When we’re young we believe things are the way they are and they’re meant to stay that way. We don’t think much about moving from our homes, death, or that our families will split or that friends will tell us to stick it in our five hole. This is because we convince ourselves as we get older, change from tweens to adolescents, that we somehow have control over how our lives play out. Then the inevitable happens: parents divorce, a best friend’s family moves out of state, Mr. Furmaster dies, a high school sweetheart forgets your name after he goes off to college, your virginity falling out of his pocket and under his Doc Martens. Now we know: anything can happen to me at any time and there may not be a damn thing I can do about it.
I always envied people in their thirties and forties who held onto a childhood friend. How cool. But my last childhood friend (met her when I was six) dropped off when I was thirty, a cross-country trip annihilating the friendship. It ended ugly. Up until then I was so proud of myself for holding onto her. But this blog isn’t about her. This blog is about a different childhood friend, one I met when I was eight. Going through puberty together, discovery of boys, both of us from broken homes, becoming fans of Dancin’ On Air and going to their dances and meeting John Albright (oh, how we wanted to polygamously marry John Albright), meeting Rick Springfield (oh, how we wanted to polygamously marry Rick Springfield), loving the Hooters and Eric Bazilian (yeah, we wanted to Big Love him, too) discovering other Philly musicians (we had to go monogamous by this time, it gets messy if bffs entering their twenties like the same dude). So this is that story, beautiful babies: the story of how I lost my first best friend.
High school would be when the first signs of trouble arose. We went to separate schools, hence separate friends. Never a good thing. Especially since I tried to incorporate her into my circle, but she never wanted to slide me into hers. I had the first boy/girl party hook-ups, and made sure to bring her along with me. Bad idea. She loved it when the boys I liked would flirt with her and she made sure to let me know about it. So I was selective about what I would bring her to. Crack in the marble #1.
We got our first part-time jobs at the same place. One of our co-workers was bonkers for her. I was bonkers for him, but didn’t tell her. I knew if I did she would flirt with him in front of me. I spent many agonizing conversations with him as he asked me how to win her heart as he knew I was her best friend. I gave the best advice I could; she liked another one of our co-workers. One day when I was in the stockroom by myself getting cookies (we worked in an old age home, we gave the pops and grannies cookies for midday snacks) he cornered me. It was playful, but he was very close, and asked me what I would do if he kissed me. Die, die, die, right where I stand, I will die if you kiss me. I never got to answer because my friend came bubble gum lip-smacking into the back room. I gave her a look over the guy’s shoulder like, Get out get out get out, now now now, but of course she came over and got his attention right away from me. See, by this point I had made the mistake of telling her I liked him. Later she apologized, pretended she didn’t know what was going on, but he left for the navy a few weeks later and neither one of us ever saw or heard from him again. Big chunk out of the marble #2.
The band scene. Ah, the big undoing. I discovered the band, turned her on to it, we went to see them, we picked our favorites, she went after mine. I am abridging this for blogging purposes; a lot more is involved but that’s the gist of it. Band men are slobs (sorry, most of you are, and proud of it) and if you flirt with one, he’s all over you. So in the fray of her “taking” my band guy, I started to notice his fellow mate. He seemed to get my friend’s number quickly and would ignore her, which made me positively love him. Yes, he’s the one I refer to as True Blue in my earlier blogs. And he had a smile that could put a red riding cloak on you and instill the fear in you to run run run lest you want your house huffed and puffed and blown to sticks.
Given this, it was still her who pulled the plug on the friendship. She said I wasn’t mature enough for her and her new circle of friends and that we were going in different directions. I was devastated. I remember hanging up the phone–I was on the extension in my mom’s bedroom–and feeling like someone had died. Me. My mom tried to make me feel better, but seeing my friend at band functions after that–now we were going with our separate friends instead of with each other–was agonizing. It became a battle who could get who kicked out, who could get who to come to who’s table, who could infiltrate the band’s inner circle. The lengths we went to could fill many blogs . . . let’s just say it was 90210, a Groupie’s Revenge, and one of the roadies of one of the bands we followed let me know they gave her the nickname “Kneepads.” We stopped being friends when I was 18. We lasted a decade.
I called her when I was 23, right before I moved out of my mom’s house. I asked her to meet me for lunch, that I felt we had some things to talk about. I needed closure. Her attitude was indifferent; she didn’t think it was necessary. I said, “Well don’t you think things ended bad? Wouldn’t you like to clear the air?” She said yes and said she had to look over her work schedule and would call me back with a time that was good for her. That was the last time we talked.
About two years ago she began collecting my family as Facebook friends. My cousins (um, why do you want to friend my cousins who were never your friends when we were friends?), my little bro, my big sis, my mom. My little bro and mom said no thanks. Big sis said yes until I explained to her I wanted nothing to do with this girl–now a woman who hasn’t changed much according to her behavior and her Facebook statuses which popped up on my sister’s wall all the time until she blocked them. She asked my sister about me, how to get in touch with me, to tell me she wanted to talk to me. Thanks but no thanks. Not interested. I joined Facebook myself over the summer. I knew eventually she would come for me . . . and she did, last week. I said “Not now” and then felt bad about it for a while. I asked my current bff if I was being too harsh. HELL NO was the response. Do you want to see her stupid daily status remarks, her pictures? she asked me. No. I really don’t. I don’t want to go back there, to that friend who was too immature for her new life, to that girl who she always tried to make feel less than so she could feel more than. I get who she is now and I siphon her kind out of my life.
I ask myself why she would even care to know me now. Because we’re in a social networking world? It’s a “safe” way to reconnect with old friends? There’s no real networking involved, just her little bites thrown out at me of what she’s doing and what brand of coffee she drinks. That’s not why I’m on Facebook. I don’t collect friends. If I ask for your friendship it’s because I want to keep in touch with you; if I accept your friendship it’s because you never hurt me and I wouldn’t mind hearing about what you’re up to. Why do you want to be my friend? To reach 1,000? I’ve never been one to be lost in the shuffling masses and don’t intend to start. Especially when it comes to friendship. Too bad for her, because I’m awesome.