Seriously, you guys don’t know who Dylan McDermott is? Well, he’s cute. You must trust me on this. Once I become Mrs. McDermott I’ll put up our wedding shot.
So, I had no idea so many people had issues with their best friends. One often feels as though one is the only one. I wonder how many times one could say one in one sentence?
Well, so what happened is this. And I doubt this will be inspirational, as I was not graceful in my handling of it, as I so seldom am about anything. Grace Kelly did not call.
I met my best friend when we were about 22. We had gone to junior high and high school together but hung with a different crowd altogether. I thought her crowd was burnout-y, and I assumed she was burnout-y right there with them. How old am I with my phrase "burnout"?
Jeff Spicoli called. Wants his vocabulary back.
Actually, my friend, who I will call Esmeralda — which could not be any further from her name and I am gettin’ a kick out of myself — was way more clean cut than I was. I think she was actually a virgin at graduation, and she got a certificate for perfect attendance at the end of senior year. Scary, really.
So, I knew of her and had seen her and all but I met her at a bar, which was kind of to be the backdrop for our friendship.
I was 22, had dropped out of college, and was living in my mother’s basement. Things were goin’ well. Plus, I was embroiled in the worst, most dramatic, most on/off, most "I’m 22" kind of relationship.
One day I was sitting in my mother’s house, trying to decide what to do with myself, and I actually formed the thought, "Maybe I’ll be one of those people who goes to the bars all the time."
This was my big solution to my woes. Could I have come up with a worse solution? Maybe I’ll be one of those people who’s addicted to heroin! Nice.
It was soon after I made my well-thought-out decision that one night at closing, the lights went up in my hometown’s bar and there was Esmeralda. It hadn’t occurred to either of us to go home before the lights went up. "Hi!" she said, recognizing me. "Hi!" I said.
The next night we saw each other again at an outdoor bar, again stayed till close, and two days later we went away together for the weekend.
Have I mentioned it was easier to make friends then? Now I’d spend a month and a half working up the courage to call someone to go for coffee. There we were, on a romantic Bud Light getaway already.
So that really sums up the friendship for the next four years. We went to our local bars, pretty much every night, always till close. Sometimes we’d put up the chairs and the bartender would give us a shift drink.
And oh, was Esmeralda the greatest friend to drink with. Ever. To this day. We’d always see the same people to make fun of at the same time. We both drank like sailors, but neither got sick or sloppy ever. We’d follow certain bands around and we both liked the same songs.
We were always deep in conversation. We’d both sink really low when we talked, and wave our arms around dramatically. One friend said he was on his way home after a long day, was gonna go straight to bed, and saw us through the bar window, hunched two inches over a table, four skinny arms waving, and he knew he had to go in and see what we were talking about.
When I went away to Seattle, the friendship did not abate even slightly. I was a receptionist and I am afraid we had an 800 number, and would Esmeralda call me 700 times a day on that thing? I totally owe that company like 11 million dollars. We talked constantly, about everything.
Me: (phone ringing): Good morning, Very Important Bank. How may I help you?
Esmeralda: I just shit out a lung.
You know when it went sour? I know exactly when. When I met Marvin Gardensalad. Now, at this point, Esmeralda was married and had a great job. But just as I was getting engaged and planning my wedding? Her marriage hit the rocks.
So I think a few things happened. I think I changed when I met Marvin. I wasn’t so needy, and I was probably less funny, because I had no more bad date stories. Also, I was probably insufferably smug. I really felt like I’d landed the husband of all time, and I was determined to have the prettiest wedding ever.
My assumption is I got a bit intolerable then. I tend toward arrogance anyway, and I’ll bet I was Snooty Pretensionsmith at that juncture.
Plus, how fun is it to hang around with someone who’s getting married when you are maybe getting divorced? Can’t be fun.
Plus also too? And this is the worst part. Esmeralda told me some secrets, stuff about everything she was going through. And I told them to other people. I totally had the guff, and my desire to be the center of attention outweighed my desire to be a good friend. I don’t know if she ever found out.
But Esmeralda kind of quit calling. We used to talk seven times a day, and she wouldn’t call me back, or she’d return my call at my house, in the middle of the day, when she knew I wasn’t home.
It got worse after my wedding. My reaction was to call, call, call, leaving sobbing messages on her answering machine, and to write long, probably arrogant, heartfelt letters. And when she would actually talk to me, she’d assure me that absolutely nothing was wrong. Nothing at all.
Finally, we just ground to a halt. One time I decided to wait for her to call me, and eight years later I am still waiting.
That’s not entirely true; we have some friends in common, so when things happened to them, we’ll call. And for some reason we exchange Christmas cards still.
It was so hard to get used to not having a friend you could call 47 times a day. No one else really cares if I eat a good pickle, or if Bizarre Love Triangle is on the radio. For years I went around with kind of this cannon hole in my center. And even though I was a newlywed and all, it wasn’t the same as having a best friend.
So, I know this was the longest post ever, but that is how I came to have an ex best friend. A lot of it was my fault, some of it was hers, and some of it was just bad circumstance. The timing of what was happening to us couldn’t have been worse. And maybe we just outgrew each other.
But sometimes I miss being at a bar at 1 a.m., with some skinny-armed chick throwing peanuts into my bra.