About 12 years ago, when I was living in my childhood home, new neighbors moved in next door and one of them was a kid about my age. We became the greatest of friends. We played the same video games, were always spending time outside, and went on family trips to different places together.
Since he was my neighbor we hung out virtually every day and did an insane amount together. He's one of the few great friends I had at the time that helped me with my anxiety, being happy, and making positive memories. We were inseparable. We had each other added on Xbox Live, and he had a very one of a kind gamertag. We played an unfathomable amount of Halo and Call of Duty together.
Our friendship came to an abrupt end when I sadly had to move away in 2011. It was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life and hit me hard. Due to not having a cell phone or ways to see him, I soon lost all contact with my best friend. He stopped going on Xbox due to his personal life, but I never did. I would be on every day after school, checking for him, waiting to play Black Ops or Halo Reach like we always used to. As time went on, my friends list greeted me with an increasingly depressing sight next to my friend's gamertag: "Last online: 9 days ago… Last online: 9 months ago… Last online: 9 years ago."
Jump to this year. After so much time had passed, I had abandoned hope of our friendship ever rekindling. I have him added on social media, and have seen his posts over the years, but because we had both changed so much and not knowing what to expect, I never reached out to him. He had a new life, as did I, and the things that used to bind us together were no more.
Then, something miraculous happened. I've never believed in chance, but the events that unfolded almost made me a believer. At the time, I had been playing League of Legends daily for several years. It was my main game, one of my few escapes in a difficult life. It had its ups and downs, I wasn't fantastic or particularly great, but I loved to play. One day, while queuing up in a blind for fun, I thought I saw something familiar. Looking over the names in the game, I thought to myself, "Doesn't that Thresh's name look familiar? Isn't that my best friend that I haven't seen in 9 years?"
I couldn't believe my eyes, and I rubbed them to make sure. Sure enough, that enemy Thresh had my best friend's exact gamertag. I hesitated, afraid of making a fool out of myself or possibly doxxing myself or my best friend in a public game. My heart was leaping as the realization hit me that this was my friend and he had no idea it was me. He had used his same name that he always used in games years ago, but I had a different one.
I typed a simple message to him, expressing how ecstatic I was to find him. He responded with fear first that I knew his name, then disbelief, and then he was overjoyed. We added each other immediately and it was a teary eyed reunion for me. I have never had something this momentous happen to me.
Afterwards, I broke down crying and laughing with joy at the odds of this happening. I never, at any time, had any inkling that my best friend ever played League of Legends. Here he was in a game with me at complete chance. Mind you, we still lived in the same state, but far apart. Out of the entire NA player base, my friend and I happened to be reunited at peak hours. I imagine we clicked queue up at the precise same moment.
After 7 years, League of Legends reconnected me with my long lost best friend that I thought I'd never talk to again. I was separated from him due to circumstances out of my control, but now we are brought back together. This was one of the most surreal moments in my life. We have already lit the fire of our nostalgia by playing the Halos on PC. It's been one of the highlights and happiest moments of my recent life, and especially meaningful due to the depressing dark year it has been. I'm excited about what the future has in store for our friendship.
I'm overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for being reunited. Thanks to all of you for reading my story and I hope it brought a smile to somebody. Thank you to League of Legends, for allowing this to be possible. I'd love to hear your stories. Have games ever reunited you with old friends?
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