One of my best friends Vladimir Paniouchkine got married this past weekend in a beautiful ceremony to his girl friend of six years Victoria Sutherlen. Whenever a close friend or family member gets married it stirs up emotions, and makes you think about your relationship with that person. I was no exception to that.
Vlad and I met way back in 2002 at Glendale High School. I was the chubby girl back then, and he was the big football star. Vlad never cared about being popular or about high school politics. He was a good student, and great athlete, but didn’t care which click he was a part of or who he hung out with at lunch. I on the other hand spent a lot of time caring what others thought, planning big parties, and being everyone’s biggest cheerleader.
We met for the first time in my Biology classroom. He stayed late to talk with my teacher, and I came in to ask her a few questions. He followed my friend and I out to the quad afterwards. I thought to myself, “What a random guy.” We were close friends for two years, until he graduated and went off to college. We lost touch, when his new girl friend sent me an IM calling me a few choice words and asking me never to message him again, but in the summer of 2006 we reconnected.
It’s difficult to keep guy friends. When I was in high school I had two best female friends, the rest were guys. Growing up spending a lot of time with my dad, I played sports, watched sports, camped, and enjoyed the outdoors. Basically, I knew how to speak guy. When I graduated, and lost a lot of weight, a lot of my friendships with men changed. Boys grow up, and get girl friends, and those girl friends don’t always want another girl hanging around their man. I’m not the type to stir up drama, so I gave them space and made new friends.
But when it came to Vlad nothing changed. We always remained friends, and always made time for one another. We were supportive of each other, and never jealous. When we hung out it was always fun. When he found Victoria I was happy for him. When he announced they were getting engaged over dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, I was excited. When I heard the proposal story, I was proud, and when I saw him kiss the bride I was emotional.
When a friend gets married you think, “I wonder if things will change,” but if your good enough friends they won’t. If you respect their relationship, things won’t change. If their successes are yours, you’ll always be a part of them. If their happiness is yours, you’ll always be happy for them. Vlad and I will always be friends, and I’m thankful for that.