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Plan B
By Molly Each

So, my Plan B just got married. And before I continue you can stop with any judgment and oh my god she's so shallow thoughts, because I know at least half of you have a Plan B. It's that person who you think you could definitely spend the rest of your life with, provided that your plan A never shows up, or disappears, or ends up being a plan A-hole. It's the Plan B of your future; in case you don't find your one true love, at least you get to spend the rest of your life with someone that you love (or at least like), or are comfortable around, or could probably live with. Like my friend Megan? Her Plan B was to end up with her friend Jeff, and even though he's gay they'd totally have a super fun rest of their lives together. And my friend Lindsay? Her Plan B is that ex that she knows will always take her back.

My Plan B was my best friend, Youssef. Youssef is this tall Egyptian dude with a semi-large afro who always wears Minnesota Timberwolves t-shirts and who walks like he's on his way to the beach. I can't tell you exactly how we met, just that it was in high school, but I can tell you when we got tight. It was sophomore year in college. A bunch of us had been planning a backpacking trip through Europe but when it came time to buy the tickets, nearly everyone bailed except for Youssef, me and two other guys. But we were undeterred by the lameness of our friends and the four of us went anyway.

By the end of a backpacking trip you either loathe your companions or you become besties with them (you know, best buds, BFFs). Which is exactly what happened with Youssef and me. Drunk conversations in London pubs, high conversations at the cafes in Amsterdam, sleepy conversations on the overnight trains -- by the end of our 6-week journey Youssef was much more than my pal from high school.

So with a friend like Youssef -- a guy who lives to travel and experience life and do awesome things -- there are too many stories to tell and only half of them will even be mildly funny to anyone because so many stories are of the "guess you had to be there" variety, so here's an abbreviated list, a Top 5 moments of our friendship.

5. The summer we were twenty-one we drove six hours to Missouri, dropped a hundred bucks or so on fireworks, turned around, drove home to Minnesota and lit them off the edge of his parents' dock on Orchard Lake.

4. A couple years later the World Cup was in Korea, and all the games were on at 4:00 a.m., and I would set my alarm for 3:30, drive over to Youssef's and we'd watch England vs. Portugal or the US vs. Brazil in tired silence before passing out on opposite ends of the couch.

3. Then next year he visited me when I was teaching English in Madrid, and we spent every night eating tapas, drinking sangria, and rolling home as the sun started to rise.

2. When we were twenty-five, we went on a camping road trip from San Francisco to LA where we pulled up by the ocean at night, and just drank wine and roasted shrimp under the stars.

And #1: I won tickets on a radio show for an all-expense-paid trip to the Bridge benefit concert in San Francisco -- yeah, people really win these things! Naturally, I took Youssef. Now this moment probably ranks in my top ten moments ever in my life: Sitting in an open amphitheater on a perfect sixty-degree Northern California night listening to Eddie Vedder join Neil Young on "Harvest Moon." I got that absolutely, unbelievably happy feeling, where your heart is like, taking up your whole chest and you get this like, fizziness in your nose and you could burst into tears at any moment out of pure joy if you're one of those happy and sad criers and your mind just stops to take a picture of everything about that moment.

Okay, I know how this sounds. Drinking wine under the stars, going on vacation together -- I bet you're wondering why he wasn't my Plan A, right? Well it just wasn't like that! He didn't give me butterflies and I didn't want to jump his bones when I looked at him, or spend an entire Sunday in bed with him, and I never wanted to cuddle up into that awesome spot between the shoulder and neck. He was always so Youssef -- just comfortable, cozy, accepting and indispensable.

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