An Open Letter To My First (And Former) Best Friend

I’ve started this letter more than a few times in my head. I wish those times could aid me in deciding where to begin. So, here it goes.

We met by accident. We were supposed to be going to a basketball game with our friends. When no one showed up, it was just us — two awkward prepubescent strangers in the midst of middle school athletic chaos. I never expected anything to come of it, but those few hours at the game would turn into weeks, months, and eventually years of friendship. My first real best friend. That way seventh grade. From then on to Senior year, we were inseparable. We shared more laughs, tears, bad jokes, horrible singing, late night sleepovers, and gossip about the hot senior boys than I can count. From the time we threw a party at your Mom’s house while she was in Tahiti and got busted, to watching each other get our hearts broken by the guys we gave everything to, we were always there for each other.

In our friendship, I found love and compassion. I found someone who knew me better than I knew myself. Someone who knew my flaws and accepted them without question, even welcomed them. I found someone outside of my family who loved me for who I was. Sitting in silence and enjoying each others company was common practice, and those were some of the moments I cherished most. For years, you were my person, and I was yours. You supported my crazy ideas, but you loved me enough to let me know when I was going too far. We thought we could conquer the world together, and those who knew us, knew that it was no stretch of the imagination. I confided in you things I thought would eat away at me until I was nothing but frame without a photo. You allowed me to open up when I desperately needed to. Something I know I can never truly thank you for.

I wish I could say I didn’t know where our downfall originated, but when I started dating my first real boyfriend, our friendship started to dwindle. And it didn’t help that graduation was just around the corner, either.

We went to different schools and for a while, we both tried to maintain what we knew was fleeting— a noble feat for us both, but as some point, we stopped trying. The flame of our friendship burned out into a weak fizzle with no real closure. And even though it was months since we had spoken, I think we maintained that telepathy that only lovers, siblings, and best friends have, and it told us our run was over.

I know I made mistakes. I know I shouldn’t have let things deteriorate the way they did, but I changed. You changed. Something I think is completely natural and an inevitable part of life. I got caught up in the honeymoon phase and you confided in other people, understandably so. Unfortunately it cost me my first real relationship, one that I know I can’t get back now. But those years we spent side by side as partners in crime will be some of my best memories for decades to come. The shenanigans we got into will be stories I tell my kids someday. I don’t regret a single day, and even though we don’t talk now, I still care about you. Admittedly, I check on your social media like a worried ex-girlfriend because I’m too scared to reach out.

I know we are far too different of people for us to be as close as we once were, and I may never have a best friend like you again, but I know that we’ve made it this far, and I know we’ll both be okay.

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