Growing Up and Apart at 27

August 15 2014

I recently got back my best friend. I didn’t realize how much I missed her until I got her back, or really, that she was even gone.

As I grew up I was told that you would grow apart from your high school friends. That connection would never be the same once you graduated and moved away. This rang true for several friendships but not my best friend. We had known each other since the 4th grade and me moving all over the place in pursuit of my dreams didn’t seem to affect our relationship one bit. We texted almost every day and could make each other laugh harder than anyone else in the world. When I would come home we could pick up right where we left off, sometimes in the middle of the same sentence.

She met a boy. I didn’t like him. I had hoped it was the over protective mother side of me flaring up. Or even the no one will ever be good enough for my best friend side of me. But it wasn’t. It was that primal gut instinct that drove our prehistoric ancestors to move into attack mode. I buried it. She was so happy and deserved to be happy, who was I to say he wasn’t up to par?

They broke up just before Thanksgiving, after almost a year together. I could finally lay it all out. All the reasons he wasn’t good enough. All the reasons she didn’t deserve to be treated the way she was. They got back together. They moved on. My words never left her. She knew how I felt about him and wouldn’t be able to forget that. She did her best to keep us apart. Which was easy because I had moved out of state.

The growing apart started. The texts became less and less. When I saw her at home we didn’t laugh nearly as hard. She seemed too adult for that now. They got engaged and I feigned excitement over the ring and the plans.

Three months before the wedding. I had picked out the bridal shower gift. I bought the plane tickets home for the big day. I was actively rehearsing my biggest most convincing smile when the phone rang. The wedding was off. He had been cheating on her. He had been hitting her. Everything my gut had told me about this man had come true.

It wasn’t growing up and apart. It was the isolation of an abuser. My best friend was missing and I didn’t even realize it. I have her back now and I feel guilty about how happy that makes me. I feel guilty that I didn’t miss her more. That I didn’t question more. That I accepted this fate thrust on to me by the people around me. You grow up and apart. In true friendships, true loving relationships you grow together. You add to each other’s lives every day, never take away. The best relationships are worth fighting for and I will never again be caught on the sidelines when it comes to one of my friends.

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Tampa, FL

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