It’s funny how your concepts of friendship change as you age.
When I was very little, I wanted a best friend SO BADLY. I read books about best friends and imagined, constantly, a girl who would be t he Diana to my Anne, the Sue to my Mandy, the Nancy Dawes to my Karen Brewster! (bonus points if you can pinpoint all three literary references!)
Instead, I got a next door neighbor of the same age, who already had a best friend, and guess what? It wasnt me. I got to be the chubby, awkward, too smart for her own good kid. I never got in trouble. Teachers liked me a lot…other kids, not so much. I had friends– in a small town, ever kid has “friends”. Every girl in the class is invited to the sleepover. But I never really fit.
In fourth grade, I switched from playing the trumpet to playing the baritone. That landed me in the low brass section of the school band, which, as you can imagine, was slightly devoid of girls…except one other, Patti. Patti played the bari sax. She had long, mousy brown hair, a purple gingham jumper (and matching hairbow!) that looked VERY homemade, and she seemed to like me.
We were inseparable, from that point until about 11th grade. We wore coordinating clothes in middle school. We made up jokes and fake words and took a million pictures of each other with disposable cameras to decorate the walls of our room. We had “Best Friends” necklaces, bracelets, keychains, you name it!
In high school, our lockers were right next to each others. We tried out for the dance team together and made it! (She was the better dancer– I tagged along). We were cheerleaders together. We went to school sporting events. We tried out (and subsequently quit) student government. We never argued. We never disagreed. The delicate but INTENSE nature of adolescent friendships is like this– it can handle discussions about love, family, suicide, violence, sex, nightmares, and yet it can not handle disagreement or anything that might even SLIGHTLY be percieved as judgement.
As college approached us, somewhere around the 11th grade, we started to drift apart. Patti got accepted by the “cool” crowd, and found herself a “cool” boyfriend. She went to parties, she got drunk, she had sex. Fear paralized me where these activities were concerned– social fear, fear of disappointing people, fear of the consequences, and even, in some cases, fear of God. I didn’t GET in trouble. I didnt break laws (although I did bend rules quite often). We started to run in different circles.
I met the man who is now my husband. He was nine years older than me, a community college student, and a grocery store employee. In Patti’s eyes– kind of a weirdo :) When we left for college– separate colleges– we finished drifting apart.
to be continued…