to as "friendship nirvana": a state of friendship liberated from the shackles of squabbling and resentment. Before you roll your eyes, it's important to point out that we spent years being assholes to each other — until we learned about a way out.
Sonia: Miranda and I met at Jew camp in New York's Finger Lakes region during the pimpliest stage of adolescence. She told me I looked like a tree because I was wearing brown pants and a green shirt, and I burst into tears. She was so weird, perceptive, unshaven — this irreverent city kid. Her jokes were queen. We both had a lot of rebellion in us and were always wreaking havoc together, but there was also a certain sensitivity pulsing beneath the surface.
Miranda: I immediately felt a genuine softness for Sonia, even if we were just doing basic tween crap most of the time. She was such a fascinating collision of lightness and darkness: vibrant and brooding, ecstatic and melancholic, boisterous and introverted. I was inspired by how, even then, she saw herself as a work in progress. Certain experiences could have such a profound effect on her. Also, we both looked like we'd been raised by wolves with our long, untamed, pyramidal, frizz-infested hair. We were somehow of the same tribe: Sonia wore all camo, and everything I owned had the Champion logo on it.
But there was always an underlying competition: who's more creative, charismatic, attractive? We could never really acknowledge it, which was embarrassing. It would reveal itself as multiple shades of bitchiness. And it's heartbreaking because you love this person so much, but the fights just keep happening.
Sonia: We didn't have good tools for dealing with our conflicts, so we used weaponry instead. Miranda has a gift with language, which she was able to use destructively. She had the capacity to be at once very articulate and very vicious. Even when we were kids, she was always making our camp counselors cry. Once, this one counselor wouldn't let her use the bathroom because he thought she was lying to get out of some boring activity. She couldn't hold it in, so she peed on the floor in front of him — then let him have it, lecturing him about how disgraceful it was to shame her for her basic human needs. She really laid into him. Years later, the mere mention of the incident would reduce him to tears.
Miranda: Sonia had great difficulty expressing her feelings. She would act evasive, which made it nearly impossible to resolve problems. You'd sense something was wrong and ask her what was up — and she'd say "Nothing," or shrug. It meant that little misunderstandings that could be cleared up in two hours instead took two weeks to deal with. This pattern continued when we were in college.
Sonia: We lived together for part of the first semester sophomore year. It was great at first — we had a jumbo trampoline in our room and spent most of our free time bouncing on it with people we were trying to hook up with. I was a transfer student, but Miranda had already been there a year and was getting sick of the social scene. She just wanted to keep to herself. Her negativity was holding me back, and I wanted to move into the weed-farming nudist co-op that I kept hearing about.
Miranda: It was clear that something was up, so I asked her about it, but instead of explaining her feelings to me, she just told everyone else about it. It sucked. We didn't really see each other for a few months afterward. I didn't even want to visit her when she moved because I'd get a contact high just from setting foot inside that stank-ass dorm.