Damn you, Facebook. DAMN YOU.
I had this friend, back in high school and after – one of my closest friends, and for a time, THE closest friend. During high school, we did everything together. We spent many days after school, and most of the weekend, at her house. Once I got my driver’s license, life took on new meaning. We spent hours and hours driving up and down Route 100, going to the bookstore, diner hopping.
She didn’t get her license till almost 19, I believe – and of course, in hindsight, why bother? I drove us everywhere.
Within months of getting my license, I drove us – including a couple friends of hers, one of whom I fiercely disliked (or maybe it was just jealousy?) to Lollapalooza. The very first year of Lollapalooza, when it was still something kinda cool. We drove the Blue Route to Philly, and I was terrified – I was a new driver, and I’d certainly never maneuvered highways and traffic like that before.
When I dropped out of school, days I wasn’t working, I’d pick her up. We went to movies, we drank coffee, we sat in parking lots on the roof of the car blasting music. Straight out of a slacker, gen-x movie, I tell ya.
When she got married, I was one of the bridesmaids. I was the one who cried as I walked down the aisle, and cried as she and the new husband left the party. I was the one who sat and cried with her mother, and consoled her that I’d still come around to visit.
I was the one who, before the wedding, got the hysterical phone call from Scotland. This friend was living in Scotland for awhile (where her fiancee/boyfriend was from.) The fiancee had a bad case of diabetes and was hospitalized one night. His brother went over the their flat to hang out with my friend – the same brother who my friend had complained (complained?) about his constant, under the breath, inappropriate & suggestive comments to her. She called me in hysterics because while her husband-to-be lay in the hospital, she fucked his brother in their flat.
It was me that she called, and it was me that sat on the phone with her for an hour consoling her and trying to be there for her as she ran the gamut of emotions. Of course I swore never to breathe a word of it to anyone, and I never did. And it was me who kept my mouth shut after this event, and after the many times she said that if only her best male friend weren’t gay, she’d be with him.
Somewhere along the line, however – a year or so after graduation (which I attended to watch for her, even though I had dropped out and was getting strange looks when I arrived and sat in the bleachers) something changed.
It was as if she suddenly hated me. Or, looking back, it seems that maybe we just grew apart, but instead of saying so, it dragged on until it didn’t anymore.
I’ve had countless numbers of dreams about her – usually restless dreams or dreams where we meet up again and we’re friends, but I seem to be always chasing her down to spend time with her. Emotional dreams where I feel frustrated and hurt and am bending over backwards to be nice.
It’s been about 10 years since we last spoke. I discovered that she’d joined Facebook (she’ s not someone you’d expect to find there) and I sat in front of my laptop, finger poised over the link to “add as friend,” for a very long time.
I clicked the link, and I waited. And I began to obsess. Days went by and not a word and I started to feel immensely hurt and… angry. I also felt like an asshole for trying to make contact, because I felt like, “Oh, great, I just gave her this power again and god only knows what she’s saying about me to all her “close” friends.” Many of these close friends were people she’d been friends with from high school – people I’d hung out with, with her, also.
The more I started to think about it, the more confused I became. The fact that I have dreams about her tells me I have some kind of unfinished business with her. What, I don’t know, and how to finish it, I don’t know, either.
The confusion comes because, as I think about our friendship, I think, “She was pretty fucking horrible to me those last years.”
All I’m left with are theories. I started to wonder if she’d been jealous all that time – I was the ummm… well, I was the pretty, wacky, sparkly one. Troubled, but chock full of personality and I was never, ever at a loss for boys in my life. In high school, I was teased and unpopular. But outside of school, people were drawn to me (by people, I particularly mean men) and it was hard for either gender not to notice me in a room.
I came up with this theory when, after meeting her fiancee on a trip to Scotland, I realized she had a tendency to try to rub it in my face. It had always been my dream, my idea to go to Europe. Another friend & I had seriously considered running away to Europe with nothing but backbacks and a couple hundred dollars. I was the irresponsible, emotional, high drama one. I went screaming from one “relationship” to another. I was promiscous. And once, sitting in a movie theater waiting for the lights to go down, she said, “You’ve had sex with with more people, but I’ve had sex more times.” Now that she finally had a boyfriend, she’d taken to constantly telling me how in love they were and how much sex they had.
Mind you, I realize that I was a wreck at the time. Those years were maddening. One trouble after another. I’d dropped out of school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with myself, let alone my life and the idea was that I’d be the nutjob who’d flounder forever, maybe get a job waitressing while continuing my mad dash through a series of exhilerating, yet difficult, relationships and she’d be the one to go to college, get a proper job and be an adult.
I see that. And I wonder if that’s what turned her. But I never bragged about it – I didn’t feel it was bragworthy. What I always really wanted was some peace. I never pulled her into it or rubbed her face in it. I was constantly crying and broke – why on earth would you be jealous of that? In fact, she was my sanctuary and I treated her as such.
But one day it just seemed she became distant. I’m not even sure why she continued to invite me over, unless it was to stomp all over me. Eventually, I found out that she and her friends had been calling me a whore behind my back – because of an incident with an ex of hers.
(Before you jump to conclusions, I did not do what I was accused of. This ex of hers chased me around her basement, literally, and nearly had me pinned and I almost socked him to get away. Her mother thought she’d seen us holding hands, but what she saw was him grabbing my hand and me yanking away. God’s honest truth. I never spoke up because I didn’t want to hurt her and he was her EX at the time. I’d never have done anything like that to her. And, this is my bitter side talking – quite frankly, I had enough men on my hands to not need to take a bite of her leftovers.)
So for I don’t know how long, she & these other “close” friends of hers were trashing me behind my back. Calling me a whore and saying god knows what else. She never confronted me directly and when if finally did come up – years later – I could tell she didn’t believe me. Or didn’t like me enough at that point to care.
By the time her wedding rolled around, well… I honestly don’t know why she wanted me to be a bridesmaid. I’d have bent over backwards to be The Good Bridesmaid, even wanted to be the Maid of Honor – but that went to her friend, B, whom I hated and who had to be the center of all attention. And who lived hours and hours away in another state. It was me in the center of this little clique – my friend and B, and her best (gay) male friend.
Now here I am. Worrying myself over the fact that she doesn’t want to request my friendship on Facebook. Actually – today I discovered that she did, but I didn’t get a notice. I still felt like an ass. What do I hope to gain from this? Never learning my lesson, I sent her a short note – I’d seen her husband’s obituary (he died a few months ago) and had been thinking about her (very true). I just wanted to say hi and ask how she’s doing. I’d love to hear from her sometime.
Why, exactly, am I doing this to myself? I’ve set myself up to sit here feeling frustrated and hurt and angry waiting to see if I get a response.
It’s not like she was more popular, more beautiful, more anything than me. We bonded over our sarcastic wit and sharp tongues. We were both “different” and marched to our own beats (although I think she wanted to, and learned to, fit in more so than me. I only wanted to learn how to be comfortable in my own unique, anything but ordinary skin – and I did.) We were both in the gifted program at one point. (Just because I dropped out doesn’t mean I wasn’t smart, kids. Had I not had other shit going on, I could have been one of those 4.0 Ivy League College types. Blech. So not me.) If anything, she was a little overweight. But I thought she was a riot, and immensely talented, and thought she’d go really, really far in life.
More importantly, of all the people that have come and gone in my life – all the bad relationships and the men who’ve done some serious, real damage, and the very messy past I’ve made great strides in rising above – why is she affecting me so much? I suppose I’ll never really know. After 10 years, it would be a little weird to say, “Hey, what happened then?” Wouldn’t it?