Fading Friends

When I was in sixth grade a new girl moved into the neighborhood—we’ll call her B—and within a couple weeks we were pretty well attached at the hip. We were best friends through middle school and high school. We had our fights, but nothing world ending.

And I wholly admit, I needed her a hell of a lot more than she ever needed me. As shy, insecure, and anxious as I am now I am galaxies away from where I was in school. She’s one of those people that can walk into anything and make friends. She was my safety blanket. We went to our first concert together, we went to each other’s family gatherings, did sleepovers, went through boy trouble, went through friend trouble.

After high school we started to drift. I lived on campus and she went to a local beauty school so we didn’t really see each other. But in the spring we hit up greenhouses and nurseries and in the summer we did lunch and went on a couple road trips together.

I studied abroad for three months while in college and if there’s one thing that will boost independence and self-confidence it’s being in a different country with minimum adult supervision. The professors were still there, of course, but I took weekend trips to different countries by myself. And, while I didn’t feel much different when I got back, I know I was. I was less “Hey, I want to do____, do you want to come with me?” and more “Hey, I’m doing this, you can come if you want.” I learned to own myself, who I am, my opinions. And…I don’t know. We just stopped talking.

It’s weird.

Middle school me would never have guessed this would happen. Even high school me wouldn’t have known. We spent evenings planning a road trip to California. We considered getting an apartment together after high school. It’s so strange how quickly someone can drop out of your life when they were a constant for so long.

Last year as I scrolled through Facebook her name popped up in my feed. Someone I didn’t know had commented on her wall, something like “So excited to have a nephew!”

It was kind of like running face first into a wall. I knew we hadn’t talked in almost a year, but I hadn’t realized the gulf had widened so far she wouldn’t call or text or even DM me to tell me. It’s no secret I don’t like small children or babies, but that’s still big news.

I didn’t say anything, maybe I should have? But I thought she would text me since it was out on Facebook. She didn’t. Then I thought maybe I’d get a baby shower invite. And I didn’t. I saw the pictures and comments from the three different showers she threw.

And that really fucking hurt.

So I put on my big girl panties and sucked it up. Clearly we weren’t even a fraction as close as we used to be. I let her do her and went back to figuring out my life.

And then one day, another girl we went to school with posted she was on her way to the hospital to deliver her second child. Even in school I wasn’t super close with her, we knew each other because we both knew B.

I was on my way out the door for work and commented “Congrats!” and didn’t think anything else about it.

Another girl I’d known since grade school had DM’d me. “So just real quick I wanted to let you know that your best friend since 5 th grade is pregnant and you haven’t congratulated her and then you publicly congratulated [Other Woman] in my opinion that’s the worst fucking thing imaginable you cld do. Like how heartless are you that you can’t congratulate [B] on her baby?”

I’m still pissed about this. Had I known at the time where this woman lived I would have fucking gone to her house and beat the ever loving shit out of her. If I see her on the street, I will beat the ever loving shit out of her. She had to contact me via Facebook because the bitch doesn’t know me well enough to know my number. I blocked her and I haven’t spoken to B since.

But B is at the local mall right now. It’s fifteen minutes from where I am. I thought about going. I still have her Christmas/birthday present from three years ago. It’s in my trunk. There’s a card in it I got after I saw her baby news. It says “Congratulations!” and a note that says I want nothing but the best for her and though we haven’t talked I’m glad we were friends.

Last week, her name popped up in my feed. Apparently she’s pregnant again. And I found out about this one the same way I did the last one; an offhand comment on some pictures.

There was a time when I dropped everything to help her, to make sure she was okay, and that she knew no matter what someone was there for her.

I didn’t say anything.

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