Just weeks after we hosted a joint birthday party together, we weren’t speaking. And I still don’t really know why.
Alice and I were inseparable for six years.
Our teenage friendship blossomed over a fit of giggles at a school assembly and we never looked back.
We hung out all day, spoke on the phone all night and spent the weekends at each other’s houses.
We were more than BFFs; we loved each other like sisters.
We pashed boys for the first time at the same party, ensuring no woman was left behind. We ventured into a foreign tattoo shop and got the piercings our parents had forbidden together, buoying one another’s bravery (and stupidity) with the comforting knowledge we were in it together. We smoked cigarettes in the out-of-bounds areas at school. She put me to bed and cleaned up my vomit when binge-drinking got the better of me. I covered her lies to her parents, earning a reputation as a fence-sitter by avoiding giving any proper answers to their questions lest I get her into trouble.
And trouble had a way of finding her and, by association, me. Not that I was blame-free – it certainly didn’t take much to lead me astray. But she seemed to march blindly into mischief, unable to resist the magnetic attraction of the short-term thrill.
Perhaps it was this trait that ultimately led to the demise of our intense friendship. As she went further and further off the rails during our final year of school, I was desperately trying to stay on them. And our trains drifted into completely different universes.
Looking back, there were plenty of signs we were doomed. There was her suicide attempt, which I learnt about after I discovered the note addressed to me in her room and then blithely passed it off as a juvenile cry for help that was being dealt with by her parents and professionals. There were teachers questioning me about whether I knew about the frauds and schemes she cooked up at school. I didn’t. There was the massive web of lies that I believed I was immune to until I discovered I was also ensnared by it.
But we stuck together – whether by routine, denial, or fear of change – until a couple of months after graduation, when we essentially ghosted one another.
Friendship break ups can be stressful. Post continues after video.
One day, there was no phone call. And a day turned into a week, and then a month. And, just like that, the most important relationship of my life was over.
It was both devastating and a huge relief.
Emotionally, it was like breaking up with a partner. There was a big, black hole where she used to be. I missed her. I’d see something funny and want to tell her about it. People tried not to bring her up in front of me, silently wondering why we went from being almost conjoined to never mentioning each other.
We tried a couple of times over the following year or so to rekindle the friendship, but it didn’t work. So intense was our friendship that there was no other reincarnation of it. We were all or nothing. And so, we silently, mutually decided that we were nothing.
Sometimes a friendship just runs its natural course. When neither party is benefiting from the relationship, it’s time to cut the ties.
And, with time, I readjusted. And I felt free.
That chapter of my life was closed and I’d moved on.
We don’t speak bad words about each other. I don’t regret the years of time and energy we invested in each other as we grew up together – in fact, I recall those years fondly.
We still ask mutual friends how the other is doing. And when we occasionally see each other at a wedding, we catch up on each other’s family and life. We have a great time. But we don’t ask for the other person’s number or attempt to catch up in between the random occasions on which fate brings us together.
Because we’re done. And that’s fine.
The ending of that friendship was one of the hardest and most liberating things to ever happen to me.