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Want to know a story?
Once upon a time, there was a shy girl who stood shivering on a pool deck a few nights a week because swimming was the only sport she didn’t hate. And one day, this girl met another girl. And they became friends.
You know how with some people, forming a friendship literally takes no time at all? Like, within a matter of days two complete strangers become the best of friends? That’s what these two girls were like. After a few months, this new girl became a closer friend and confidant than other friends she had known for years. And both girls agreed that they had something special, and both came to believe that each had found a great friend in the other.
At least, that’s how I think it happened. It’s my side of the story, anyway. I still wonder what yours is.
Want to know the ending? I’ll try to skip through the middle quickly first, just so that it makes a little more sense. Basically, these girls were friends for about three years, three years of music and writing and coffee and trust. Three years of secrets and sleepovers and stories. Three years of feeling like things would never, could never change, that here was a friendship so strong that nothing could shake it – not the darkest secrets, not the greatest differences, not the worst sides coming out in complete trust that the other person would not only get over the moods they saw, but would help work through them. Three years of what felt like best friends.
And then something went wrong. And I still don’t know what, and I still freeze sometimes during the day as a random memory hits and I begin to wonder all over again. Because then we both got busier, and the friendship we had been building for three years began to sway dangerously. And I know, I am certain, that I tried to keep that from happening. I remember all of the phone calls, all of the IMs, all of the desperate attempts to get back in touch because I could feel our friendship slipping, disappearing in a way that terrified me. And you never did anything.
Don’t you remember? Don’t you remember the conversations, the confessions? Don’t you remember the night I sat beside you as you went into hysterics over a lost friend? Hadn’t it ever occurred to you later on, after the friendship we had had was nothing but a memory, that I might have done the same thing over a friend who I felt abandoned by? Or did you just forget, forget it all?
Because I can still remember; I can still imagine my best friend, see her clearly, hear her beside me. And all I’m left with are questions, questions I desperately want answered but that, I’m certain, will never be resolved. I never understood why you threw me away, why I spent and still spend months feeling discarded, like a sweater that got too small. I always wonder if that was why you abandoned me, because I got too small, too boring. When we met I believe you were in a dark place, and I’d love to imagine that the reason I was left behind was simply that I reminded you of that place.
But more than that, I fear that I simply became boring to you, like the iPod or phone or computer that you get excited about for the first month before realizing it’s just another electronic, just another item that you use occasionally in exchange for all of the space it takes up. I never thought I took up space. I hope I didn’t take up space. But by the end, when I finally began to take the hint and leave you alone, I was afraid – still am afraid – that that was why you were hinting. I was exciting for a while. Our friendship was cool and new, something outside of home or school or the friends you already had. But I always wonder – did it become just another friendship? Was I taking up too much of your space? Was that why you left me behind?
You stopped returning my calls, ignored my IMs, stopped making an effort around May. It’s now January. Maybe it’s a testament to our former friendship (or my idea of it, anyway) that after eight months I still think about this constantly, still rack my brains for reasons why. I don’t believe you ever noticed how hard I was trying, how upset it made me when you stopped. I don’t think you even know about any of this, know how much it hurt. Finally, I’m healing, but that doesn’t stop me from remembering. Doesn’t stop me from wondering.
All I want now are answers. I’m almost certain I’ll never get them, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting. And in the mean time, I write this – not because I ever believe you’ll ever read it, but because I need to write this. I need to write this for the part of you that lives on in my head, the mini-you who sits in my brain, staining my memories. This letter is to her, because some part of you has to understand how I felt – how I feel.
If I were really done being bitter, if I had really stopped being angry, I wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t be pouring out all of these thoughts, spilling all of my memories out and wondering if, one day, any of this will reach you. But for now, it still does hurt somewhat. For now, I still do daydream about one day just shoving this all into your face, demanding an explanation. But for now, I am also learning how to get past this. I’m learning about empathy. And I’m learning how to heal.
So I’m not exactly sure where that leaves me now. Half-healed, somewhat bitter and still waiting for an explanation? And this is an improvement over what I was! But I guess it takes time, and that if I really wanted to stretch it I could, like, describe the good that’s come out of this. I now know that this does happen, and that it really does hurt. But I also know that it doesn’t hurt forever, that life gets better. For better or for worse (and I’m absolutely certain it’s for better), I’ll live.
So thanks, I guess. Thanks for providing a best friend throughout middle school, when one was needed most. Thanks for all of the good memories, all of the books and movies and music I discovered because of you. And thanks for teaching me about healing. Because, as long as it’s taking, I’m better. I’m really getting better.
Have a nice life, I guess? No sarcasm intended, really…