I still remember the first time I saw her, twelve years old, hiding in the depths of an oversized hoodie, nervous as our Year 8 teacher guided her into the light of the class' young judgmental eyes. Her eyes skirted the room until they locked on mine and I was a little taken aback when she shot me that full-blown, million-dollar California smile. She reminded me of a chipmunk - so slight and adorable, that button nose, seemingly shy but with some ambiguous air of mischief about her... I don't remember our first conversation, but K and I were inseparable from that day forward.
A month or so later, just before her thirteenth birthday, we were sitting at lunch munching on our sandwiches when a friend turned to her and asked, "So, are you guys, like, best friends now?" Curious, my eyes shifted toward K. Back then, the question was on par in seriousness with asking a couple if they were getting married. But K just scoffed and said "Yeaaah" in an almost irritated way, as if it was stupid to even ask, as if there was nothing more obvious. I smirked to myself in quiet satisfaction.
She only stayed a semester, and that was the longest we'd ever been in one country at the same time. K whizzed off back to California, leaving me in the Czech Republic feeling alone. But those six months of trouble-making, of childish games and fantastic adventures sealed a friendship that even the distance and time that has since separated us could never touch. We try to see each other annually, which is no easy task on a student budget - but she's here now, for the first time in three years, twenty years old and looking more beautiful than ever. See for yourselves...
[model: Katerina.B, photographer: Eliska.H]