Dear MVP:

Dear MVP,

I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I have any idea what you went through, what I witness you continue to struggle through. I wish I did. I wish I could empathize with you on more than just a sympathetic level. I want to be able to share your pain, to lighten your shoulders just a touch, to bring you back to the present when I sense you’re becoming preoccupied. I can’t physically take away your pain, or erase your past, but maybe I can help to lighten your load.

Sometimes in life we actually do meet our soulmates. I’m not talking in the romantic sense here—not someone our hearts and bodies pine for—but exactly what the word says: our soul’s mate. Our other half. They may be a temporary fixture, in our lives for only a season or two, or they may be more permanent, in our lives until we can no longer lift that martini glass. You belong to the latter category, I’m already sure of it.

Sometimes those souls find each other in a clichéd way: surrounded by pitchers of light beer, buckets full of chicken wings, and screaming upstate fans in a downstate bar.

Sometimes those souls don’t understand just how much they need each other until one of them is passed out drunk in a diner and the other is packaging up a full order of pancakes, telling the cab driver, “82nd and York.”

Sometimes those souls go down the same lonely path of questioning everything about yourself and are the ones you turn to when those insecurities still arise.

Let me just take a moment to tell you I love you, MVP. You understand me on a level that nobody else in this city does. Do you know that? Do you have any idea just how important to me you are, how much you have helped me to grow as a person? I don’t say it nearly enough. It’s because of you that I am as comfortable as I am being exactly who I am. You inspire me and push me in ways nobody ever has before. I’m proud to be who I am today because of you.

We’ve both had our struggles, internally and externally. We’ve both run away to this beast of a city that we thought would swallow us up whole one time or another. We may have taken entirely different routes, but here we are, in a city we now call home, together. We found each other.

We may never share blood or a last name, but I will always love you as I would a brother. I will always call you family.