A letter to a former friend

I’m writing this letter to a friend who I once considered a sister, for she had none and I had one who was too young. Let’s call her Z

Dear Z,

I once called you my best friend, and you the same. The start of our friendship was slow-moving, but memorable. I had always known you were my neighbor, three doors down and across the alley, so when I saw a familiar face at a cross country meet, I ventured over to you and started up a conversation.

A month later, we got together to decorate pumpkins, while bonding over the Office. We figured out that we had a lot more in common than we originally thought, with me going to a private school far away and having a whole different life than you and your public high school down the street. Our commonalities were not limited to spontaneous dancing, eating anything and everything, enjoying impromptu sleepovers, and being stressed out. After the day spent carving pumpkins, we were inseparable. Halloween was spent walking around the neighborhood looking for the cute guy I saw walking around a couple days earlier, whilst recounting on old memories of growing up in our neighborhood. Christmas was spent baking and decorating cookies, along with the occasional break for dancing. Our first road trip was a three day trip to Nashville, where I had some of the best times I’ve ever had. We even celebrated being done with our first ACT test by braving the cold to walk a mile to a second-hand store and shop.

I had always been stressed about school, and oftentimes felt overwhelmed with the workload around me, while others seemed to manage it very well. It was relieving to find someone who shared the same anxieties, and amazing to finally have someone to text or call if I needed help. I remember the day before we took our last ACT test, instead of studying, we went to the park and built a slide to go down in the snow. We probably spent an hour, though it felt like a whole day, going down that slide. Two weeks later, we found out we both got a 33 on the test, and proceeded to run out into the alley, shouting at the top of our lungs at 6:45 in the morning, “WE’RE GOING TO COLLEGE”.

Who would have ever thought a friend like this would turn on me, and in the worst way too.

It’s every high school girl’s dream to have a boyfriend, and once they do, it seems like life is perfect. I had a boyfriend for like a month so I understand how you felt at first, but I cannot even imagine what the hell is going on in your head right now.

I’ll refrain from using his name, let’s call him C. I was introduced to C on one of your first “dates”. We picked him up from school, and to be honest I didn’t like him from the second I saw him. There was something about him, some douchebag vibe that I got from him as he waved down the car that didn’t sit right with me, but I wasn’t about to tell you and god forbid mess up your first real relationship. It was your second or third time driving, ever, and your nerves were especially bad because you were driving around this super cute guy, but it didn’t help that he nonstop called you out for any mistake you made and even called you a bad driver at one point. I was appalled at his behavior, and even moreso when he showed disinterest in our music choices and plugged his own phone in, completely disregarding our wants.

I saw all his flaws and tried my very hardest to look for the good. I mean he was kinda cute. He was older. He had cute friends. He seemed to really care about you. But boy did he like to talk about himself and his problems and complain nonstop, as I would eventually learn. If I could use two words for C, it would be pompous asshat. There was not one time I was with the two of you that he didn’t show his true colors to me and act like a dick, which you were able to ignore probably because of your feelings towards him or whatever. I freaking did everything for you. I opened my house to both of you to sleep over when my parents were out of town. Not for him, but for you. If you think I enjoyed his presence, especially when he offered to “make breakfast”, which he actually only made for you and him in MY kitchen and left me to do every damn dish, then you are sadly mistaken.

We were still close around May, but that’s when I found out that you were separating yourself from your other friends. I heard weird things, like how you skipped out on an end-of-the-year yacht party with your friends to pick up C’s little sister from dance, but just thought no, she would never do that. June and July were fun! We had a lot of good times and movie nights and adventures around the city. But then August came, and with August came Lollapalooza, what you might consider the end of our friendship.

The week leading up was spent listening to all of our favorite bands and making plans for who we were going to see. I didn’t even roll my eyes when you said you wanted to see TWO, ONLY TWO, bands with C because he liked them. I was so excited to spend Lolla with you until it actually happened. Your “weekend with my girls” turned into a “weekend with my boyfriend”, even though you didn’t initially plan it to be that way. Yes, we have talked about this many times. You felt hurt because I spent Lolla with two of our other friends. When I tried to explain why, you disregarded what I had to say and continued to be mad at me for “ditching” you. Here’s what happened behind the scenes, Z:

Day one. What a day. It was just you, me, and our other friend ready to take on the show, arriving at 3 to see our first artist. We were meeting C at 6, so that meant we had three hours, just the girls. Except for it didn’t. He came early, at four, and right when he came you rushed to his arms and never left. Our other friend and I were dancing and we kept on inviting you to dance, however you preferred to sit in the shade with C for the entire day of the festival. Ok. That’s fine. No judgement. Just don’t get mad at me when you aren’t hanging with your girls, okay?

