I think of her every now and again. Today was no different. I remember the friendship we’d shared for ages, how we’d spend days together, were roommates, even closer than sisters. Then I recall how it ended. Callous words thought aloud, and she walked away from over ten years of friendship for her new friends, the young kids she worked with at a local store.
She’d changed. I watched her. She started small, her love of clothes became who she was. A new outift here, a bra that lifted and separated the girls so that she could be ‘attractive’ no matter what she wore, or where she went. Suddenly she didn’t care if she wore a size 28 or if she was a size 0.
She put on an air of confidence so big that it smothered me. She stopped talking to me long before the final collapse. She’d spend every day of the week with the new group, and I fell apart.
I’d stopped doing a job I liked for a possible job, and that all went to shit. I was working at the same store she’d been at since 2006. I made a trifle of what I’d been making, and my family had to help me keep the lights on for about a month. And in that month I was not able to drive her to and from wherever. I couldn’t supply her with food, or with fun.
I found new friends some of those I still speak to, others have too fallen away. I spent my 30th birthday without my best friend. I’ve now spent 5 birthdays without her. All because I spoke aloud and some idiot 50 year old who never aspired to do more than be a fry cook, heard me and rushed off to gossip and gossip she did.
The absolution of the friendship falls on my lips, but the death of the friendship is hers. Instead of speaking to me, instead of listening and deciding that maybe just maybe, it wasn’t on purpose. Maybe I didn’t mean anything by it. She went home and grew angrier and angrier.
By eleven pm she’d called to tell me to come over. I was excited, It had been weeks since we last hung out, and when I walked through the door to an apartment as much a home to me as my own, She stabbed me.
Not with a literal knife, but with barbs of words that cut deeper than any steel blade.
“Why would you say that?” Shock and dismay coursed through me. I had no idea what she was talking about.
“Say what?” You could almost see the waves of anger pulsating off of her.
“Why would you say it? Don’t play dumb with me. You know what you said.”
“No, I have no idea what the heck your talking about. I can just go. It’s apparent that I’m not wanted here.” I grabbed my car keys and stepped towards the door.
Then the arrows were launched. Big flaming fucking arrows.
“I thought you were my friend.” I started the expected “I am! I have always been your friend”
“But you know I like him!” I finally connected the dots. I’d said that she looked good that day as she walked by. I’d said something about being glad that we were going to the gym and looking better. That was all.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Anger began to infect me, seeping into pores and out of my mouth.
“You told Snack Bar Bitch!”
“I most certainly did not! I wouldn’t spit on her to put her out if she were on fire. She is not on my list of people I associate with, that’s always been a small list, and you’ve always been on it.”
I knew it was a lost cause then. She’d never believe me I’d violated her trust, and I’d not said a damn thing about the barista boy.
“Then HOW did she know?”
“It’s not exactly a secret is it? You dress up fancy, wear heavy makeup, put out the sisters, and flirt with him. Honey, He knows.”
She seemed to take my words to heart for a few minutes. Then she asked if I wanted to go shopping. It was the middle of the night, we went to the grocery store, and then I took her home.
That was nearly the last time I saw her. Aside from a day she dyed my hair, and if she had her way she’d be a beautician, or at least she says she wants to be, she just won’t go back to school.
But that was six years ago. I’ll be 36 in May and that will be another birthday without her. I’m ok. I am better every day. I have friends. I am happy most days. I just think of her every now and then.