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Dear Bryan:

Dear Bryan: I cannot imagine life had I never met you. We joke about how different your life would be if you just hadn't gone to lunch that day, but in all honesty, it changed my life that much too.

I first heard about you as the boyfriend of a girl I knew at church, as part of an elaborate plot to convince her mother that you really were an okay person and not a nutcase. When I eventually met you, I found you intriguing. You were my first date, and my first boyfriend; and, consequently, my first breakup. Then you became the part that really matter - my best friend. Over time, you also became my "other brother." Even my mom thinks of you that way - as my other brother, that is, not as her other son. And my grandmother asks after you whenever I visit, too. You may not have been the Great Love of My Life, but I have loved you (and continue to), as my friend and my family, in a way that is more constant and lasting.

You have seen more of the changes in me over time than anyone else. You met me before I went to college, when I was a rebellious, resentful girl desperate to leave behind a life that I couldn't stand. And you have been with me for almost all of what came afterward. I really miss taking long road trips with you, because that was the time I got to talk to you, to tell you what I was thinking, and to get you to talk to me about yourself. I know I have never been your closest friend, but I miss being one of your confidants.

You are a dedicated and dependable friend. I can't think of anyone else who would be quite as relaxed about someone asking to sleep on your floor for a couple of days, and staying for a couple of months. Nor anyone who, toward the end of the couple months, could comfortably discuss which of us had done more things with more people on your bed. And you're the one I can take as a random date to my high school reunion, a friend's wedding, or pretty much anywhere else. If the day ever comes that I should get married, you'll be my Man of Honor. I won't get married if you can't or won't be there. I need you beside me to support me, quite possibly literally.

I have tried very hard not to take undue advantage of your good nature, and to keep other people from abusing it as well. I haven't always succeeded, I know, but as long as I keep trying I feel better about the times I do need to ask. And I hope you know that I would do anything in my power for you, as well.

And there are so many little things that I can't begin to list them all. Like the BPFT. Waterworld. Medfest - take your pick. The day of road trip to Surfo House followed up by a Thieves' Tournament. The week you lived in the Commune. The emails I randomly copy you on in the middle of a long conversation with Bridget once all the context is gone and it's just confusing. The banter back and forth, that by now everyone who knows us could chime in on. The memories of people and places and things that no one else recalls. The friends that I never would have met without you, or that I never would have taken the time to get to know. The things I never would have had the strength to do without your support. At more than 650 words, this barely scratches the surface of everything I wish I could say about you. Thousands of words couldn't cover how much we've shared, and what you really mean to me.

Everybody needs a Bryan. Most of them just don't know it. I know how much I need you.