What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. ~Aristotle
My first victim, er, friend and I have been friends for 18 years. We had six of eight classes together in sixth grade, but that's not where we bonded. Our bond came at the YWCA Charm School that fall. I guess we realized that we had classes together and that Charm School was kind of silly (though quite entertaining and fun at the end when we got to be in a fashion show!).
To say we've been through a lot together is a drastic understatement. There have been times in our friendship that we have not been the best of friends. I think she and I had some competitiveness when we were in high school. Many times it was over other friends and who was closer to this person or that person. She introduced me to one of the biggest thorns in my side (who has stayed that way for about fifteen years, though I wouldn't trade it for anything!). We went through destructive habits together: bad relationships, stupid fad diets, really bad clothing!
We went on vacations together, I spent more time at her house than mine most summers, we got into trouble together (Mrs. Patman's Latin class and the band room and that one time we went to the lake with boys without telling my parents!). I think in many ways our friendship is more like sisters than it is of friends (neither of us having a sister). When we would spend too much time together we would have to be away from each other and wind down and then would go right back to normal. There are many things that she introduced me to and many things I introduced her to; some good, some bad!
Freshman year we went to different schools. By different I mean huge rivals. Her family would always jest at my allegiance to OU (they still do actually!) which is just a normal part of our banter. Growing up her family was an extension of my own family. During the second semester of our freshman year we were working a Chrysalis weekend and I met a boy (don't most hugely dramatic tales begin with "there was this guy..."). He was a nice boy, I thought. She'd known him for some time. We dated for a week! (Huge monumental relationship, huh? :) It actually really was...I'm quite certain he will come up in later chapters!) Then we broke up the next weekend. I was devastated (I look back now and I'm not quite sure why). At any rate something happened and being the overly emotional person that I am my feelings got hurt. Clearly it wasn't that big of a deal as I cannot recall the exact events, though I know it had to do with that boy. We did not talk for a few months.
Somewhere after that we made amends, probably without actually saying anything, that's just how things go. Sophomore year she joined a sorority and I discovered football. I had my friends, she had her friends and we didn't talk as much as before; nothing was wrong, we were both just busy. The summer after junior year we were in a play together in Ardmore (well she was IN the play and I worked the play backstage) and I guess we connected. The third of our threesome of best friends got married that summer and there was a reconnection for all of us. When we got back to school it was much the same as it had been: both busy with separate lives.
She graduated the December after we were "supposed" to graduate (I took the five year plan and graduated the following May, but with two degrees!). Nothing was really said about the other's graduation, it just was what it was. Somewhere after I graduated we started talking regularly again. It might have been because of the guy I was dating (ugh...why is it always a boy???) or who knows why. I remember when the afore mentioned boy and I broke up (for probably the third time) I went and visited her and spent Valentine's Day with her and her brother, just as an escape from life at home. Things were great and wonderful!
The following summer I had the final breakup with that guy and started dating the next. I remember he and I going to visit her at her parents' house just after we started dating. We were already talking about marriage and I remember she and I talking about being in each other's weddings. That afternoon I remember her talking about this guy that one of her friends wanted to set her up with, but she just wasn't all that sure about him.
Well they started dating a short time later. This is the part of my tale where we "broke up and got back together", so there was a bit of tarnish on my seemingly perfect relationship. I had built things up that this relationship was perfect that I was in no way, shape or form going to admit that we may have hit a rocky patch. That summer my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. We went through all the preop stuff and the surgery. I remember when I was at the hospital after surgery I got a text message announcing that they were engaged. Really??? Engaged??? They'd known each other a millisecond! I'd been in a relationship longer! This was not fair! To say I was jealous might be an understatement. To top in off while she is in wedding planning mode we went through "broke up and got back together" again! I could not bear to admit defeat and couldn't bear to tell her that we'd broken up, especially since I KNEW we would get back together (and we did).
I remember laying in my bed at my old apartment when she called and told me I'd be serving cake at her wedding. I was floored. Serving cake? That's the job you give to that person that you have to give a job to and you don't really like them. We're best friends! How could she? I was upset. (We have since talked and laughed about this, by the way!)
A sidebar to this story: I will now reveal my love languages, if you know anything about the five love languages. Mine top two are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. I can think back on countless times that my feelings got hurt because I was not given the quality time that I desired (like being a bridesmaid!).
The reality of the situation was that she asked her cousins (clearly), his sister (clearly) and two of her sorority sisters, who in reality were her best friends at the time. During this time in my life I kind of felt like everyone was out to get me (I am in a MUCH healthier place now!) and this was just a manifestation of that. I did go to her wedding and was jealous of the relationship she had with her new sister in law, her sorority sisters and her cousins. To say that I wasn't hurt would be a lie.
