We all have that one heartbreak in our life. It doesn't have to be a parent letting us down or a break-up that is extremely messy and leaves you hurting for a long time after the initial shock is over. No, it can be the loss of a best friend or someone you thought was your best friend. This is the letter that I never sent
Dear Ex-Best Friend,
For me, I lost someone close to me, but I saw it coming, but nothing really prepared me for it. She was my best friend from the time we were in the 3rd grade to the time right before we started high school. Our fathers had met at the spring picnic. Our grades would walk from our school to Ballou Park, it wasn't that far from where my elementary school was located, but our dads were doing the grilling for the picnic and that is how they came to be friends.
Well, for the sake of the article we'll call her, K. We weren't really friends until after 3rd grade, we pretended for the sake of our parents. Her dad was deployed that year to the Middle East and I tried to be there for her. We knew something was going on, but seeing as we were children we didn't really know what. That year was hard on all of those. But he came back and it went back to the way it was before: dinners out, play dates, cook outs in the backyard.
You know how they say cliques don't exists in elementary school? Well, that's wrong. They did and I belonged to the one that most all the girls were in, it helped that I had K with me. I should have realized that I was a project to her. We would go shopping and she would choose the things I should have and the clothes I should wear. I was her Barbie doll and at the time I didn't really care.
Years later I did care, all the feelings and problems I had with her were buried under the surface until it came out in one giant explosion.
4th grade I broke my wrist close to the end of the school year and I couldn't go to the doctor until after school let out later in the day. I went to see her at her house and I can vividly remember she came outside and was jumping up and down saying, "You got a cast! You got a cast!" That should have been another sign, what type of person is excited their best friend has a cast? I guess any 9 year olds because it was cool and we were suppose to break things, but girly girls like me did not want to break bones and have bruises or play in the dirt.
Moving onto the summer between elementary school and middle school, I could tell the summer between things were changing for us. We had gone on vacation together, shortly before school started and we were fine, we were having the best time, museums, the pool, watching turtle eggs on the beach, taking her to my favorite spots in Atlantic Beach and Beaufort, N.C... I thought we were okay, but deep down I knew things were about to change.
6th grade she made news friends and I didn't have a problem with that because they were my friends too, but I knew she was going down this road that I couldn't follow her down. She was popular and I liked my life how it was: work, books and theatre. She didn't understand that. for all of our parts we were 2 different sides of 2 different coins. She was sporty, I was artistic.
That should have been a warning to me, I went to all of her things, but she never came to any of my theatre performances. Looking back on it now, it seems so juvenile, but I tried her things, the least she could have done was supported me in mine.
In 3rd grade I called her the devil, and that re-hatched itself in 6th grade. I felt awful about it very shortly after I had said that when I was eight years old, but I was mad at her and I wanted her to be upset too. It came out one day in 6th grade and I felt awful about it then. I never understood how she could forgive me. She did though, but I don't think she ever forgot. Much like the fact there were times when I called her by her full name and she would get so mad.
Later, it came down to boys. She had a boyfriend for practically every school year. A new one. 7th grade was where the strain really hit, she liked my next door neighbor and her "boyfriend" and I were friends and had this weird banter between us. I went along with it, but I told K about it and she was fine with it and laughed, but I'm pretty sure that's where things really went wrong. Her "boyfriend" was giving me attention and she didn't like it.
8th grade, we were done. She and I slowly had this gap between us and there was no way we could fix it. I was okay with that though, because I needed to learn how to be my own person and needing to constantly please everyone.
Freshmen year of high school I severed all contact. We were cordial to each other when we saw each other but after getting a text from her from another friends phone saying "F--- you." well I wasn't going to forgive her anytime soon.
So, that concludes the story, but I have to thank K because she made me stronger and come out of my shell. Without her I probably would not be where I am now. I mean there has been a lot to make me who I am but she played a role. She taught me friendship and heartbreak. I'll be grateful for that and I've finally learned to let things go. I'm not forgiving her, I probably never will, and we'll probably never be fiends again, but she shaped me and helped me to realize things, so thank you K.
Thank you for the lessons you thought me and for making me realize that I needed to let our friendship go and the resent in order for me to be a healthy person again, because for holding on for so long was not doing me any good, it was just fueling a fire that would one day erupt and cause lasting damage. I thank you for the friendship and the memories, but I can finally let it all go.
An ex-best friend who's learned to let go