I open my Facebook, evading homework, and stumble upon something that takes my breath away. One of my best friends is engaged.
One of my best friends is getting married and I don’t know how to feel. I don’t know if I should be happy or cry because I don’t know if this is right or wrong. Just because she “loves” him, does that mean this is right? Just because I went back to school and we haven’t talked in 4 months, does that mean I should stand by and say nothing?
I’m, more than likely, going to be in a wedding. I’ll buy a dress, stand there with flowers, and smile because that’s what best friends do. Maybe by then I’ll be won over by his charm or his laugh or the way he looks at her. But when your friend is 18 and has gone through men like contact lenses, and has always been the little one you looked out for, how should you feel? She’s beautiful and I always want to see her smile. But if he ever takes that away, if their love ever fades, if he ever raises a hand…
I can’t bear it.
This is one of my best friends, a talented young chef with promise and dreams. Is that down the drain? Are you going to leave school for him, throw away all you have accomplished?
I’m so happy for you I could burst, but I think back a year ago on New Year’s Eve, when you couldn’t go out because you had to “stay with family”, and I remember seeing your little red car in a motel parking lot. I remember your text in the morning asking if plan b was only available over the counter. I remember being worried even then, because you were already lost to us, already a victim of your own naivety and the way his smiles glint at you in the darkness. You were already a slave to the idea of being a military wife, of having his glory to share instead of creating your own.
I’m so happy for you that I could burst but I don’t know that it’s actually happiness or just an impulse feeling that I know I should be having at this news. In reality I want to retch or cry or rewind to that New Year’s Eve and tell you that you are more valuable than a man can ever make you, your dreams alone can change the world and you are worth every ounce of life you have to give.
It is too late and I am dizzy and overcome with joy and excitement and disgust.
I want to look into his eyes and promise his swift end at the first word of pain in his care. I want to look into your eyes and smile and cry and hug you and congratulate you…and beg you to wait. I want you to know these things but will never tell you because that will only drive you toward him.
That will only leave me without my friend.
So I will stand there in the dress I bought with the flowers in my hand and I will smile like best friends do. I will beam for pictures and put one up in my apartment and I will rejoice over your happiness with you.
But just know that I will be here should anything falter, should your heart get broken, should your world shatter. I will sit with you and rub your back and wipe your tears and I will never say I told you so because I never did.
I never told you how precious you are to me. And how much I wish you would reconsider. Live your life. Enjoy the freedom of youth, find where you belong. Follow your heart and breathe air that is new and full of hope and promise.
You are eager to start forever, but forever will always be there. You can still make your mark on the world, still grab it in your hands and mold it as your own. Then if at the end of it all he is still what you want, it is time. You still have so much to discover.
You still have so much you to discover.
I’m so happy for you that I could burst. I hope you’re happy and I hope life is all you expected it to be. I hope you feel, deep inside of you, that pull to him, the need to never be apart, to simply be touching his hand. I hope you truly love him and he truly loves you and he looks at you as if he was seeing the world for the first time. Don’t be blinded by his smile, little one.
I’ll always be here.