Alternative title: That Moment When You Realize—Over Steak Fries and Beer—That You’re Not Totally Over That Time Your Best Friend Stabbed You in the Heart Three Years Ago.
Subtitled: More Proof as to Why I Am Skeptical of People Who Dye Their Hair Natural Colors That Are Not Their Natural Colors.
So, yes. That was a real moment that happened. Just now (-ish enough for literary land, anyway). That moment wherein I realized that I very well may not be over the major heartbreak in my life that involved a guy but was not exclusively caused by said guy. It was caused mostly by my best friend (at the time).
And by very well may not be over I obviously mean definitively not over mostly at all. Because when you’re over something you don’t almost cry about it in a bar full of locals on a Friday night right? Or do you? Because if you do, then I’m totally off the hook here. And I’m Totally Over It. But if not, this story still has a purpose. And I think it does. So on we go.
Let’s start at the beginning. I first met…what’s a good code name? Let’s go with the one he used for her when they were trying to keep their relationship a capital s secret. What was it again? S.C. Johnson. Right.
I first met S.C. Johnson at the ballroom dance studio where we were both students. She was wearing a floral skirt. I remember this only because I liked the skirt. As in, I wished I owned it myself and therefore that was a cue that this was a friend I should have. But her hair was clearly dyed and she had friends there so the small and afraid and previously bullied 7th grader (and college junior…and 22-year-old) inside of me categorized her as a Potential Mean Girl and decided to not proceed. That is, until she commented on my outfit one day and the rest was history.
We went from chatting all the time at dance to chatting in real life to grabbing drinks and dinner to one day realizing our lives were eerily similar and therefore, over the course of many hours and many conversations, we realized it all made sense and so we became best friends. Fast friends, I believe they call it.
So we were best friends. That was the beginning and end of it. We shared thoughts and hopes and fears and dreams like most best friends do. Theoretically we shared mostly everything. Then we ended up sharing everything literally. But not on purpose. It was on accident, supposedly.
On accident she ended up dating him. And on accident their star-crossed romance happened to kickstart the same week I needed both of them the most. The most because my sister—my estranged for six-and-a-half-years by my own very necessary doing sister—was coming into town with my niece. Both of them knew the whole messy story. And they both, apparently, did not give a damn.
Even still I gave them both too much credit to hold to their individual promises of solace and kept a bag of clothes in my car for a solid 3 days hoping I would wake up to find it was all a big cosmic joke. Newsflash: it wasn’t.
Sometimes when life makes my bones ache in a certain way, I wonder what my life would be like now if he hadn’t kissed her in the kitchen while I took a moment outside to collect myself that evening. Collect myself because they had been flirting all. day. in front of my too calm face and I just could. not. around either of them any longer without ruining something—the innocent pizza, their not innocent giggling, the innocent glassware, their not innocent bouts of obnoxiously romantic but not at all off-key Moulin Rouge karaoke, the innocent bottle of Veuve Clicquot, etc.
So I took my moment outside. And everything changed seemingly in that minute. It wasn’t actually in a minute. It was over the weeks I trusted her with my emotions, with the text message threads I was too happy to share, with the guy I was excited about, with the go-ahead I wanted to hear from her that this time it felt right to see me with a person, to see that I was happy in the way I wanted to feel happy. I wasn’t happy in the way I wanted to feel happy, of course this proved that. But I still wanted to be.
So my moment outside led to their kiss inside which led to her bra in his hand in front of my face the morning after said kiss which led to about four months worth of lying which led to the downfall of all three relationships. That last one took longer than it probably should have. Mostly it led to the downfall of me; which was great in the long run. But at that moment? God, that moment. That moment it just fucking hurt.
The months of silence, where my best friend hid in every way possible. The months of clinging to my previously estranged for six-and-a-half-years sister because I needed someone, anyone, to help me make sense of why my best friend would kiss this guy, and then follow this guy into the dark and leave me alone in the dust. The months of catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror and simultaneously not recognizing my reflection and feeling a sick desire to laugh at the pitifulness of it all. Oh, the months. And then the years of undoing of those months. And here we are.
You should know that I’m no stranger to losing friends. I find it a very straightforward fact of life. But some losses hurt more than others. This happens to be one of them, apparently.
And when those losses hurt again, because of the weather or the tequila, you write as if it is still new. And when your hands stop moving, and the cursor blinks back at you, you know you’re good to go. For now at least.