I’ve had a few BFFs in my lifetime, though I suppose they were more BFs since nothing lasts forever.
In high school my best friend was Marta G. We all called her Markee and she was probably the sweetest girl in our clique. She didn’t join in when there was gossip or backbiting – at least I don’t remember her participating. Perhaps she did and my reminiscence has colored the memory. One particular memory I know is not complete. I didn’t follow our high school sports much but one year a few of us went to one of the home football games. Markee was sick with a nasty cold but she showed up anyway, a bottle of Nyquil® in tow. By the time the game ended she was completely wasted on cold medicine and the part I don’t remember clearly is how we all got home that night but I do know she survived so she must not have OD’d too badly on the nasty stuff.
Not long ago I found a photo of her in a jumble of memorabilia. The cameras back then did not take the masterpieces we can get with even our cell phone today. But while it was grainy and a bit blurred, it was unmistakably Markee. Her light brown waves were pulled back into a loose tail and she was looking over her shoulder at someone or something in the hall at school. Looking at the familiar face, I ached just a little for the loss of her friendship since we all went our own ways after graduation.
One marriage, four children and many years later I met Deb. Bold, brash, and blonde, Deb was as tall as I, but slender where I was more curvy. We worked together and she brought me out of my shell. I’d always been sort of quiet, afraid to risk rejection or make waves. Deb had no such fear. She was funny and cheeky and loved a good time. After she started working in our office a group of us would go into The City to dance and drink beer. As the adult child of an alcoholic, I was playing with fire, but it was so freeing. I don’t know how else to explain it – it just felt good to go out and play. Deb was the friend who recognized the symptoms of my child abuse (another survivor often can see what others cannot) and recommended a book that changed my life. I went back to the therapist I’d seen immediately after my divorce and I started meeting with a group of other survivors.
I thought Deb and I would be friends forever. She and her husband moved out of state and not long after I moved to the same state and went to work at the law firm where she was employed. Even though we didn’t live all that far from each other we didn’t do much socializing outside of work. Eventually, they moved again for her husband’s work and we lost touch for a bit. During that time she went through breast cancer treatment and I followed her progress via email, the occasional phone call and Facebook posts. Then a couple of years ago they moved yet again, back to the Midwest where the rest of her family lives. If I got back on Facebook she’d “friend” me for sure. We still email once in a while. But we’ve lost touch overall. I’ve come to believe the chief reason she came into my life was to steer me toward therapy. Once I was on the road to recovery, her work was done and she moved on to others who needed her.
Another several years later I started an anonymous blog. I wanted to keep it under wraps from family because it was where I would rant about issues that drove me crazy. Unfortunately, there was this fear that JD would discover it or I’d let it slip or something and because of that fear I never really unloaded all the frustration, grief or anger there. But by being online and following other blogs I met L, who is now one of my dearest friends. Chatting about husbands, daughters, grandchildren, we’ve developed a relationship different from my other friendships but so much richer in my mind. We’ve actually had the great pleasure of meeting in person a couple of times and we’re in touch by email and text somewhat regularly. So even though we’re don’t live close enough to meet up often, we still reach out and support each other. We make each other laugh and we listen when the other needs to vent. She is the only person in my life who knows about this new blog and knows who Janey really is.
I know nothing is forever but I hope and pray with fingers and toes crossed that L and I are friends for a very, very long time.