In high school, I had a best friend. We met in gym class, sitting on the bleachers on my first day at a new school. I was feeling sorry for myself because, as it turns out, no matter how many times you move around as a kid, making new friends is never easy. She was behind me with a group of old friends she’d grown up with when they invited me to join in their conversation. I was relieved. From there, it took off. We were instant best friends. We spent hours on the phone. We were alike and different. We’d smoke Marlboro Reds in her room after her parents went to bed and bitched about parents and high school and boys and hurt and the weight of the world. We held each other up when things got bad and tried, like hell, to save each others lives.
I moved an hour away, made new friends, but nothing replaced her. You can have more than one best friend, you know.
I moved to Richmond for college and she visited and every month I’d visit her up in Northern Virginia. We’d stay up talking until 3 in the morning when I had to be up at 6.
She was the maid of honor at my first wedding.
I deployed. During my two-week leave I spent a full week with her. We caught up on everything and even though we hadn’t seen each other for 10 months, everything went right back to normal and it was perfect.
Then I came home, expecting things to be the same, and they weren’t. We got to together a full five months after my return and it just wasn’t right. Things had changed. Something was different.
She posted a note on MySpace, said sometimes she just “dropped people.” A week later her account was gone and the only connection I had left to her vanished. Poof. The end. I was unbelievably hurt. Still am, it seems.
It’s a strange thing, losing a best friend after eight years. It hurts for obvious reasons like how I didn’t do anything to provoke an end, other than deploy to a fucking hazardous duty location for a year where I wore combat boots and carried a gun all day, every day. And then, there’s other stuff. Like how, at the age of 24, and still at 26, it’s impossible to find a best friend. Everyone is paired up.
See, I’m not good with girls, really. I’m not a girl’s kind of girl, it seems. I’m a bit rough around the edges, I drop the f-bomb far too often for the liking of lots of delicate lady ears and I’m kind of a loudmouth once you get to know me. I’d rather spend time shooting the shit under some camo netting with a group of infantrymen than spend a day at the spa. And I don’t want babies and I didn’t change my last name and that, right there, is enough to scare off a whole batch of well-meaning ladies (and men) who think I need saving or who don’t respect my personal choices despite my deep respect for theirs. Sure, I’ve got girl friends, and I love them all dearly, but sure enough, they’re paired up already.
Periodically, I’ll look her up on Facebook. Or google her. Just to see. I never expect anything to turn up. Nothing has for the past two years. And then today, on a random whim, I checked Facebook. I typed in her name and it auto-populated her right in there because, don’t you know? We’ve got 3 mutual friends.Thanks Facebook. You’re a gigantic asshole of douche-face proportions, did you know that?
So the question is, now what? Do I shoot her a friend request? Or not? What if she ignores the damn thing? What if she doesn’t? If she approves it, do I say anything? Or should I just let it go?