I met reille my senior year in high school, and boy do I love her.
We had some good times in spanish class.
I just finished reading a post she wrote about how friendships can often be misconstrued. Either at the hands of a manipulator, or just by our own blindness, or both.
As I read her words, one particular friendship came to mind.
This wasn't a best-friendship, mind you, so I can't quite compare it's magnitude with that of reille's, but it's still one that I find myself ruminating on every now and then.
I was beginning my senior year in high school and over the summer I'd begun to cut ties with certain individuals I'd tried too hard and too long to be friends with. It didn't take long before there was a kind of tacit understanding between us about what I was trying to do. It had been a hard decision to make, and I was nervous about starting over. I still had Ashley and Kim, of course, and they kept me company at school. It was the after school situation I was worried about. Ashley had a job and the rest of the time she had was usually spent with her boyfriend. As much as I loved them both, third-wheeling was not my favorite game. Kim was busy with MATC and her job (I may have been the only person I knew at the time who was jobless...)
Kameron and I were still just starting to be friends and I still felt like I might die every time I called him. I didn't want to be a nuisance. And even though we rarely saw each other, there seemed to be an invisible tug of war over him between me and his friends, none of whom I had ever met.
I had other friends, but not any who felt the need to hang out with me on a regular basis. I hated thinking I would spend all my weekends at home, alone.
Then I met a girl in spanish class (don't worry, it wasn't reille!). We first bonded over our mutual dislike of the new spanish teacher. I soon learned she was a transfer student and that's why I'd never seen her before. We did the first project together.
She was upbeat, and funny, and always laughing about something. I hoped we'd get to be better friends.
It wasn't until the homecoming carnival that I learned she was one of Kam's friends. Kam had invited me to go with him to the carnival and when we got there his friends spotted us and came over. We all talked and laughed and had a good time. After storming the field, we went and found a spot on the bleachers. We stood there a while before the game started just talking. Down the row it went Kayla, Kameron, her and me. After about a minute Kam moved from where he stood to her left, to come stand by me, on my right side. I watched her watch him come sit by me and didn't think much of it in the moment. A few minutes later she excused herself and made her way to the visitor bleachers, the school we played that night was the one she'd transferred from.
Beginning in October, each spanish class we spent was filled with detailed descriptions of what she and Kam and the rest of their friends had done the night before, always followed by an enthusiastic, "You should totally hang out with us sometime!" I always nodded in agreement, but it wasn't until Halloween rolled around that it actually happened. All month she had been inviting me to her house for Halloween, and I was excited. I thought it would be fun to have friends to hang out with.
When I got to her house everyone else was already there and they had started a movie. As I came down the stairs into her basement she turned up the lights and paused the movie.
The movie never got played. They spent the rest of the night talking about all the things they had done together the prior year, recalling inside jokes and laughing. There wasn't a whole lot of room for me to participate but I didn't even care because Kam was sitting next to me on the couch, fingering the strap on my boot.
After that they invited me to come hang out with them all the time and at school (those of us still in high school, that is) we'd eat together.
December blew in and it was time for Sadie's. The day they announced the rescheduled date of the dance (it was supposed to happen in October), she said, "We should get a group and all go to Sadie's together!YOUSHOULDASKKAM." Her exclamation startled me a bit, I told her I had been planning to ask him, "Well, good because you totally should." Her insistence felt funny.
Over fall break she had gone to disneyland with her family and texted me through most of the break.
"So how are things going between you and my favorite blonde friend?"
I didn't want to assume she meant Kam because I wasn't sure I was going to like where this was going. But I told her things were fine, I guess.
"So are you guys like dating?"
"No, " I wrote back, "we're just friends."
"But do you like him?"
I didn't see the point it beating around the bush, it wasn't as if it was a secret, but I still felt like I was being interrogated. I told her I did.
"Ohhh, that's so cute!" she wrote, "You know I used to have a really big thing for Kam."
I was genuinely surprised, "You did?"
"Yeah, but I'm over it. Kam and I just weren't meant to be."
she wrote some more about things I don't remember.
By the time Sadie's came around, I had pretty much forgotten that conversation. But I had gotten to feel pretty close to her. We talked a lot and I told her a lot of things and she asked me a lot of things. We were friends.
Around the end of February things began to change a little bit, she didn't talk or joke with me as often in spanish class. At lunch she still talked to me as much as ever because the whole Kayla debacle was coming into play. It wasn't long until she was confessing her feelings for Jason. That was all she ever really talked about. Kayla, and Jason, Kayla and Jason, JasonandKayla.
Then all of that blew up.
I thought we stopped being friends because I took Kayla's side in the whole mess.
It wasn't until later, after long talks with friends she and I had shared in common that I came to know the truth.
She had befriended me for the sake of keeping an eye on me. She was in love with Kameron. She was all about him. Apparently, to everyone else but me, Kam was all she ever talked about. She knew about my relationship to Kam before I ever knew about hers. She kept me around to keep an eye on me. And when I wasn't around she would complain about me. Why had I actually bothered to come to her Halloween party?
It's all very soap opera.
Still it bothers me.
And I know it probably shouldn't. All that time I thought we'd been friends. but I was her frienemy.
There are times when I think back and I miss her and those times.
We were always laughing, doing crazy things, having fun.
and now it feels so awkward realizing that all along I had still been the outsider looking in, and I hadn't even known it.
It feels stupid to miss someone I know has never even thought about me since then.
And silly as it sounds, even after knowing all of that. I still consider her a friend.
Why do we do these things?