Symbiotic, Not Codependent
Since the beginning of our college careers, Hannah and I have been slowly morphing into one being. It started freshman year when ate lunch at a table for two in the dining hall every day of the week. Then we moved in together, and it escalated from there.
Now we’re roommates. We’re also co-writers of this blog. Instructors have taken to calling us “thing one and thing two,” in our yoga classes. Last semester we both got jobs in the same office on campus. Oh, and we’re taking a fiction class together right now. We’ve started to dress alike, and sometimes we say the same thing at the same time.
We’re working on it.
Recently, it has gotten to the point where people start to get confused when they see us apart. A few weeks ago I strolled past the windows of our office, all by myself. One of our coworkers shot up from his chair and called, “Hey! Where’s your other half?!” (For the record, I was on my way to meet her for dinner.) Last week I announced that I was going to the RedSox game with my brothers and someone gasped, “You’re going somewhere without the other one?” We might just work with a bunch of wiseasses, but we’re starting to get the feeling that people think of us as being codependent. And I’d like to clear that up right now.
For the record, Hannah and I are not surgically fused together. We’re symbiotic, not codependent, and that is an important distinction. Allow me to explain.
You know those little fish that sort of hangout on sharks’ backs? The fish keep the shark’s skin clean, and the shark protects the fish. They each do something that helps the other, and this is how Hann and I work. (Since I’m the one writing this post, I totally get to be the shark. Suck it, Hann.)
This summer Hannah and I spent a weekend on Cape Cod. It wasn’t until I arrived and opened my overnight bag that I realized how severely I had under-packed. I didn’t even bring a towel. (As far as I’m concerned, if I remember shoes and my car keys then it’s a good day.) Hannah, on the other hand, was armed to the teeth with everything practical that one might need for a day and night by the sea. But as we set off for the ocean, Hannah turned and walked proudly in the opposite direction of the water. Head held high, confidently calm, and completely wrong.
This is not the first time this has happened. About once a week Hannah leads us fearlessly in the wrong direction, and I used to follow and trust that she had a plan. Folks, she almost never has a plan. She’s winging it, just like the rest of us. So now I’ve taken to ignoring her and walking the correct way until she notices and catches up. Works like a charm.
So while Hann approached traffic with her towel under her arm, I turned and walked in the other direction. She caught up to me a few moments later, laughing at herself. And at that moment, we realized something beautiful. She never knows where she’s going and I always forget everything.
“You know what? If you walk next to me and tell me where to go for the rest of our lives, then I will pack for you.” -Hann.
And that’s when we realized that we have a good thing going here. She’s the little fish to my shark, and the person I make fun of when she gets us lost. We’re soulmates, roommates, yoga buddies, and two halves of a whole idiot. I think the best part of college is finding your person who’ll pack for you.
And we’re symbiotic, not codependent.