Growing Up Meant Growing Apart, But I Still Miss My Childhood Best Friend

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Growing up, we promised one another that we would be each other’s bridesmaids. We would live next door so that our kids could be best friends just like us. Our biggest fight was when we realized that we both wanted to name our daughters Natalie, or it could have been that time there were discrepancies over the rules of Hot Lava.

We went on vacations together, and when the holidays came around, I wanted so desperately to be Jewish so I could celebrate Hanukah with your family. You celebrated Christmas Eve with mine, and Fourth of July found us doubled over in laughter on our front lawns with red popsicle stained lips. In October, you dressed up as the Wicked Witch to my Dorothy and the secret agent to my detective. (And you definitely didn’t tell anybody that I wasn’t wearing clothes underneath my trench coat.)

We don’t talk anymore. There’s not really a reason for that; we both have cell phones and Facebook and every other possible means of communication. We also live across the street from one another, but I realize that house visits have become an archaic way of reaching out to old friends. I can see your bedroom from my window, because it’s still painted that neon green color that I helped you choose when we were 12. Whenever the light from your window catches my eye, I remember our efforts to create a clothesline mail system so that we could keep talking after our parents demanded we go to our respective homes.

I can’t pinpoint the moment when we stopped being best friends. I just know that I never would have guessed it would happen. Was it when I was in fifth grade and you went off to middle school without me, a strange new world of Abercrombie jeans and co-ed dances that I wasn’t a part of? Or was it early high school, when we realized that we had absolutely no mutual friends, and our other closest friends didn’t understand why we were friends to begin with?

People talked about losing touch, drifting apart, having fall-outs with people you couldn’t go a day without talking to. We thought we were better than that.

We might never become actual friends again. Maybe too much time has passed and we won’t have anything in common anymore. Looking back on our childhood, I can’t even name the things that we had in common back then. A street address? A weird obsession with chocolate chip pancakes? A religious American Idol screening ritual?

So when we’re both home on college break, and we both pull up to the intersection at the end of our street at the same time, there might be a second when I think, Shit, this is awkward. But know that, as I drive away, there’s a little smile on my face, because I’m remembering the days when we pretended to be sisters and our curfew was when the fireflies came out. TC mark

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