Several years ago, after I was married but before I had our babies, I lost a friend. She didn’t die. She didn’t move away. Nothing actually happened. I lost her, however, because she decided she didn’t want me as a friend anymore. I fought for the friendship. I begged for the friendship. I pleaded for the friendship. And she still left me. She sent a note-one that I would have rather not gotten in retrospect-but she sent one nonetheless. It hurt in a very specific, compartmentalized way. This was a friend, you see, for the ages. Someone I spent years with-someone I trusted-someone I loved very much. And yet, she told me she didn’t want me as a friend anymore, and she referenced some vague, strange “happenings” as reasons for why she didn’t like me anymore. But again, nothing…actually…happened.
I was 26 or 27 at the time- a grownup if you will-and yet the pain I felt, that I still feel, from that rejection is profound. It’s reminiscent of the pain I felt in elementary school when all the cool girls were invited to a sleepover and I wasn’t. Even though I was an adult when this friend left me, and arguably more of an adult today, the pain knocked me off my feet. To this day, to this very minute, it still breaks my heart that we aren’t friends anymore. And worse, I will never know what happened in a world, in a time where nothing…actually…happened. What did I do? Did I change that much? Did she? At the time, and even now, it feels like the worst break-up I ever went through. It’s hard for me to see her picture, it’s harder for me to hear her name. The songs that remind me of parties we went to or nights out on the town-are songs I want banished from my playlists. The memories in which she plays a large part, are ones I’d like to forget-to erase from my memory…because it hurts so badly to think of them. Honestly? I thought that after a couple of months, I would get over it. I have plenty of friends who want to be my friend and who don’t send me nasty notes. Why should I care about this person? This person who doesn’t even like me? But this friend was different. As I said, she was one for the ages. Or so I thought. And here I am, all these years later with my beautiful babies and life around me, and I still miss her. I really miss her.
I look at that picture of my children and I think about the friends that they will make in life. I think about how important my own friends have been in my life-how woven into the fabric of my history they are. What a crucial role they play in my happiness, in my success, and I hope for C and H that they make good friends who treat them well. I hope, even if it’s just for a short while, that they have a friend like I did. Even if she/he leaves them in the end, I hope they can experience true and solid friendship because even though I miss it terribly and even though I still feel so much pain because of it, I wouldn’t trade the years I spent with her; the lessons she taught me; the laughs we shared. It was worth it. After writing that just then, I paused and thought about what I wrote. And I realized, it was worth it. I’m surprised by that statement. But the truth is, it was.