My best friend, Janet.
We met in primary school, in Std 1 (Grade 3) and became fast friends from the get go. We had a weird friendship where we would drift for a little while, mostly no longer than a year, and then drift back together.
Our longest constant stretch of being in daily contact started in highschool. We drifted back towards each other at the end of Std. 8 and stayed friends until we finished school. The first year after school we spent less time together (mostly due to my bastard boyfriend) but when he left me I contacted her immediately.
For the next two years we were virtually inseparable. I spent more time at her house then at my own. We could have full conversations by just looking at each other, much to the annoyance of our other two girlfriends. We knew absolutely everything about each other, sharing many an embarrassing moment or experience. She was the first person I phoned if I was upset over something, and she would cry on my shoulder if her parents or boyfriend at the time did something to make her unhappy. We could tell each others moods from the moment we saw each other. She was the closest thing to a sister that I’d ever had.
Then I met my husband. At first we still saw each other as often as possible. She welcomed hubby into our group with open arms. He understood that she was my best friend and that no-one knew me better than her. As such, my loyalty was with her first.
Sadly, we ended up betraying each other.
I had done something I wasn’t very proud of. I could justify it and I wasn’t entirely in the wrong, but I still knew that it could hurt quite a few people if word got out. I didn’t tell a soul, except Janet. I was certain that she wouldn’t say anything and for a few months she didn’t. Unfortunately alcohol and nasty secrets don’t mix well. She got drunk on a New Year’s party and told the very person that my secret would hurt the most. The party turned into the Spanish Inquisition and the worst evening of my life. Janet chose to pick the side of the person she’d told the secret to and ended up not speaking to me for months….even though she was the one who broke my trust.
A good three months later, she contacted me again. We made up and picked our friendship up where we’d left off. I was so happy that she was speaking to me again, I didn’t even ask for an explanation as to why she betrayed me in the first place. We spent as much time as possible together again, catching up on lost time.
I was still dating Hubby at this point, he’d stuck with me and supported me through the worst parts of the whole betrayal incident. I’d fallen head over heels in love with him and even started going to church with him. I wasn’t raised in a religious household, so this was something new for me. Before long I found faith and became a regular churchgoer, finally making the decision to move closer to Hubby and the church where I’d joined the music ministry.
It became very hard to see Janet regularly as we were living in different towns now. I tried to see her every time I would go and visit my mom and she would come through as often as she could. I was getting more and more involved with the church and spent as much time as much time as possible with Hubby.
About a month after I moved to the new town, Hubby asked me to marry him. I was ecstatic and obviously asked Janet to be my maid of honour. Things were moving very fast and I was heavily swept up in this new life of mine and all the changes that were happening to and around me.
All this change was, however, no excuse for what I ended up saying to Janet.
I don’t remember if it was via sms, email or telephone, but one afternoon about a month after Hubby and I got engaged, Janet and I got into a fight. I don’t really remember how the argument started or what exactly was said, but I do know that I said some idiotic and naive things about religion and made unfounded, stupid and totally unnecessary comments about the fact that I was a Christian and Janet wasn’t.
She didn’t deserve any of what I had said. I had no right to have said anything at all. I was acting out of my own stupidity and was a disgrace to my faith. Unfortunately, she felt the same way. By the time I realised that I had made a tremendous mistake, it was too late. Janet flipped…she told me exactly what to do with my self-righteous ass and made it clear that we were no longer friends.
I was completely shattered. This was all my doing. I’d been such an idiot and had lost my best friend because of it. I had been exactly the type of person who makes people turn away from any form of religion. Judgemental, self-righteous, holier-than-thou. All of the things I’ve learned to despise over the years.
Thankfully, Janet decided to forgive me. She contacted me about 18 months later, shortly before my wedding. We started emailing back and forth again and eventually decided to meet up. We were still able to talk about almost anything, but things just weren’t quite the same. We didn’t see each other for months after that, just keeping sporadic contact via email.
We saw each other at specific events. I went to her baby shower and to the Christmas party shortly after her daughter was born. I saw the photos of her wedding on Facebook (she was getting back at me for not including her in my wedding.) We invite each other to birthday parties and other milestones.
I haven’t seen her since my daughter was about 9 months old. I forgot to wish her a happy birthday this year. I’ve met a new friend who gets me the same way Janet used to.
Slowly, I’m making peace with the fact that things will never be the same.