When we first started talking about leaving Senegal, I was brought to tears at the thought of leaving Khady. I said to Shawn, “What if I never find a friend like her again?!” He said, “Then you be a friend like her to other people.”
That comment has really stuck with me. And so has Khady. It’s not easy living 5,418 miles away from each other. Especially when we used to live just a short taxi trip and a few quartiers away from each other. But the modern convenience of texting has made things manageable despite the distance. We have this ongoing conversation that has no beginning and no end. It has just always been. Or so it seems.
She tells me her son may have lice and that she’s off to go look at Pinterest for pixie cut inspiration.
I send her a picture of what I wore to my job interview.
She tells me her fears about terrorism.
I tell her it’s hard not knowing anyone here, that we found a home church, and that it snowed again last night.
She tells me that sweet corn has returned to the Dakar streets again. It is January, after all. She then proceeds to make fun of my “random” (but legit) method of eating corn (not like a typewriter but in a circle).
I tell her about our new town, how it seems like a quiet cowboy town, but really there are a lot of missiles in silos and that helicopters circle around all day.
I send her a picture of me wearing my beaded wax print necklace.
I make fun of her for wearing chayas.
We discuss how one goes about making friends with people who haven’t lived overseas.
She sends me pictures of Yvia and Alec wearing clothes they picked out themselves.
I send her another picture of snow. (In case she forgot what it looks like).
I text her a screenshot when an African friend writes and asks how “Chowne” (Shawn) is.
She eats Shady Shack for me and I eat all that American food for her.
We crack ourselves up with hashtags of our own invention.
We send rambling texts for the other to read when they wake up (you know, six hour time difference and all).
I tell her what shows to download.
We’re both fluent in emoji.
She tells me what exciting new restaurants have opened in Dakar, and even in Pointe E (our hold ‘hood).
We can both relate to life in Senegal. Where she is now, where we have been.
We ask each other how we can be praying.
It’s hard being apart. But investing in a friendship like ours is worth it. Even if all we can do (for now) is text across these 5,418 miles.