The author of this article is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous.
My heartbreak was delivered by post.
"I want to thank you for 20 years of friendship, but now it is time for me to focus on my recovery and I ask that you don’t make any more contact".
I couldn’t exhale. The ever-constant ringing in my ears intensified. My limbs felt simultaneously electrified, and numb. Shock and shame washed over me. Overwhelming guilt for an unknown and uncommitted crime spurred me to throw the postcard in the bin. I spent the ensuing days in a fog.
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I had been dumped. My longest and most meaningful adult relationship was over. I was best friendless.
We had met at 17, at the university we had each moved from our home towns to study at. Both simultaneously scared and exhilarated by the possibilities of our futures .
“Will you come to dinner at my place?”
She stood above me, long curly hair catching the light, baby faced and eager.
Friends had always chosen me first.
Outwardly confident, but inwardly insecure, I never made the first move.
But she had decided and now here she stood. We were to be best friends.
Together we navigated the next two decades. Our teens to our twenties, our twenties to our thirties. We shared houses throughout our uni days, and then road tripped to Sydney where we embarked on our adult lives.
Two more years of flatting together before boyfriends and new careers disrupted our living arrangements, but not our friendship. When after five years of struggling to make ends meet, she announced that she was moving back to her hometown, I cried that I couldn’t imagine life without her. Simply and without pause, she said, "come with me", and so I did. Figuring it out together, finding home in each other, that was our constant.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing and whilst we never had a fight, our differences did grate on each other. I was certain of the next steps and keen for adventure, while she needed a gentler approach to life. Circumstances had forced me to be self-reliant from a young age, whereas she had the cushioning of family and so didn’t need to push as hard. She was confident and accepting of others whereas I was cautious and not quick to gather friends.
Our tastes in art, music and men were always at odds and yet we were so compatible. Our humour was absurd and aligned and we only ever wanted the best for each other. We held each other in the highest regard and felt smug in our friendship. For 20 years everyone saw us as a unit and knew that we were each other’s number one.
In our mid-thirties, her addiction came as a shock but looking back not a surprise. Both married by 30, I was well into motherhood with two young children when it became evident that her drinking was increasingly out of control.