Seven years ago, my best friend went missing.
I’d known Nat* since the day she was born. We’d played elastics and ridden bikes together as children and confessed our secret crushes to each other as teens. As adults, we’d seen each other through weddings, births, deaths and divorce. After almost 40 years of friendship, we still lived in the same town and we spoke to each other almost every day.
Then, she disappeared.
Nat’s daughter, who I loved like one of my own, would be 18 now. I sometimes wonder if I’d recognise her if I passed her on the street. Her son will never know me. My youngest son, Nat’s godchild, can’t remember her at all.
He was eight years old when Nat went missing. Perhaps the saddest part about the whole thing is that Nat didn’t actually go missing. She disappeared from my life, but she’s very much alive and well. Last I heard, she was living happily in the suburbs with her husband and two children.
Are you someone’s obligatory friend? Post continues.
It took about a month for me to realise there was a serious issue in our relationship. At the time, I was busy packing up our house, winding up my small business and organising for my kids to change schools. I hadn’t seen Nat for a few weeks but we’d been in contact via text. She’d been slower than usual to respond to messages, but hey, life was busy. It was nearly Christmas, and Nat had a full-time job, a baby, and a daughter who was finishing primary school. Even when the texts stopped altogether, I wasn’t really worried. There was no problem between us, no argument to be concerned about. It wasn’t until Nat refused to commit to a time for farewell drinks that I realised something was up. I tried calling, but she didn’t answer. I dropped by her house, but she refused to come to the door, even though I knew she was home.
The day before we moved, I texted one last time asking if everything was okay and received a five-word reply, Good luck with the move. We haven’t spoken since.