One of my best friends from high school recently got married. I know this not because I witnessed it from the church pews, but because we’re friends on Facebook. When I look at her photos I feel a mix of nostalgia and disappointment. Part of me would have loved to watch her get married. I wonder if she feels the same about me.
We road the bus together in elementary school; that’s how we met. Our bus driver was a heavily mustached Lebanese man named Sid who would sing a chorus of “What’s a matter you, HEY! Why do ya look so sad, HEY!” whenever a student boarded. We would sing that to each other when passing in the halls years later.
We were both avid dancers, spending countless hours in the studio, comparing blisters and callouses while stretching on the scuffed hardwood floors, running hands over our non-existent stomachs and complaining about how they pooched. (Ah, to be so young and naive. And THIN.) We both loved show tunes and cheesy movies and continued to trick-or-treat together until we were almost too old to go anymore. We slept in the same bed during countless years of sleepovers, raided each others’ closets almost daily and spent many an hour perfecting the perfect quesadilla in her kitchen.
When her mom died of breast cancer when we were only just starting high school, I sat in her living room amongst her family. I didn’t know what to do other than talk about school gossip and offer hugs, but I’d like to think it helped a little.
We went to separate college with promises to stay friends forever, and for awhile it seemed like that would be true. We both returned that first Christmas, picking up where we left off and falling back into the high school way — the same people, the same parties. The comfort in knowing that even though we were “adults” who had left the nest, we could always come home again.
The following year I had met a boy and didn’t come home as often. By the time summer rolled around, I knew if we didn’t make an effort to get together, the friendship would suffer. And so plans were made — a night out! I arrived at her house and I knew, right then and there. We were now different.
She was dressed to impress in her Polo shirt with the popped collar. Pearls were wrapped around her neck. She was going on and on about her handbag. I wore a fitted black tank top, jeans distressed in just the right places and my fingers were adorned in silver rings. Her hair was side swept in an elegant pony, mine was highlighted within an inch of it’s life, curled, tossled and big. When we arrived at the bar, though our drinks were the same, we couldn’t have been in different places. She went on and on about her sorority and I wondered what happened to the friendship clad in ballet slippers.
As is natural, our friendship slowly faded over the years to birthday shout outs on a Facebook wall, polite congratulations on life events and the occasional “I miss you. How are you?” I didn’t invite her to my wedding and she’s never met my children, but I think of her often.
If her photos are any indication, our lives couldn’t be more different now. Her husband often wears plaid pants and pops his own collar — I guess she really found her perfect match. I’m happy for her, and although I don’t really know her anymore, I miss the her I used to know.
Ironically, I often wear Polo shirts and pearls now too.