First there was Meghan. We were so very young, with families that were drastically different. Her parents were still married, smokers, cussers, encouragers. Mine were divorced, repulsed by any crude thing ever, over protectors. Her family welcomed me and we grew together for years – until they moved away. Her parents saved up a lot of money for a nice house, which they purchased and I helped them move into. We tried very hard to keep our friendship alive. My parents even bought me my first cell phone as an effort. We would swap weekends like a court would appoint weekend-dads. On Fridays I would either be packing an overnight bag or cleaning my room until it was spotless. We were as happy as we could be. We stayed up late watching tv and movies my mother would never approve of. We shared our first bottles of alcohol together, buzzed from a half each. We traveled together. We learned about makeup and bras and puberty together. We even found little boyfriends in her town. We were twelve. I felt like everything was going to be okay. Soon my parents started going through my cell phone… and I never saw Meghan again. Our ending was swift and confusing and it cut deep into the core of me. My parents said they couldn’t trust her parents. My parents mumbled bad influence. I felt very alone. Meg made new friends- friends that went on to stand beside her at the altar. She now has a husband and a daughter.
About three years later came Chelsea. She was the new kid at school, beautiful, adventurous. She wasn’t overly skinny and her teeth were crooked but she was happy and that was so attractive to us. She chose me to come into her life and I was in so much awe of her personality. She was a bright light among us and she was mine. I was fifteen. We bonded quickly. Chelsea was the oldest of 8 children to a single mother who was always yelling with a house that was always a mess but that didn’t stop us from interpretive dancing ourselves to sleep in her floor. I felt that when she came to stay at my house it gave her a much needed reprieve, so I often offered. My mother loved her. I am very sure it was because we got saved one September and started going to church together with some friends from school. I remember we walked 5 miles for KMART pizza once, we dated two boys kind of just because they had cars, we signed up for powder puff football that year for homecoming, she came to our family’s Christmas parties and we were there to rescue her when her home life became less than. It’s so hard for me to recall moments of our friendship because so much was crammed into a short time. I can’t even really tell you where we started to grow apart. She moved schools but I still saw her at church. She started hanging out with the people there more so than myself and she was happy. Once she turned 16, she didn’t need anyone to rescue her anymore. I got a boyfriend and a new group of friends. She stayed pretty prevalent until senior year, popping in and out of our lives, kind of letting us know that she was still breathing. She got a new best friend, Alexa, that none of us knew and they seemed so happy. But she changed, as we all do. It was dramatic for her, though. She went to college out of town and joined a sorority, drank a lot and got in a lot of trouble and even went missing for a day or two. Our paths have led us even further apart. She joined the Navy and has spent months overseas, she is noticeably skinnier (you go girl!!), she is now the eldest of 10 and I have no idea where she lives but her teeth are still adorably crooked.
Next came Delory. Delory saved me in every sense of the word and I am eternally in her debt. I was going through a really, really rough time and she offered herself to help me heal. I did, and our friendship blossomed. We were just silly together. We ate so much pizza and had so many sleepovers in her cool basement bedroom. She was amazing. Going into this friendship, she and I knew we had opposing beliefs. Extremely opposing. Her parents worked for the Lord and I was an atheist of two years but somehow that didn’t hinder our growth. Her parents were as overbearing as mine, if not more, something she and I were able to bond over. I was eighteen. We spent so much time together. In an effort to get out from under her parents, she decided to attend a bible school all the way in Oklahoma. I could feel my heart breaking. It was so selfish of myself but I could not go back to the girl I was before she was my friend and I felt that was imminent. A bunch of us threw her a going away party, that was the beginning of the end and I saw her only a couple of times after the move. She met and fell in love with an amazing man out there, who is now her husband. Their engagement drove the largest wedge between us as I, as secular as she knew I was, tried to tell her that she was rushing the biggest decision of her life. She was about to pledge her entire life, money and decisions to someone who’s never even seen her naked. That was the end. We stopped talking. She went on to marry him in 2013 and we have recently reconciled. They are moving to Kansas next week to work with a church. It wasn’t easy to swallow my pride as I’m sure it wasn’t easy to forgive the harshness I presented her with, but I can say today that we are friends and I wish her the best.
