I stalked you via every medium I could think of: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gchat, text message, solar flare, message in a bottle, and even the occasional frantic telephone call. I clung to you during my spiral into regret and self-loathing. I became “that girl,” crazily uttering my ex’s name for no reason, screaming “How could this happen? How do I go on? It hurts so badly.” In a fit of sobs, I asked you to bring me Ben & Jerry’s and not leave my side this weekend, even if I made you repeatedly watch the Sex and the City episode where Carrie breaks up with Big.
I found every dead horse of my past relationship and beat it silly as I held you captive audience. I rehashed every argument my ex and I had, and pitifully asked you whether my insistence on buying the expensive couch pushed him away. I texted you from the park by my work, where I had gone to sit during my lunch hour and cry in peace, and asked you pointless questions about what would happen to me if he started dating someone else. I created future scenarios of finding out he was sleeping with a mutual friend or had gotten back with another ex-girlfriend and begged you to make it stop, despite the fact that nothing had even happened yet.
I didn’t even let you sleep. When I awoke in a cold sweat at 5 a.m., unable to cope with sleeping alone again after almost two years, I reached for my phone and texted you some variation of “This isn’t just a nightmare, is it?” Even if you didn’t respond, I kept texting you with every significant or insignificant thought that had crept into my garbage can of a brain.
And yet, after the storm, after rock bottom became my ceiling, you are still my friend.
Thank you for understanding my need to be on Gchat with you from the moment I arrived at work until the moment I left. Thank you for being okay with the fact that I texted you the second I left work to tell you how embarrassing it is to be caught crying on various forms of public transportation.
Thank you for your ability to put up with weeks of the saddest display of heartbreak, need, guilt, anger, hatred, and fear that you’ve ever seen outside of an episode of Mad Men. I bombarded you with sentence upon pathetic sentence wherein I resurrected, dissected, and rejected every kiss, f-ck, laugh, smile, and fight I had with my ex. I wailed and cried and moaned so desperately that it gave Greta Garbo in Camille a run for her money. When I told you it felt like it would never stop hurting, that I was worried my heart was irreparably damaged, you wisely noted that I was both incorrect and being a drama queen. But you did it with such finesse, delicate care, and kind words that I didn’t feel judged or even stop to worry that I was being too crazy, even for my best friend.
Thank you for being okay with me saving your number under his name in my phone, just in case those 14 glasses of wine went to my head and I decided to text him. And for telling me that whenever I get the urge to say something to him (because let’s face it, I had his number memorized), to text it to you first so you could both see how crazy it was on the scale of 1 to F-cking Nuts, and help me decide whether I really wanted to send it.
Thank you for understanding my urge to do something wild with my life in the wake of my relationship death but stopping me from actually doing it. You rightly pointed out that my plan to quit my job, move to Panama, and teach English to schoolchildren was neither feasible since I hate children nor wise since I had a great job and friends and family who would miss me. You made me see that running away would only change my geography, not my feelings.
Thank you for coming with me to the apartment my ex and I shared together, and for holding my hand as I collapsed into sobs a mere six inches into the entryway. As I packed my toiletries and some clothes for work, you kept me from grabbing mismatched outfits and neglecting my makeup, reminding me that looking fugly on top of feeling fugly was of no help to anyone. As my gaze lingered on our bed and his clothes hanging in the closet, you yanked me from my trance before the pain became too much for my ragged soul to bear. You also made me take my razor, despite my insistence that I was never shaving again.
Most of all, though, thank you for reminding me that I was still loved. That I was still worthy. That I was beautiful, funny, intelligent, kind, and deserving, even if I felt like dirt that someone dragged inside on his shoe. You reminded me each day that the pain was temporary and eventually the poisonous sting of my failed relationship would fade, but in the meantime, I didn’t have to go it alone. You helped me see that the steadfast love of a friendship was enough to conquer the dying love of a relationship. And most significantly, you helped me remember that the love of oneself is the most important and infallible of all.
To all best friends everywhere: Thank you.