I look at my best friends and don’t see the wrinkles or shadows that a stranger might see. I see the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed lovebugs I’ve adored for years–decades, in many cases. The people I’ve laughed with, cried with, fought with, launched mischief with on the dancefloor, in the sandbox, on each other’s couches and in each other’s kitchens. This is the unique value of lifelong peers. We see each other’s common denominators through all the trappings. We see each other’s souls. Last night I came home giddy from my first-ever tap class and a bevy of dearhearts immediately texted to kvell, regardless of their days’ exhaustion and frustration. This is how it is. We cheer each other’s triumphs and check in when times are tough. We don’t require each other to be happy but are so very glad when we we are. I love you, pretty people, and as we enter a terrifying new era, I’m grateful to have your arms to clutch.