When I was 11-years-old, I met one of my forever best friends.
Destini Riordan walked over to me during Orientation Night at Covenant Christian School in Mobile, Alabama.
"I like your shoes," she said.
I looked down at our matching saddle oxfords and back up at this chick, who looked like a tween version of Jennifer Love Hewitt, a popular actress in the late nineties, and who was oblivious to the fact that the school had uniforms.
"We all have the same shoes," I replied. I guess Destini hadn't picked up on that.
Either way, because of our matching shoes, we became pals.
Destini was one of three children and I was an only child. This worked out well because we had plenty of room at my house for our slumber parties - which happened several nights a week.
We liked all the same things - music by Britney Spears and Mariah Carey, gymnastics and Bonnebell glitter lip gloss.
We cheered together in middle school and high school. My mom was so worried during tryouts that we both wouldn't make it. Destini was naturally more athletic than me - but I like to believe that I made up for it with pep and spirit. Honestly, we wouldn't have wanted to cheer without the other.
When Destini quit cheerleading, I decided to quit cheerleading, too.
Then we joined the Chess Club, Art League, Show Choir and Diamond Dolls. Yearbook, I believe, was the only activity I did without Destini.
Every Spring Break my mother, Pamela, would take us on a vacation to the beach or to visit family in Tennessee. Destini even skipped school and came to Nashville with me once for my great-grandmother's funeral.
My mom bought us matching clothes all the time. Our only condition was that my color was pink and Destini's was blue. I decided this, and because Destini was the laid-back counterpart to my Type A personality, she went along with it.
In the middle of our senior year of high school at Cottage Hill Christian Academy, my mother and I decided to move back to Tennessee. It was right after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast and my grandmother had an ill spell.
I was excited to go to a new school and be closer to my family in Tennessee - but the hardest part of moving away was saying goodbye.
Destini gave me a pink topaz friendship ring - because pink was my color and we were going to be friends regardless of the distance.
Nearly four years ago I traveled to McComb, Mississippi, to be Destini's Maid of Honor at her wedding.
Fast-forward to 2016: I have a 2-year-old son, J.R. and Destini is expecting a baby boy, Heath, due Nov. 1.
Because of her pregnancy Destini didn't travel to Alabama for our 10-year High School Reunion this month at Cottage Hill; therefore, I didn't go either.
A lot of things in life will change - but best friends really are forever.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.