A Friend is Nothing but a Known Enemy

October 14, 2010
She made sure she got a window seat on her plane ride to Florida so she would be able to take mental photos of what she was leaving behind and what she was coming into. The pilot made the “Fifteen minutes left” announcement and all she could see was miles of endless navy blue ocean. She wondered how it was possible that ocean shades vary so greatly, like Florida compared to the Caribbean or other places; all the while they are all connected. She brushed this thought out of her head, she hated when she got caught up in silly ideas like that. She brushed her long, thick black hair from her shoulders and checked her make-up in her compact. Her eyes looked greener than their normal brown as she turned her face to the side, she always did that because she thought it made her strong features less noticeable. She heard a ding instructing her to fasten her seatbelt, and as she did so, she leaned back, closed her eyes, and reminisced.

Born Sloan Kaster on April 12, 1991, it seemed to the whole world she was given everything on a silver platter. The glitz and the glam is all anyone ever saw, and most of the time all anyone cared to see, but those who took the time to dig deeper knew there was so much more than that. It was and had never been a constant parade of rainbows and butterflies in her life. She could get any bag or necklace she wanted but could never get a hold of her dad when she needed him or find her mother sober. They were never around and, in a sense, treated her like a trophy child, so that’s the role she took on. She never allowed herself anything below a “B” in any classes, and even made it a point to set her own boundaries. But it was when she was with the very girls she was with on that plane that she could let her guard down, become the complete opposite of what her parents and society expected her to be. So that’s why she was on her way to a completely different way of life with no plan, with only the girls who understood her best, into a world with no expectations or standards. Her parents weren’t happy but they didn’t know her anyhow. She checked her watch and smiled. Five minutes until her new life would finally begin.
Taylor picked at the ends of her never-been-colored, sun kissed hair then whipped her compact out and attempted, for the tenth time that day, to tease her hair. She hated how it always clung to her head and started debating in her head yet again if she should get a perm. She looked to her right and saw Sloan with her head back, eyes closed. Past her was this endless navy blanket. She stretched her mile-long legs out into the aisle and looked at her feet impatiently. Being an only child she was both terrified and excited at what awaited her once their plane touched down.

She was born as the result from a test tube. Her mom had issues for years getting pregnant. When finally she did, Taylor Madden was born. An only child, she was somewhat sheltered and worshipped her whole life and she was aware of this. Her mom was a complete mess when she left, but it didn’t matter; Taylor was ready to push her boundaries, see what else was really out there, the good and the bad. Too beautiful for her own good, she had no plan as to what she was going to do once they landed. All she knew was that she had her closest friends with her, a beautiful face and an anxious attitude about her future. The most turbulence she’d experienced in her life was watching Sloan’s. She was absolutely the strongest girl Taylor had come to know, and she both admired her and felt sorry for her. Her life was a walking daytime drama. Her features were so unlike the rest of the girls, bold and dark, both of which resembled her lifestyle. It frustrated Taylor as to how much it was impossible to understand Sloan’s life, and yet people judged her for it anyway. Watching it first hand, Taylor still didn’t understand it herself, so how could anyone else claim to? She grabbed Sloan’s hand and as she opened her eyes they exchanged a smile that only friends of sixteen years could.

Courtney was annoyed, as usual. She had lost rock paper scissors and was sitting across from her two best friends next to an older, sleeping, obviously established man. The first hour of the flight was spent discussing his business affairs and how his daughter would be attending Pepperdine University this fall, all of which she really couldn’t care less about. She was definitely relieved when he quietly fell asleep and found peace in her headphones.

She never lead on to her friends the type of music she was really into; they would think it was weird, so she went along with and danced to modern day pop and hip hop but when it was just her, she found relief in alternative and acoustic sound. She used music to make sense of things, to relate to, to remind herself she wasn’t alone in whatever she was going through. She was planning on making a career out of it, on the business end. Discover new talent, watch their rise to fame, all that stuff. She was no stranger to controversy. She had a beautiful look and was completely aware of it and made others fully aware as well, a characteristic not very welcomed by most. She didn’t mean to be conceited, but apparently that’s how she came off, so it must have been who she was; she was okay with that. She’d never met anyone who understood her more completely than the two girls she was with now and couldn’t wait to continue her life with them, find new friends, new love.

The plane touched down with shaking force; it always made Sloan nervous. She opened her eyes, took a deep breath and waited as the plane taxied the runway. When the ding came on letting them know it was okay to move about the cabin, she jumped up right away. Taylor had an aisle seat so she grabbed Sloan’s bag from the overhead compartment and handed it to her. The first thing Sloan did was grab her cell phone but then she stopped herself. She wasn’t ready to return to reality yet, even considered getting a new phone, new number. This idea was unrealistic but regardless, she shoved her phone back in her bag and shimmied her way down the aisle. The three girls laughed, fixed their hair, applied lip-gloss, all while walking toward the airport’s terminal. The three were greeted with a wave of humidity, and bright fluorescent lighting. Sloan choked on her breath and thought, “This is where I’m supposed to be.”

Sloan looked across the room at Carson. He was still sleeping but she couldn’t. She sat on her couch remembering her first day coming to Miami and how much things had changed since then. It was early for her to be awake, around 9 a.m. and considering they hadn’t gotten back to her place until six that morning, it was really early. Everything became so overwhelming to her at that point. Was it really worth it? She watched Carson’s tan chest, tangled in her bleach white sheets, slowly move up and down. She placed her hand on her own chest and felt her reckless heartbeat. Carson made everything speed up and slow down at the same time and she wondered if that would ever go away.

