By Janet Hyde
We had a beautiful thirty minutes in the sandbox. I told you I liked your Barbie hair clip and you complimented my butterfly shoelaces. I was trying to impress you with an elaborate moat around our sand castle, but you got mad because I splashed mud on your Keds. I tried to salvage things by offering you my juice box but then Katie came over with a jump rope and a pizza Lunchables to share, and it was all over.
You were my first best friend; you slept over my house pretty much every weekend of sixth grade. We bonded over our mutual hatred of Kelly. She sucked so hard; we had a lot to talk about. Remember that friendship notebook we made, covered with cut-outs from Seventeen magazine and glitter stickers, to write each other secret notes? You told me who your crush was, which was awesome, cause I knew that you hadn’t told that bitch Kelly, even though you two had started being friends again, which I never understood. It didn’t matter that I also had a crush on Jason, and that I’d already told you…honestly, it made me feel closer to you. And when Jason asked you out instead of me, it was like, wow, my BEST FRIEND has such a cool boyfriend. That time we all went to the movies to see Mr. Bean was so fun even though I had to sit next to Kyle, whose mom apparently hadn’t told him about deodorant yet. It was just so cool to be on a double date with my best friend, her extremely cute boyfriend, and his cousin.
When you told me that you were moving three towns away, we both cried and promised we’d stay best friends. My mom offered to pick you up for sleepovers any time. But then six months went by without you answering any of my AIM messages, and I realized a thirty-minute drive was just too far to sustain a friendship. I saw on Facebook recently that Kelly was a bridesmaid in your wedding, it’s so great that you two stayed in touch all these years.
We were drawn together because we both felt too big for our small town and because our boyfriends were best friends on the high school wrestling team. Even though it felt like we didn’t have anything in common and we only talked about your relationship with Jeff, from the moment you helped me over the broken fence when the cops came to break up that bonfire party, I knew we were ride or die.
It was definitely a strain on our friendship when you broke up with Jeff and I was still dating Greg – I felt pulled in two directions. Like that night you called me in a panic looking for a ride after Ashley Sherman found out you given her boyfriend a handjob at the Spring Carnival. Greg had just told me he loved me for the first time at a romantic dinner at Olive Garden when I got that frantic phone call from you. I dropped off Greg real quick and hustled over to the party you forgot to tell me about, because that’s what best friends do. But then you got a car for graduation, and it felt like we never hung out anymore. It’s understandable, you were probably just jealous that I got into NYU and you were waitlisted.
I remember feeling like I had FINALLY found my girl when we met studying abroad in Barcelona. We made so many amazing memories getting blackout drunk every weekend. Our friendship just felt so natural, even though we got heated with each other sometimes. I loved when we’d have those late-night philosophical debates about religion versus science and Taylor Swift versus Kanye.
Back at school fall semester, I was so excited for the next chapter of our friendship: we’d host amazing theme parties and take the same easy lectures. But then you never came to any of my improv shows, even though you knew how important they were to me, and you kept bailing on our coffee dates. When I finally confronted you at the Senior Pub Crawl, I thought we could have one of our classic, drunken, breakthrough fights like we used to at the discoteca. But instead of a cathartic shouting match that ultimately brought us closer, you told me that you thought I was a bitch and didn’t actually enjoy spending time with me. I had no idea you were actually mad when I said that Taylor Swift was hack. I thought you were kidding when you told me you managed the third most popular Swiftie message board.
When you gave me a tampon in the bathroom on my first day at work, it felt like you were saving my career. Within two weeks we had our own language of inside jokes. It was such a relief to finally have this mature, adult, drama-free friendship. You were SO supportive that time I got overwhelmed at IKEA. When we rented a party bus for our joint 24th birthday party, I felt like such a grown up.
I wasn’t even jealous when you and Matt got engaged – I helped you write the cute Tinder bio that attracted him in the first place! It meant we spent less time together and you canceled plans more often, but that’s just part of an adult friendship. I totally get that. But it seemed really petty of you not to ask me to be a bridesmaid. Sure, once I said I thought Matt was a total loser with no future and you’d be an idiot to date him… but that was after like, your fourth date!
I considered not going to the wedding at all, but then I couldn’t return the crockpot I bought off your registry, so I figured I should take the high road and be there. You looked really beautiful. Sorry I didn’t say goodbye, I had to slip out because I hit the open bar a little too hard and started sobbing when your cousin Gary finally mentioned his girlfriend after our third dance.
We should get drinks sometime; it’s been too long.