The months rocked along and we didn't talk all that much. She was a newlywed and I was trying to sort out my relationship. About a year after they got married she got pregnant. I found out on MySpace (granted, she posted it and then called or text messaged me right after, so that was just crappy timing). I was hurt and angry about that too. It wasn't so much that she didn't tell me, but it was hard watching her other friends know and me not know. It was hard not being that person that she told things too. It made me sad.
That summer I missed her baby shower because I had surgery a few days before. I am sad that I did. Maybe I should have ridden with our other best friend, maybe I could have taken another pain pill and made it through the day, would it have made any difference? Coulda, woulda, shoulda...what can you do about those now?
The morning after the baby was born (an adorable boy!) she called me (he was born at like 2:00 am, she called at 11:00 am, no one is going to be upset about that time lapse!). I remember where I was when I got the call. We talked for a few minutes and then hung up. Her mom asked who she had been talking to, when she told her, her mom said "I think that's the shortest amount of time you two have ever been on the phone!"
Everything changed that Easter (doesn't it always come back to Easter with me? See World Communion Sunday for more on my history with Easter!). She sent out a mass email from her dad about their annual Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Egg Hunt was a huge thing for us in high school. This is a serious hunt! In the good ol' days (before the economy bottomed out!) there would be hundred dollar eggs and they would be hidden all over their land. There was tons of food and family and friends. At this particular hunt her son was to be the guest of honor! Well I wanted to go! I convinced the boyfriend that we had spent the last two Easters with his family and we headed to Ardmore for it. We had a blast (well she and I did, don't know about the guys!) I guess this is where our friendship got back on track.
My mom and I went to her son's first birthday party; something I cannot even think about missing! When I got engaged I did not ask her to be a bridesmaid. I would be lying if I didn't say it was partially out of spite. I pray that even subconsciously this was not my primary reason. I did want to prove a point, with the whole stupid wedding, though, that I had moved on from our hometown, thus I asked no one from home (sans the little sister type person). She and our other best friend would be "honored guests" instead, along with two of my best friends from college.
Once again, Easter happened. On Maundy Thursday, to be specific, there was an "issue" (we'll just leave it at that) with the fiance's family and myself and though we were supposed to spend Easter with them I could not bring myself to go. I called her bawling and asked if they were having the Easter Egg Hunt and if I could come. Pretty sure she rolled her eyes when I asked this and said of course.
I knew I was invited. Her parents' house is like my house and the door is always open. I just had this need to be "wanted"; I needed to know that they wanted me to be there and cared that I would be there and I needed to hear that (back to those five love languages). Her mom even said that she thought I was ridiculous for asking if I could come. I explained this idea to her and she said, well we'd rather you be here anyway! It was a great day.
A few short weeks after that they wedding got called off and our friendship became even stronger and is where it is now. There is no competition of any kind anymore. I don't know when that fell away. It is part of growing up.
The single best testament to what an amazing friend she is happened when she told me about her second pregnancy. It is no secret that I have had some issues with people in my life being pregnant and some problems with life not being fair and being jealous. She and I talked about this, many, many, times as she was trying to get pregnant and had a little trouble. She told me that she was pregnant via text message. Now this may sound similar to when she was pregnant with her first, but alas, it was very different. This time she sent it and said, "So I thought I would message you so that you don't have to pretend to be happy because I know it will deep down make you sad but #2 is finally on the way". I am fairly certain I cried when I read this. I was nothing but elated for her. I mean I am so very excited about this baby! I called her and told her all of this. The caring that it took to hold back her excitement to consider my feelings is what I see as a true best friend. I am busy planning her baby shower with such excitement it is ridiculous!
I cannot imagine my life without her. In two years we will celebrate our 20 year "friend-iversary" and we are supposed to go on a trip. We are both embarking upon different stages in our lives, but even with 180 degree differences we are closer now than we have ever been. I would not trade one fight, squabble, jealous moment, competitiveness between each other for anything. She has made me who I am and I have made her who she is. We have come out stronger through it all. There is pretty much nothing that the two of us cannot accomplish or figure out if we put our heads together (which can be a little scary!) It is now strange for us not to talk every day (in fact we're talking on facebook chat right now!). I think we have both grown up a lot in the last ten years (me especially!) and there is no worry about what others will say, think or do and we just call each other out on our bullshit and move on. We don't say what the other one wants to hear, rather we say what we need to hear in a kind and loving way. She is usually the first person that I call when I have a problem and she is the first person I call when I have a new crush (which she can usually figure out with the first guess, tricky little devil!).
My predicition for the future: we will be the ones that when we are 99 years old will be sitting in a nursing home gossiping about the little old men chasing after the little old ladies. Who knows what technology will be in place for us to figure things out then! :)