About the time Delory announced she was leaving, I found an unlikely ally in Alexa, Chelsea’s previously stated new best friend. We were nineteen. She felt like a magical creature to me, so creative and free spirited. She was hard to read most days and full of so many ideas, I often feel like I was just along for the ride, basking in the awe that this person wanted to spend time with me. We grew close very fast. I’m talking with-each-other-every-day and my-mother-thought-I-was-a-lesbian fast. She was a whirlwind. She was so beautiful. Her mother loved me and my mother loved her. She introduced me to so many books and so much good music and so many people, I truly feel that she was the most distinctive catalyst in my personal growth. She made me want to be someone better, someone that she deserved to be friends with, that precious little angel. I looked at her and I could see the rest of my life in her face. I loved her. After the best year of my life, we began spending less time together. Life got in the way. I got engaged, she helped me plan, she was my bridesmaid and she danced the night away with me the night my life changed forever- then she disappeared. I can’t say that I didn’t feel it coming. Domesticity never quite was her cup of tea. Today we are living in the same city, she is an enigma, a shadow of the girl that was my best friend what feels like years ago. I think about her often and she knows that she always has a place in my home.
During Delory, I met a girl named Deeanna. I didn’t know anything about her, she just started showing up in Delory’s basement. She was nice. A scandal led us into our friendship, an affair, for her, that would last two years and an affair for me that would last well into this very moment. Our relationship is like home. Familiarity is our love language to the point that we are terrified to move on from the other. But why would I ever want to move on from my best friend? We have suffered heartbreaks via others with each other. We have suffered heartbreaks via each other with each other. We have spent days and days and days lying in bed together, we have hundreds of pictures together, tens of thousands of text messages. We are connected. We chose each other to be the keepers of secrets, places of peace. We have a deep love. We have fulfilled our duties to one another. But I can feel time changing us. Time has already changed us but we held on and adapted accordingly but now I know we are tired. I was eighteen when I first saw her. She watched me blossom with Alexa, cry about Jordan, she watched me talk to strange people on the internet and she stole my horse pajama pants. When the time came, I tried to help her adjust to single life and into a life with me, but the time period was little before she was in love again. Then we were in love at the same time and everything started feeling like a contest. It bummed me out. I got engaged and she was excited for me- but was wholly absent in the process. She detached herself from me. That was 2013 and I fear that we still suffer from it. Onward, we found forgiveness and she had a front row seat to married life. She has since struggled with her feelings toward marriage in general, a space in which we disagree. A space in which I believe is responsible for the distance between us now. We agree that our paths are so different, so this won’t be news to her when she reads it, neither will my sadness be. But now when she writes about her best friends I am no longer listed. Now when she writes about her future, I don’t feel connected, I have trouble seeing myself in her plans. Sometimes she talks of marriage with contempt but I know that is a desire within her heart. There are two years between our ages and I never thought it would catch up to us but I feel it is, and it is catching up fast. Her network is so spread out, I get lost just thinking about it. Her new friends are so plenty. I just get lost. I am so very married, an important milestone that we don’t get to share or experience together, a milestone that is skyrocketing my personal growth in ways that’s hard to convey to someone that has never made such a large commitment. We are changing. There are valleys growing between us. But as I said before, we are so used to each other, our presence and support is something we’ve counted on for five years now and being without it would be devastating.
It has always occurred to me that I am the common denominator in my failed friendships. I have no evidence to disprove that but I remain optimistic that this is life and by such I am experiencing it wholly. Will I ever get the hang of best friendships? Will my insides ever stop aching for female companionship? Only time will tell.