At the end of the first day, we were all leaving in a group of six; you, me, your cousin, C, and two of our other friends. We made it outside of the gates onto Michigan avenue and turned around, but alas! You, C, and your cousin were all missing. After five minutes of calling for you, we gave up and figured you were on your way home. It would have been nice to know you ubered home and were completely safe all together and that nobody was hurt, but no, we got no type of communication whatsoever, and the three of us were never checked up on by any of you, in your nice little uber while we were on the train. To make matters worse, two of us were supposed to sleep at your house, but you were “too tired”. So, when we went to collect our stuff from your house to sleep at mine, it was a little shocking to find you and C on the couch together after you told us you were too tired for company.

Anywho we aren’t even at the worst part yet. Over the course of the first two days, I was told by three PRIMARY sources that C had been talking shit about me to his friends. Not a week before, not a month before, not even two or three, but right when you first started dating. He had literally met me once and had told three of his friends on separate occasions that I was “annoying,” and “a bitch,” “too happy,” “a spaz,” giving them an unfair first impression of me. To be frank, these three people are some of my closest friends now, and they have told me that they wished that C had never told them any of this, because they met me with ideas in their minds about who I was already.

Any logical person would understand that I wouldn’t want to spend the next two days of Lollapalooza with C, who had been talking shit about me to who knows how many of his friends, and who even knows what he said about me to you. Well, my wish was granted and I barely saw any of him the next two days, but I only saw you for a short time, as well, because you spent every.waking.hour. with him jesus christ. I digress.

I racked my brain on how to confront you about this. I initially thought confronting C directly would be the move, but realized that he probably wouldn’t care what I said. So, I did the hard thing, and I told you about how he had been acting. You had the best response: mouth and eyes wide open in shock, followed by the words, “oh god if he thinks that way about you, he must hate me”. We laughed it off, and I left your house better friends than when I had gotten there an hour earlier. But, after a month, you never got back to me with what he had said. Actually, you didn’t really talk to me at all for the entire month of September. I finally reached out to you to follow up about him, and you said “oh, C said that he was just unhappy with the way you lead on one of our friends.” THis made me angry. C was referring to his good friend, who I made clear to that I wanted to be friends and nothing more, back in July. But wait. That’s odd. C was talking shit about me back in march and april. How does that make any sense? That’s right, it doesn’t. I tried explaining this to you, but it just caused a fight and you brought up Lolla and me ditching you, even though I had already explained the reason I didn’t want to be around you was because you were with C the entire time and he had been rude to me. Again, you didn’t listen to me and completely disregarded everything I said, sticking to C’s side. Here’s where the story gets sad, for me at least, god knows what you were feeling.

On my 18th birthday, you came over to my house in sweatpants and a hoodie, bearing gifts. Kinda. You gave me a balloon and cookies, 18 to be exact. It wasn’t even planned that there were 18 cookies. I pointed it out and you took credit. Whatever. We had planned our 18th birthdays for so long, with much excitement for our adulthood. We were going to have a conjoined party, since our birthdays were only a month apart, and go on a trip together, and get each other the best presents! Reality struck when you showed up to my door with a balloon and container of cookies. It especially hurt, knowing that after dating C for three weeks, you got him $40 sweatpants and all of his favorite candies. I am not being selfish or trying to sound spoiled when I say this, but it just seemed a little off that you would get your ‘best friend’ a gift so generic and basic. I thought, hey, maybe she’s just busy, maybe she will bring my real gift over later. Ha. I never got a birthday post, card, or an actual present. Just those damn cookies. Too bad, I had something really funny picked out for your birthday, it just didn’t seem to be the right time to give it to you.

For weeks, I played around with the idea of not being friends with you anymore. No, I thought, I could never see us not being friends. We were so close! Everyone around me would tell me to cut you out and stop trying so hard when I told them how you treated me, but I still believed our friendship could work, I mean we were so close. I was even willing to wait until C left in January to try to resolve our friendship. What did it in for me was when I found out that you got a ticket to see him next February in France, and you never even told me about it. Something this big, and I heard about it from a mutual friend. That was it. I realized I’m probably not going to get you back, and if I eventually do, it won’t be the strong, independent girl I once knew, but just the shell. I used to see great things for you, a strong pediatrician with her own practice living on her own means. Now, I just see a sad girl who has been sucked in by the fantasy of idealistic love. A girl who has turned away all of the people who care about her, just for a boy who might not be there tomorrow. So have fun being alone when he leaves. Your mom might still love you at that point, unless you continue to ditch her to hang out with C. I feel bad for you, not because of all of this, but because you lost me. I seemed to be the only friend you had that was still holding on, despite how you treated me. But now, I’m out.

I want my sweatshirt back

I want my nail polish back

I want the last year of my life back

Emma