I read this and got the feels. I have felt the need to say this but, I did not want to disrespect the need for separation. I feel it’s time. My open letter to my Childhood Best Friend:
Dear Childhood Best Friend,
I’ve felt the need to say this for a while. I think it’s time.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I’m kind of excellent at that. I thought we’d be friends forever too, but growing up and growing apart is a natural thing, I am told.
I know, as we aged, we both brought each other our triumphs, our fears, and our dreams to one another through letters and phone calls. There were times when I seriously considered taking my life except, you would be calling in 15 days, 29 days, 20 days from then. Then who would hear all about your new high school, your heart breaks? Your fantastic gel pen eyeliner and new rebellions (that really weren’t super rebellious, now I think about it.)
How could I when, I knew if nobody else was there, you’d be, and you’d say something wholly inappropriate to make me giggle and I would decide it was okay. Just a little longer.
The HOURS we spent in the phone perfecting the novel that never was because, surprise, my dad deleted the floppy disk (God, we are old).
We went to college and it was so very different, oh the independence and the ridiculous situations! The sadnesses. The Beef Ramen Boobs.
We grew. We changed. The drama of my life increased, and I think our ideas of self changed.
It totally happens. We persevered. We stuck. We called. I think we tried.
Then we adulted.
I felt like I stressed you out. I felt like telling you the kinds of things I had always told you was somehow burdensome how could they be, when you eagerly listened in the past? I felt like I dragged you down, my disappointment of a job, my less than perfect marriage (didn’t we plan it differently? Didn’t we!?), my inability to charge my darn phone.
So I perceived, probably just as wrongly as I supposed the other things, that I was a problem. The problem.
Or maybe what I did or said was the problem. Or maybe nothing was. In this mindset, I realized I was causing stress. A lot of stress. We didn’t talk. We didn’t text. We just didn’t.
17 years. 17 years! I knew. Just like with a friend of mine you advised years earlier, “She’s cut you off. If she won’t respond, she wants you out of her life.”
There it was. That insidious little thought.
So I texted inelegantly, crying into my screen how you,”Didn’t NEED to worry about me anymore!” And I explained, how I “really was fine,” and the more I “explained,” the more I became sad and my anger waned. The more I typed, the more I was trying to convince myself it was true. It was, it was…
Then, you left.
And then I left.
It’s been half a year. At first, it ached. Then it was a dull pain, a reminder in my mind, ever-present.
“Look what has become of your friendship. Look.”
I pushed it away. I distracted myself. I ignored it.
Then, slowly, you crept in again.
Oh not you physically, or vocally (does that make sense?). No, my memories, colorful, beautiful memories; unbidden, bitterly unwanted for the pain. But they wouldn’t stop.
After all, 17 years is a long time.
Spitting on a fence (instead of over it) in middle school, cursing for the first time – oh the naughty thing we said, boyfriends, competitions, births, cats getting married, secrets, changes, letters… Pages and pages, hours and hours.
And I thought, “Man!”
And felt. And got emotional. And smiled.
I have such beautiful memories because of you. Fond memories. Happy memories. I was seriously irrevocably changed because of you.
I want… I want for you the same things I have always wanted: happiness in your life. Joy in your being. Lovingly surrounded by your family (and babies and French Bulldogs) and friends, secure in your identity and place in this world – because you do have such an important place in this world! Nobody, NOBODY can fill that place but you.
I will continue to wish joy on you forever, because you deserve it.
This is not some letter of magical hope, that all this gut spilling will fix everything. This is not something I secretly hope you’ll read and forgive me for. You’ll probably never see it. That’s okay too.
This is exactly what it is, a goodbye letter.
A, “I will always love you for those 17 years,” letter.
A, “I respect we are different people,” letter.
A, “Please go do all the things we dreamt about,” letter.
A, “I respect your privacy and need to grow in a different direction,” letter.
But, mostly, above all:
A, “Thank you so much for all of those good, beautiful and kind memories. Thank you for being my absolute best girlfriend for 17 years,” letter.
We were pretty great, weren’t we?
With much Love,