It’s no secret that sometimes people grow apart. I don’t have a lot of close friends: throughout my life, a lot of people have come and gone. And here’s a letter to a girl who, when I think back on the 10+ years we spent together, was not always 100% into the friendship. I’d call her my best friend, but she really didn’t act like it a lot of the time.
Let’s call her Heather for the precious sake of anonymity.
I really hated it when I’d come to yours, ready to go at the time we agreed, and you’d be running late and insist that you’d have to spend the next two hours putting on your makeup. By that time, the shops would be shut, I’d be fed up and I’d go home having done none of the tasks I wanted to get done.
The worst moment I remember was agreeing to go to Nottingham Goose Fair with you. Or should I say, agreeing to go with you and ending up with going with your dad and your younger sister. I waited for three hours for you to turn up.
I texted you. Called you. Nothing. No update. But out of the blue, a sorry excuse of ‘be right there!’ and that’s it. So much for going up to have a look around. I didn’t even want you to come to get me after that. You didn’t even apologise for being late, and that rubbed me the wrong way. But I kept quiet about it, because I wanted to keep you.
The kicker of our friendship was when I went to university and you didn’t. It wasn’t for you, and that’s fair enough. Not everyone sees it as an option. You’d drop by, unannounced, and not wanting. My flatmates eventually kicked off and said you didn’t belong there; it wasn’t your place to constantly stay at. You looked at me, cried ‘why didn’t you tell me?! I wouldn’t have come if I’d known.
Because I knew you were sad at home and thought this would make you feel better.
I heard from one of the boys I was living with at the time, after that incident, that you mentioned you were ‘surprised’ I’d gotten the boyfriend first out of the two of us. Like I wasn’t worthy of attention from boys and that I shouldn’t have been with him. Did you really think I wouldn’t hear about it? Word travels fast in the small halls.
You always seemed to make it about you.
I invited you to my grandad’s funeral; I remembered how upset you were when I didn’t tell you about my nan’s death, so I wanted to make it up to you as a small gesture. It was awkward. Or at least I thought so. The grief caused me to cry on your shoulder and for a moment, I forgot about everything that had gone down between us.
Not that you’d probably care, but we’re not together anymore. Me and that guy you thought I didn’t deserve. He broke my heart a few months following the last time we saw each other. I’m okay now. It took me a while to get back on my feet, but I have found someone who’s a million times the guy he ever was. He makes me feel like I actually matter and loves me in all my forms, broken or put together.
Sometimes, I think about catching up. You’re so close, but we’re too far apart to pull it together now. Not that I think we’d really have anything in common anymore.
But I saw you got the tattoos you wanted. I’m glad you moved on from that one guy and seem really happy in your new relationship. You passed your driving test before me. My parents told me about it. I’ll admit, I was a little jealous. You did it on the first go around and it took me three attempts. I wasn’t far behind though!
I wish you well in whatever you’re up to now. I hope you treat the people in your life better than you did me. But maybe we just work better when we stay in our own lanes.
Your Ex Childhood Friend