My Best Friend

I've had a lot of best friends in my life. Well, not a lot -- but I've been through a few. I've had people call themselves my best friend when they actually weren't. J really wanted me to give him the label of best friend. I never could, even when things were good. Our relationship was always different. To me, a best friend is someone you can talk to about absolutely anything. That's what J wanted between us, and we needed it, but I couldn't talk to him about everything. He knew a lot about me, but the stuff that was really messing with me always involved him and that was the stuff I couldn't talk to him about.

The first best friend I ever had was Megan. Even though I had 3 other girls I remember being very close to in preschool and elementary school, Megan was my best friend. In the 1st grade, I was moved up to the 2nd mid-year and those other 3 girls were all a year ahead of me and when I moved to the 2nd grade I was in their class and got to see them all the time. Megan and I went from looking forward to seeing each other in the hall, to not even noticing each other in passing.

One summer during college I worked for a local amusement park. On the whole, it was possibly the worst 3 weeks of my life. I worked 10-12 hour days Thursday - Sunday for next to nothing. I was on my feet and had to deal with kids all day, and had a manager who I could've run circles around. However, one of the last days I worked there, I was running the last few customers on a ride when I heard someone behind me say my name. I turned around and I knew who it was immediately: Megan's mom. She told me Megan worked at the same amusement park, in a different area and happened to hear that a new girl named Ashley had been hired. She realized it was me, but never got a chance to find me. As soon as I could, I went to her station and we chatted. We exchanged numbers, but neither of us ever reached out to the other.

In middle school, I had a couple of girls who considered themselves my BFF -- one even wrote her name alongside B.F.F.L. on one of my binders. I still have it. However I considered my best friend to be Katrina. I referenced her in this post under the pseudonym "Jackie" (which is actually her younger sister's name). She was one of the 3 girls I was tight with in pre school and elementary school. I think we were friends more because we just always had been than because we liked the same stuff. I went to private school in the 8th grade and that ended our contact and therefore our friendship.

My senior year in high school, my then-BFF and I ran into a Wal-greens to kill some time. We were checking out the makeup when I heard a familiar voice call me from behind. I turned around and instantly knew who it was: Katrina. We hugged, she remarked that she knew it had to be me because my voice was unmistakable. No pretenses of us maintaining contact, though I kinda wish we had. Later, I heard through the grapevine that she'd had a couple of kids.

In high school, I went through a few folks I considered BFF. One thing I can say is that at every step along the way, I learned something about what a real friend looks like. In 8th grade, my BFF was Leigh. She and I had a very similar sense of humor and it was invaluable to me to have someone who got me on that level. She wasn't offended by my sarcasm or dry wit. We finished each other's sentences which was something I had never experienced before. Later, another girl, Sarah finished out our trio (being a part of a trio is yet another motif in my life). I still maintain contact with Sarah and Leigh and I try to catch up whenever I'm home.

Unfortunately, it's hard being a black kid at a predominantly white prep school. By sophomore year, I still considered Leigh and Sarah good friends but I was spending more and more time with an individual I've previously referred to as "then-BFF" and who I will continue to refer to as such. A 3rd girl named Lindsey finished out our trio and we became known as the 3 Musketeers around school. People would always stop us when we were alone inquiring where the others were. Lindz and I are still really close but I still have no idea why after graduation the then-BFF completely quit talking to me. I have my theories, but I guess it will remain one of my life's great mysteries.

In college I met Joey (not to be confused with my ex, J). He seems to be a combination of a lot of the great things about all my BFFs growing up. He finishes my sentences, he challenges me, he listens to me, he makes me laugh He sounds like he'd be a great boyfriend, right? I won't do anything with that except to say he's my BFF and I like that. I miss him a lot now that we're hundreds of miles a part. I ran into some old emails I'd sent and received from a mentor and almost every email during my junior year involves Joey somehow. We were together all the time, and so the last 2 years have been a little difficult.

I have a number of close friends. Sometimes I think I forget how great they are. Sometimes I focus too much on what I'm not getting instead of what I am getting. Or rather maybe I focus too much on trying to make people give me what they can't instead of accepting what they can and moving on if it's not working for me. I'm just not good at boundary setting. I've always wanted, maybe even needed, those around me to trust me and know that no matter what I was there. That's a great attitude, but there has to be some lines -- places where you say, "ok. hold on." I guess I wish others would draw those lines for me -- Joey often does. He draws them in our relationship as well as in my relationships with others. I've long been jealous of his ability to stop dead in the tracks of a relationship and re-chart his course. If it's not working for him, he chucks the deuce. He's tried to do it for me, but I always stop him. Maybe I care too much.

Joey is definitely a once in a lifetime find.

1 comment:

Ms. Payne said...

I have to say that some people may take offense to this posting because they would be searching through to see their name under your timeline of BFFs. But instead, I am happy to read that someone else thinks this way. As an adult, I have one best friend (her name is Tiffany). She is awesome as Im sure you know. However, in having one great person that knows you from back to front....there are always people who THIRST for that title in your life. WHY? It doesnt make sense!

So I guess I wrote all that to say...I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE THIS POST! I love having close friends that offer new surprises everyday. But in retrospect, I have one true find of a friend and only she and I can understand our bond.

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