Sunday, February 08, 2009

My First Best Friend (2) --part 1

I'll bet you thought it was part 1 cause I'm splitting the story up. Surprise! It's because there's a recent new chapter in this story, but we'll get to that....

If you just got here, the beginning of the story starts here.

So as I mentioned, Marie and I had been the very best of friends for over 9 years by this time. As was typical of us we joined different social groups, but still hung out together & just introduced each other to all our new friends. One of the groups Marie joined was Young Life. It's a Christian based Youth Group. We had a very large group at our high school and we were both members. I'm pretty sure I'm the one who dragged her to it to begin with, the chapter at our school was so large that we had student leaders and I was one of them. That first semester of college I was doing my best to just stay in school, so I wasn't joining anything. But like I said, I went to the parties at Marie's complex and with the small group of friends I'd made in the dorms. My room mate and I could not have been more different. At this point we were still more or less on speaking terms, but by December it was clear we would never be friends. (Another story for another time.) By the end of that semester I had become pretty good friends with one girl in particular in the dorms, Louise. At the start of second semester Louise and I had decided to rush a little sister program to one of the fraternities. We had some good guy friends in that fraternity and thought it would be fun. And we were right, it was fun. Marie wasn't interested, she was busy enough w/our friends from the complex and her Young Life group. I didn't think much of it at the time. But, it was around this time that we started to grow apart. There were two guys in the complex that we had become very good friends with, Don and Liam. Don and I were such good friends that we got our ears pierced together (I still can't believe he hasn't come out of the closet, but he swears he's not gay, just metro. Last I talked to him he was married w/a couple of kids, so who knows.) I thought Don and her were friends like this also, but later I found that they were more along the lines of "Friends w/Benefits." When things between her and Don went South is when she really started to pull away. She got a lot more involved w/her Young Life group and I understood, we'd both had serious boyfriends in high school and dealt with type of stuff before. In the past, the other had stayed friends w/the guy if they were already friends and once the "mourning period" was over it was fine. And if the other asked, we'd have dropped the guy friend in a heartbeat, but neither of us had ever asked that of each other. This time something had changed. She stopped hanging out with anyone not in the Young Life group. I would go to parties at her next door neighbors and she wouldn't, it was kind of weird. I tried going to the Young Life meetings and such, but this particular group was heavy on the religion and the judgment, and I wasn't looking for that. I was honestly surprised she liked hanging around this group, but you know to each their own. I tried going to the church w/her, but it was very New Age-y and I wasn't into that at all. (I'm Catholic Lite, I'm all about guilt and exercise during my mass. I went to one service w/her when people were getting up sharing their family's personal problems. It was group therapy w/a religious theme. Growing up Catholic it weirded me out. But my point is that I tried.) I was getting pretty involved with the little sister group I was pledging and wasn't exactly sitting on my duff waiting for her phone call either. By the end of the year it became apparent she didn't want to be friends anymore. I'd call her to do stuff; go to the mall, a party, etc...she wasn't interested. Ever. The friendship became very one-sided and pretty soon, she just stopped returning my phone calls. If we had gone to different colleges it would've been a normal progression, but we didn't. It was very hard for me to come to grips with it. I think I would've understood it, if it had happened our first semester, but we'd weathered that and our friendship had been as strong as ever. Then all the sudden, bam! Nothing. And there didn't seem to be a good reason for it. Every time we'd be on break, if I talked to anyone from our old group of high school friends, the first thing they'd ask is if I'd talked to her. They just couldn't believe after all this time that she'd dropped me too. But she had. My parents would run into hers as the years went by and she'd gotten very, very religious. She didn't really want to have much to do with anyone who wasn't part of her church, including her parents. It was so weird. It wasn't like I was anti-religion, I just wasn't into her church, that had never been an issue for us before. Somehow, this group she was with convinced her that if she was hanging w/people who weren't practicing their faith in the same way then she was going to hell with us, so she dropped us. (I know this is NOT typical of a Young Life group and was the result of individuals w/in that group at that time. I do also know that, that group of people is where this start from.) We both finished college in the same major, so yes, we did see each other for the next four years on a fairly regular basis, but you'd never know the kind of friends we'd been. We even had a lecture class together, she came in after me and chose to sit in the back somewhere else. Point taken.

During that time I took that stance that I didn't need that kind of friend anyway. She'd changed, and not for the better. I had plenty of friends on my own and didn't need to go chase her down if she wasn't interested. The truth was that I was injured beyond belief. My heart was broken and I didn't know how to fix it. No one talks about broken hearts from your best friend dropping you, only boyfriends. If you think about it, I was in a 9 year relationship and now she was indifferent. How does that happen??? I "refused to dwell on it," so I didn't really deal with it and I let it fester for years. All of my good girl friendships were measured by this one, and tempered by it. There was a part of me that didn't want to get too close to anyone again. I didn't ever want to be hurt by indifference again. And it still hurts now, after 20 years.

I've made some good friends over the years, but none like Marie. I don't think I've idealized our friendship, I just think, in some ways, we were more mature about our friendships when we were younger. The bottom line is I've never gotten over her. I've never had a best girl friend since Marie. Our 20 year reunion was last year, she didn't show and no one seemed to know where she'd ended up for sure. I didn't dwell on it too much, but several people at the reunion did bring it up. I guess I figured that was pretty much the end of it. This was the extent of closure I'm going to get from this situation. It sucks, but that's real life. If it were a Lifetime Network movie, she would've shown up at the reunion, music would've played and all the years would've melted away.

Ummm, yeah, it's not a movie, so that's that, right? Then I joined Facebook....


nikki said...

Uh, strange, kind of the same story with my old best friend from high school. How very Twilight zone.