Courtney wasn’t sure where she was. She squinted one eye open and realized she was on her couch. She had no idea what time it was and had no desire to know, had no desire to do anything at all. It had been a long night she was sure of that, a tequila night, a night you don’t remember and hate yourself for the morning after. She was home though, that was more than she could say most of the time. Everything had gone so down hill for her since her whole world got ripped away from her, and she didn’t know how to stop the crash. Most of the time, when the alcohol or drugs could hide it from her, she could keep the memories in the back of her head, but it was moments like these when she didn’t have the strength to fight them. She remembered the second they landed in Miami, the pure innocence and excitement she had. Nothing could go wrong, she was sure of it. And she was completely wrong. She remembered the first time she saw him and how her entire world stopped. She remembered the first time she kissed him and how their names sounded so perfect together. She remembered introducing him to her best friends and how much they had acted genuinely happy for her. She remembered the text and how fucking immature it was of him. She remembered not understanding why she wasn’t good enough anymore, how Sloan had been there for her. And she remembered walking in on the two people she had loved most in this world love each other more than they ever loved her.

Taylor was cleaning her shower and she was p***ed off. And when she’s p***ed, she cleans. She always was anymore and her house was spotless. She didn’t know what the f*** had happened to her whole damn life. What the hell had happened to her friends? She didn’t even know them anymore. Sloan was a backstabbing sl** and Courtney was always too f***ed up to know where she was. The whole reason the three of them moved down there was for a new start, and that’s exactly what they got: a terrible one. Miami turned out to be a city made for ripping dreams and relationships apart. With every broken glass came another tear in her relationships, another thread cut. It came to a point where there was no threads left keeping the three of them together. Taylor did everything she could to try to keep them together but too much had gone wrong and nothing had gone right. The relationships Taylor had with Sloan and Courtney were unbreakable back home, but here everything changed. There was nothing she could do to bring them back together and she was having an extremely hard time accepting this. She scrubbed harder and cursed an awful string of words under her breath in no particular order.
They all had their own goals coming into Miami, whether they wanted to admit it or not. Courtney wanted to fall in love, Sloan just wanted a way to be happy and Taylor wanted to experience new things. It all happened, which should be a great thing, right? No. Courtney fell completely in love with someone who just so happened to be the key to Sloan’s happiness as well, and Taylor watched everything she had ever known completely fall apart, no matter how hard she tried to keep it all together. Because Sloan got Carson, Courtney was miserable, and unreachable ninety percent of the time. Sloan questioned if she could ever be completely happy ever again, considering what had happened between her and Courtney and how she had lost Taylor along the way with out even realizing it. It was like she woke up one day and everything had changed. Taylor hated Sloan for ruining everything and she hated Courtney for handling everything so poorly. None of them knew each other at all anymore. It had been six months since they’d gotten to Miami. They went from holding hands and laughing on their way out of the airport to living completely different lives. It was one of those situations that’s entirely too miserable and happens way too often.

Sloan was sitting on her couch again, after getting up to make coffee. She hated thinking about it but sometimes she couldn’t fight it. She remembered when Courtney first introduced her to Carson, how the second she locked eyes with him she knew there was no one else for her. She tried to shake this feeling for as long as she could but the resistance didn’t last long. She wasn’t strong enough to fight it. She knew how in love Courtney was with him but she was in love with him, too. When Courtney was off visiting her parents Sloan thought it’d be okay, just to try and get it out of her system, hopefully it would only need to be a one-time thing. She remembered first touching him, the heat from his breath on her neck, she knew it was wrong, and afterward she knew it wasn’t going to end. The sunshine in the morning greeted her along with crashing glasses, screaming words, and wet eyes. She tried to calm Courtney down but there was no point. How could she do something so awful to a person who had always been there for her? She still didn’t even understand it herself. She watched Courtney run crying out of his condo and remembered his embrace right after, how she felt lost in it and knew there was no way she could leave it. That was three months ago and Sloan had yet to talk to Courtney or Taylor. After everything went down she ignored every phone call and text from Taylor informing her on what an awful person she was. She knew she handled everything in the most immature and mindless fashion possible, but she’d never known anything to be truer than the fact that love is blind.

Courtney stood up and looked around. Her apartment was a wreck but she couldn’t have cared less. She destroyed her kitchen looking for anything to take the edge off but came up short. She threw on her old, damaged, leather jacket and an oversized pair of sunglasses found in the cracks of her couch and walked out the door.
She was greeted by an overwhelming atmosphere of sunlight and hated it, “This is my life now,” she thought.
Taylor had never realized how accurate the idea that nothing lasts forever was until the past six months happened to her. She always found some accuracy in the statement but knew her and her friends would be an exception, never even thought twice about it. But there she was, cleaning a shower that didn’t need it, all because she didn’t know where else to channel her anger. It was like the past six months kept seeping through the floor of her shower, and so she sat there, trying her hardest to scrub away the memories.
Sloan stood up from the couch and shook thoughts of the last six months from her head. She jumped back in bed where she rested her head on Carson’s shoulder. She fell asleep, into a world of haunting nightmares and memories, to the sound of their hearts beating in sync next to each other.





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