I used to joke that I have an emergency kit ready for every new heartbreak: I’ve got the curated Spotify playlist full of breakup songs, a stack of books that always make me cry, dark chocolate stored in my desk drawer and wine waiting in the cabinet. “It’s the perfect anecdote,” I’d tell my friends, and for the most part, it was.
But why, then, did none of it help when we decided we could no longer be friends?
I never imagined a world without you. I couldn’t even remember a time when I didn’t know you—we were once toddlers learning to walk side-by-side. You were there for every milestone in my life; you remembered every nickname of every crush I’d had since elementary school. And you were the one who showed up at my house after every heartbreak, ice cream and vodka in hand.
“Who cares about some stupid guy, anyway?” you’d ask, winding an arm around my shoulders as you coaxed one of your homemade alcoholic milkshakes down my throat. “We’re the ones who are soulmates.”
Sometimes I really thought we were. We were the perfect example of how opposites can complement one another, our shared sense of loyalty the cement that held our patchwork friendship together. It was you and me against the world—my enemies were yours, and yours mine. And when our enemies became one another, I’m not sure either of us knew what to do.
There were no songs I could turn to for solace, no books that offered any advice. In the movies, when someone dumped their best friend, it was empowering—after all, said friend was often a backstabbing, conniving mean girl who probably deserved it. And maybe you were that in some ways, but I didn’t know how to play the part of the heroine who could walk away, confident and filled with a new sense of self-worth. I couldn’t even hide the brokenness. Instead, I spent months—years, even—reanalyzing my decisions and wondering if I’d been in the right at all.
The movies never show the late night dance parties in our rooms or the lunches spent planning our futures around one another. They don’t show the weekend-long TV show marathons, drinking games included. They don’t show how we couldn’t go an hour without texting or all the parties where we purposefully tried to match or the way we laid side-by-side on the living room floor, quiet but supportive, every time one of us couldn’t stop crying. Our lives were infused with one another, and when you left, you took a part of me with you.
When I think of all the times I’ve loved and lost, none felt as life-altering as it did with you. Maybe it was because it was uncharted territory, a situation nothing prepared me for. Maybe it’s because heartache was always a distinct possibility of falling in love; friendships, I’d been told, were meant to last forever. We treated it like it would. Maybe that’s why we held on so tightly even when we both knew, deep down, that we were making each other miserable. It’s why, every time you stomped me into the ground, I pretended like I couldn’t feel a thing.
I know no one blames me for walking away when I did. No one, that is, except for you and me. And even though you’ll probably never forgive me, I hope you don’t regret all the times we spent laughing so hard we’d cry, the hazy nights spent making bad decisions, the way we swore we were imprinted in each other’s DNA. In the end, the worst breakups are the ones that aren’t romantic; they’re the ones between you and someone you believed, deep in your soul, was supposed to be your person forever.