I have one other friend who loves Girls Aloud (they jumped on the train after discovering Cheryl via reaction gifs on ONTD years ago), and I sent him a clip of the Cheryl/Nicola performance before going to sleep last night. We had brunch today, and naturally, I wore my now ill-fitting Ten Tour t-shirt, to which he pointed out and said, “Oh, was this because of last night’s performance?” And I realized I had to share this news with him: that our dear Sarah had passed. Silly as it may seem, it was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had; we both broke into tears at the restaurant and ordered our first bottomless mimosas in years. In so many ways, Girls Aloud has felt like this cult phenomenon that only I know about. I’ve always rejoiced in finding another person who even knows their name; so to spend today mourning in company made this even more real that I was prepared for. Her impact goes far beyond anything I could have imagined as an isolated American gay teen in the early aughts.