What up y’all? I would like to share something about myself. Why? Because my last few posts have been slightly impersonal. And you people out there, readers, are my friends, my only friends. Other than you I just sit by myself reading Click Clack Moo over and over until I want to punch Farmer Brown in the mouth so hard I loosen the only tooth he has left. They should look into getting some dentists down in farm country. JMO. Oh, and don’t you hate people that say JMO as if it’s either A) someone else’s opinion or B) just something you said that you know for a fact is completely wrong. Get a backbone dammit! Wait a minute…this is no way to make my friends feel all warm, loving and accepting of me. I’ve got to try harder. Must try harder.
When I love something, I love it with such a passion that it scares everyone in sight. Not in a Hand That Rocks The Cradle, I must have your husband kind of way. Just in a goofy “I fucking love that song I heard on Grey’s Anatomy and must download it and play it a gazillion times until my ears finally give out from sheer repetition. I feel the same way about people it’s just rarer and more fleeting. When I make a new friend and there’s that new friend chemistry, I want to drink them in, know everything about them, find out why they only want one child or or what their feeling is about the color teal. But more than that, I want to know what they think about, what they’re disappointed about, what experiences make them who they are. I want to talk to them all the time and share the trivial and the mundane. I want to check in often.
When I was in high school this was the norm. I was a “best friender.” My first was in grade school and her name was Jill Hoffman. She was the coolest – a gymnast so naturally I had to become one too. She wore her hair in a long ponytail – guess who else? We were joined at the hip when she wasn’t hanging out with someone more popular. But Jill taught me to be self-confindent and to punch boys in the arm when they were mean to me. We also found a way to steal things out of the school’s lost and found box. Last I heard she graduated Berkely.
I moved after 6th grade to Spokane, Washington where I quickly made a frenemy named Jamie. We were best friends immediately mainly because she lived directly across the street from me and we were the same age. But our friendship soured once Junior High started and we got into a fight, hated each other fiercely, formed friendships with two other former friends and then “got back together” while out shoveling snow one day. That was one of my closest friendships ever. Jamie was my partner in crime, got my sense of humor, took in stray animals, was as poor as I was and most importantly at that time, was loyal as the day is long. She stuck up for me when I was teased for being ugly or walking funny and she loved me. And protected me. Many a night I showed up at her doorstep late at night after my step-father had thrown a glass at me or screamed that he was going to kill me, and Jamie and her single mom would pick glass out of my hair, rub my back, threaten to call the cops on him and tell me they loved me. Then we’d eat two boxes of Jell-O pudding and play Jamie’s mom’s old 45’s.
Then at 16, my mother announced we were moving again. Although my stepfather wanted absolutely nothing to do with me, I was forced to go (Jamie’s mom offered to let me finish high school and live with her but my mother said no). I moved to Springfield Mass, racked up some large phone bills to Jamie, missed her like a lover gone overseas but eventually had to adjust to my new situation. That’s when I became enamored of Michelle. Actually, truth be told, she was enamored of me. And she was slightly geeky. Skinny, unsure of herself but called me incessently, asked me to go to the mall, go to Friendlys, hang out. At first I wasn’t sure. I’d been burned before. But eventually (and in high school terms this means a week) we became BFFs! We did everything together. We shared a locker, exchanged notes after every period and even got ourselves in trouble together just so we could be in in-house detention and spend all day together passing notes and whispering about boys we liked. We spent every weekend at each other’s houses. Her parents treated me like a member of the family. We kissed the same boys, fought, made up, read dirty books, snuck out of the house late at night and went to parties, drank alcohol together for the first time. I knew that girl better than her family. I knew she needed a glass of water next to her bed when she went to sleep because she was petrified of being thirsty. I knew she was curious and repelled to lose her virginity. I knew what a great soccer player she was. And I knew what brand of beer she preferred.
But at 18, due to major family issues, I was forced to move to California and decided to bring my other dear friend Heidi. I was sad to not be going to college at UMASS and rooming with Michelle but at the same time, as sad as it was, we had been slowly realizing a friendship like that, probably wasn’t going to be the healthiest thing once we were in college. Michelle said “Like, we’re going to want to meet other people and stuff.” She was right but I still loved her. She was my heart. After living with Heidi in California for only six weeks, Heidi came to my office supply sales job “Hi, my name is Donna and you’re on our preferred customer list, I’d love to extend an offer to purchase a gross of Scripto Deluxe ink pens and paper. What? You’re only a one person office? Well, I could cut the order in half and throw in a telephone with automatic redial.” Yes, I was living the dream. That is until Heidi walked into the office, pulled me outside and told me that Michelle had been killed by a drunk driver. “
“No. No. That’s not possible. I just talked to her yesterday” I pleaded with Heidi to make the news go away. But it was true. And I went to her funeral. And that changes a person. Michelle had been writing me a letter. It was about three pages long and stuck in her notebook. Her mother gave it to me and cried.
I don’t know that I’ve ever loved another girlfriend with that intensity. Is it because it’s too risky? Am I too old? Do we just grow out of the need for all our needs to be met by one person, especially when we’re married?
My good friends, and I have some, accuse me of being a bit closed off with them, not being “vulnerable” enough. But I’m vulnerable with my husband. I don’t really see the point of walking around like an open sore unless you’re going through something really hard. I don’t want to depend fully on someone besides Jon. But I do miss my girls.
It’s taken me many years to get over Michelle’s death. I still have her old track jacket hanging in my closet. A souvenier her mother let me keep. The thing is, I want to have another friend like that. A friend I trust completely, a friend who’s not crazy in a bad way, a friend who doesn’t ask way more of you than you’re willing to give or give way more than you’re willing to reciprocate. A friend that likes to be real. Cut through the bullshit. And a friend who is not into scrapbooking.
Is 40 too late to find that again?