Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Strike, You're Out

I once had a best friend.

There's pictures of us playing on the floor together in diapers. We lived 2 doors down from each other, and were at each other's houses every single day, playing My Little Ponies, or watching Strawberry Shortcake (at her house, she had the Disney channel, I did not)
We weren't really alike, but it didn't matter to us. We were a lot like Anne of Green Gables and her friend Diana (if you've ever read the book or seen the mini series.)
We were both little blondies, but the similarities stopped there. She was sweet and feminine and shy, she played the piano and had 3 older sisters to teach her to be girlie. Her rounded, freckled face was the very picture of sweet, innocent girliness.
I was skinny, wiry and poorly dressed. Unique and aggressive, I played sports and talked too much.
None of that mattered to us, we were best friends, and nothing in the world could stop the two of us.
She was one grade behind me in school, but the program we were in combined 2nd and 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, so we had class together every other year.
We were inseparable, swimming, biking and riding horses.
Then one year, I was in 5th grade and she in 4th, we had a disagreement on the bus. I don't at this time, even remember what it was. It might have been something really embarrassing, I was very sensitive to embarrassing moments and would even hide my face if someone had something embarrassing happen to them on the TV.
But I hit her. Right there on the bus as we were getting off.
She didn't speak to me for a week. I went to her house and apologized, which she accepted, but it just wasn't ever the same after that, and we drifted apart.
Junior High came and went, High School... she had gotten an eating disorder and her new found skinniness bought her the popularity I never even close to had. She let it get to her head, she admitted later, and felt crappy about never saying hi to me in the halls. (Even though she secretly came to me for advice on boys, after school hours when no one was watching)
Ever since that regrettable moment on the bus, I was always looking for that perfect best friend to take her place. Someone with whom I could share all my deepest and darkest secrets with, and I never found that person.
I had plenty of friends in High School, some of them even close friends, but no one ever took the place of the one I'd whispered and giggled with my whole childhood. The one with whom I'd become "blood sisters" with and then worried with about catching AIDS because we'd let our blood touch. The one who told me she didn't like my house because it smelled like cleaning products, but she didn't like her house either because it smelled like dogs. The one with whom we drank A&W root beer bottles together on her Suburban's tailgate with the label pointed towards us so it looked like we were drinking beer. I had lost all that when I lost my temper and hit my best friend in the face.
We are friends now, our sons are 2 weeks apart in age. She was at my house just the other day. I tell her I admire the marvelous grownup she's become. She tells me she's always loved my ability to speak my mind. It's just never ever been the same.
She's the closest thing I ever had to a sister.
I know, that as adults, we just don't have the kind of friendships we had as kids... that awesome "Stand By Me" buddies that we chummed around with as children, but I can't help mourning a friendship that was mortally wounded before it's time. Killed by my actions. A friendship I could never rebuild to the glory it once held.


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