26 March 2012

#Scintilla Day 8: Childhood Friends

My best friend growing up was named Cassidy. We met in school at a young age, and were practically inseparable for a while. In middle school we had tons of classes together. We shared a lot of the same interests when it came to music, fashion, boys. We both played the flute in band. We both have curly brown hair, and struggled through learning how to care for/cut/style it without looking ridiculous. I would ride my bike across town to her house on the weekend or in the summer and we'd spend the day listening to the Cranberries, making cookies, freaking ourselves out with the Ouija board, writing, talking, or (for a brief period) smoking cigarettes along the railroad tracks, far from the prying eyes of anyone who might know my parents and tell them what I was up to. Cassidy and I were our own little clique of two.

I remember having a huge fight, I think in seventh grade, about a boy. Someone she had a "secret" crush on, but of course I knew who it was. You know how it is at that age. You write initials, or make up secret nicknames. I revealed the identity of her crush to someone who was asking about one of those initial/nickname doodles, and Cassidy was pretty pissed. It was a full-on fight, complete with angry hang-up phone calls. I laugh when I think about it now, of course. Part of me thinks that was around the time we started drifting, ever so slightly.

In high school, we rarely had classes together. Interests diverged a little bit. I was still in band, and joined choir (total band/choir geek, and I'm proud of it!) while she joined the marching band colorguard and took art classes. Another memory: Homecoming, sophomore year (I think). I had gotten up the nerve to ask someone to go with me - someone who'd gone to school with us in middle school, then changed schools. Someone I thought was cute. It was a huge deal for me, obviously. When we got to the dance, he ended up spending most of the night dancing with other girls, including Cassidy, while I danced with the friend of another friend's boyfriend - a sweet little Hispanic guy who barely came up to my chin and didn't speak English. I remember at one point looking at Cassidy as she danced with my "date" and she gave me this look of I'm so sorry, I have no idea how this happened. Part of me was pissed. At him, not her. Part of me thought oh well, that's what I get for going out on a limb. I should've figured I was just an "in" for him to spend the night checking out prettier, thinner, more "popular" girls. It's okay. My accidental dance partner kept saying I was pretty. In Spanish, of course.

Cassidy and I did drift apart, more significantly, as high school progressed. We were still friends, of course, but not really joined at the hip like we used to be. Then, somehow, after graduation, we lost contact completely. I don't know how it happened, exactly. I never thought it would happen. It was a strange feeling. Looking back, I feel like there were times where I sacrificed our long-standing friendship for... I don't even know for what, any more. For the opinions of people I didn't really even like that much, maybe. But also maybe it was something inevitable.

I remember my high school self wanting, in part, to figure myself out and create myself as something independent of my best friend. Somewhere along the line I'd found out that our guidance counselor had purposely made our class schedules as identical as possible throughout middle school. Her reasons for that were good, but on some small level it felt a little bit unfair to both Cassidy and I (in my mind), and I think I questioned whether our friendship would've been the same if the counselor hadn't orchestrated our schedules that way. And then, later, I think I used that as a reasoning for why we drifted apart and lost touch. Like maybe we weren't really such great friends for any reason other than spending so much school time together.

Because I think too much, and keep things to myself, and am prone to a touch of anxiety at times, this started to feel like a personal failure of the largest magnitude. I was sure I'd insulted her somehow, or hurt her terribly. It was my fault, because I was a bad person. I don't remember anymore why I felt these things then, whether they were based in fact or simply imagined. I tried looking her up on MySpace (MySpace! ha!) and later on Facebook, without luck. I knew I wanted to say I was sorry for anything I might have done, even back then when we were young and emotional and confused, or at least when I was.

Then one day on Facebook, I saw the little post that says "so and so is now friends with Cassidy Price" and I couldn't believe it. It sounds stupid, but I actually sat there and tried to figure out what to do. Do I friend request her? Do I send a message along with it, saying I'm sorry for whatever happened, but I miss having you as a friend? What if she didn't accept? Why wouldn't she accept? Yes, I admit it, I slipped back into one of my crazy moments where I'm convinced I'm a bad person and that thing that happened was my fault, even if it was just coincidence, even if it had nothing to do with me. Then I told myself to snap out of it and hit the button.

Thing about people you love - best friends especially - is that you always come back together. Even if one of you blabs the other's secret crush to someone else, even if feelings are hurt. Even if life happens and you lose touch for a few weeks, months, or years. When you find your way back, you'll talk and fill in the gaps and smile at the things about your friend that are still the same, marvel at the wonderful new parts of them that you get to learn about, and revel in the fact that it feels so good just to be their friend.

In case it isn't obvious, yes. Friend request accepted.


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