In the eighth grade, I was dating a boy named Drew. “Dating” meaning that we sometimes sat next to each other at lunch and called each other on the phone occasionally. Anyway, one day I was walking down the hall and an unfamiliar girl stopped me; “I’m sorry you broke up with Drew,” she said. Um, I wasn’t aware that Drew and I had broken up? I must have looked at her in shock because she quickly backpedaled. “Uh, I mean, I thought- well, he’s…” and she scurried down the hall, stuttering away. Turns out, the wonderful Drew had unceremoniously dumped me for another girl, yet had failed to tell me. And the girl? Would turn out to be my best friend.
The next year in Science class, I was wearing a concert t-shirt. The girl who I recognized as the Drew-teller came up to me and asked me if I had gone to the concert, and from there I don’t think we ever separated. We sat next to each other in Science until the boy on the other side complained because we were too loud and giggly. We ate lunch together, we walked the halls together.
Julie was funny, sarcastic, wildly insecure and I loved her. She became like a sister to me. She spent every Saturday night at my house, and we would watch bad 80’s movies and make cookie dough and stuff our faces, gossiping the whole time. She celebrated holidays with us; my mom made sure that there was always a present for her under the Christmas tree and baked her a chocolate cake for her birthday. She went on our family vacations with us. One of my little brother’s first words was “Jewie”. I have never laughed as much as I did when Julie and I were together… we just seemed to complete each other, she was the yin to my yang. At first glance we were total opposites; I was a girly girl who loved pink and glitter and she was a tomboy who knew how to skateboard and wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress. But somehow, it fit. WE fit.
My junior year of high school, I fell into a deep depression. Julie sat in my bedroom, by my bed, for the majority of that year, because I couldn’t summon the energy to get up. She forced me to go to my favorite restaurants and would make sure that I ate at least a little bit. She gave me balloons and cards and reminded me that I was needed in the world. I told her everything, and she was the one who let my mom in on the secret that I was really bad, suicidal, and they both slept on my bedroom floor to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid to myself. I was put in the psychiatric unit, and when I called home that first night Julie was there, helping my parents get through a difficult time and to make sure she didn’t miss my call. She completely saved my life.
Our lives took different directions after high school, but we were still close. Then suddenly, we weren’t. I have gone over and over it in my mind and I’m still not entirely sure why we fell out. Different lifestyle choices, different things going on in each of our lives. It culminated in a huge fight where we both said things that we didn’t mean, a fight that ended with me throwing my phone at the wall and shaking in hysterics. I ran into once, about a year later, and tried to talk to her but it wasn’t the same, and we left without accomplishing anything.
I miss Julie every single day, though I haven’t seen or spoken to her in years. Friendships like ours don’t come along that often, and I miss the connection that we shared. I’ve emailed her a couple times over the years, letting her know how much I miss her and apologizing for anything that I may have done to be a bad friend, but so far she hasn’t responded. I send her a message every year on her birthday and make sure to let her know how much I love and miss her. She has responded a couple times, but doesn’t seem open to the idea of meeting in person. I’m sure I wasn’t the friend she deserved; back then I could be pretty selfish and I think she needed me and didn’t know how to say it. I wish I could turn back the clock and be better, make her see how much she means to me. I miss her so much.
I still hold out hope that someday we can patch things up. Maybe it will never be the same, but even being in her life in any capacity would be better than nothing. I can’t believe she wasn’t maid of honor at my wedding, or hasn’t met my son. He would love her.
Back when we were in high school, we fantasized that she would marry her crush and I mine, and we would buy matching houses right next to each other. I don’t even know where she lives now, but I wish I lived there next to her.
I love you, Julie, and I miss you so much.