Losing a best friend is heartache. It’s the same, if not worse, than a breakup. There usually isn’t a fallout. There isn’t a moment that broke you. There isn’t someone or something to blame. You won’t rant with your friends over how you deserved better or how she is really missing out now. You will spend hours and hours wondering what you could have done differently, wondering if it was something you did that pushed her away.
You’ll ask yourself questions. You’ll make up scenarios in your head.
Do I text her on her birthday?
What do I say if I see her at the grocery store?
How can she just disappear from my life and pretend that the last 15 years didn’t happen?
If I see her, I am going to confront her about it. I am going to make her feel as terrible as I feel now. I am going to make her see my pain.
Yet when you do run into her, you freeze. You don’t know what to say or what to do. Things are painfully awkward. You’ll hope she didn’t see you, and maybe she didn’t. You’ll never know because you ran. You couldn’t stand the awkward small talk. You couldn’t confront her because that would be admitting that it hurt, and it hurt so badly to be forgotten. It hurt so badly for 15 years to disappear like they never happened. It’s like she threw away every memory, like she refunded every birthday and Christmas gift you got her. She erased you from her life with ease and now you’re standing there trying to figure out how yours looks without her.
When something happens, you want to call her. When he cheats on you with a random girl from the internet, you want to tell her so she can show up with the ice cream and threaten to slash not four but three of his tires. When you find an online personality quiz that you know she’ll love, you almost send it to her, but you don’t. You know she won’t answer. You want to tell her all the crazy drama happening at work, but you can’t. It’s not the same. And you can’t tell anyone else because they won’t get it. So, you just try to forget about it, like she forgot about you.
Looking around your room, you realize that she is in almost every single one of your pictures. Growing up with a best friend means that they are in almost every childhood memory. Sure, you could throw away the pictures, but you can’t throw away 15 years of memories. You can’t throw away the trips. You can’t throw away the concerts. She helped shape you into the person you are today. How could you throw that away? You can’t throw away the fights that made you closer or the times you thought maybe this was it. Maybe best friends forever was just a childhood thing. But you made it through different colleges. You made it through different cities. Why couldn’t you make it through this?
You will cry. You will experience a spectrum of emotions: anger, sadness, hurt, longing, guilt, frustration, love, fear, and pain. You will detach who she is now from who she was. You don’t know that girl anymore. That girl does not exist. You never even got to say goodbye. You will fear that she is doing better without you. You will fear that she is making better memories with someone who is a better best friend than you. There is nothing you can do to change things though; any action just pushes her further away. There will be days when you think you’ve forgotten about her, and then you see something that reminds you of the good times, and it hurts more than any heart break you’ve ever experienced because you just don’t know why it is the way it is.
In time, maybe, things will be better. You will see her at some high school reunion and talk to her. She will tell you about her life, and you will tell her about yours, and they will be separate. They will never be intertwined as they were before. Things will never not be awkward. You will never be as close. She won’t text you on your birthday, and you will take some pictures down from the wall. The memories will last forever in your heart, and maybe someday it won’t ache so much to reminisce. You’ll look back on those times and smile, because although it hurt to see those two girls grow up and grow apart, they wouldn’t be the beautiful women they are today without what once was.