Since writing a while back about my friend Jenni, I thought I’d elaborate on another friend, who is probably my oldest friend.
I have a circle of four very very close girlfriends. I consider each one of them my best friend because if you had to choose between these very different, very unique and remarkable women? You’d understand my plight.
So let me tell you about my friend Heather.
Heather and I met when we were both in junior high (or middle school, as is known in the south). There we were, fresh out of elementary school, with our very own lockers, and high top L.A. Gear tennis shoes. We were in the midst of our awkward adolescence. She’d gone to a different elementary school than I had, but we ended up having a few classes together and became fast friends.
To look at us, we were polar opposites. She was tall, willowy, had blonde hair. I was short, voluptuous, and had dark brown hair. Yet we were drawn to each other. (Blew that birds of a feather theory right out of the water) Weekends were spent at each other’s houses, we’d talk on the phone for hours. We’d call boys. Boys would call us.
I saw her through her parents divorce, she saw me through my first broken heart.
I’ll never forget the night I called her nearly hysterical to tell her that my boyfriend had broken up with me. When you’re 15 years old and this is your first love, this is no laughing matter. (of course, we laugh and roll our eyes now) Heather saw the positive in the situation. Here I was, having just been dumped, she was unattached, and the summer loomed ahead of us. She wasted no time in making sure I had fun. We spent a week at Myrtle Beach together. The trip that bonded us for life. We kissed boys, we flirted, we went to “The Magic Attic”, we laughed, cried and had a blast. On our last night, we were “grounded” by her mom because we (I) did something really stupid that got us into trouble. (perhaps Heather can talk about that night on her blog…hint hint) We were sequestered to our room (we stayed in a condo) and Heather, of course, made the best of it. We ended up having so much fun in that room. We sponge rolled our hair, sang along to the radio, laughed until we spit Sun Drop (it’s a soda pop you can only get in the south as well) out our noses, and in the end, were kind of glad we were “grounded.”
At the beginning of high school, Heather’s mom moved to Ohio, taking her three daughters with her. I remember being devastated. I just knew Heather and I would never see each other again. It was hard without her. But the next year, she moved back to her dad’s and life was good again. We spent another summer inseparable. I then, had a new boyfriend, who put up with me always wanting to take Heather on our dates. Once school started, Heather too had a boyfriend. Naturally we began to spend less time together.
That was also around the time that the said boyfriend lost his father and became who is now known to everyone as “the psycho.” He began to drive a wedge between me and my friends. Especially Heather and Julie (Julie, my sweet Julie, whom I owe a big post to as well), who were my very best friends. I, being “in love”, fell right into his trap. I was “brainwashed” into thinking my friends hated me now. “The psycho” loved it. He reveled in it. He knew that as long as he could keep my friends from me, he could control me. His “control” of course, was skewed as his being chivalrous. The white knight would could protect me from anything. Eventually, it all came to a head. Heather and I in a screaming match at school. It was as horrible as anyone can imagine having a fight with your best friend, could be. I tried to make amends later but the damage was already done. Our friendship was never quite the same the rest of the year.
Luckily, the following summer, I came to my senses and dumped my boyfriend. Heather and I found each other again, but by senior year, we were both so busy with our own dramas, that we never quite connected like we did before we had the big fight.
We both went on to graduate high school, I went off to college, Heather went off to start her own life, we both sewed our wild oats.
We’d give each other a call every now and then, just to see how the other was doing.
But finally a few years ago, we reconnected through this wonderful thing called the internet. And it was as if the time had never passed. The fight? Forgotten. The strained friendship? Mended. She was married and had a son. She’d also moved back to Ohio. But we vowed to see each other again. And we did several times. She and her family even came to spend a weekend with us in Wilmington. She and I took Josh (her son) to the beach, she and I went shopping, we spent a lot of time just talking and catching up.
Heather and I have vowed to never take our friendship for granted again. We still laugh at how she and I are probably the only two people in the world who have seen the movie “Shy People”, and loved it. We still laugh at all the silliness and the thrill of the carefree days as teenagers. She made a big part of my childhood happy. I’m grateful she is doing the same for my adulthood.