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Best Friends

Soul mates

By Tiffany FairfieldPublished 2 months ago 9 min read
Best Friends
Photo by Simon Kuznetsov on Unsplash

I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest for a while. These words and feelings that I’ve felt like I couldn’t say. How do you talk about something so painful and raw so casually? With no prompt and no idea where to speak about it? Then this challenge came up and it feels like whatever powers that be out there, are telling me to let it out.

I’m not approaching this challenge in a way that will make me seem like a good writer. I don’t have beautiful words or ways to make this appealing because it’s not. I’m struggling and hurting and sometimes writing things down makes me feel better. I’ve been avoiding it because writing it makes it feel real. Once I put it out there I can’t go on in ignorant bliss anymore.

In my 26 years I still have not understood what love is. While it holds the same general meaning, it’s different depending on the person. Like what is it? You can love your family, your partner, your friends… and yet those all feel different but we all somehow know to call it love. Why?

I haven’t experienced heartbreak since high school. I’ve been with my fiancé since I was 19 years old. I never had a large social network. I’ve had one friend. And I mean that literally. I don’t even have acquaintances. The only people I have to talk to or spend time with is family. I didn’t mind because I still had my best friend. I’d almost forgotten what this squeezing sensation around my heart feels like. The absolute emptiness I feel in random moments when I think of her.

I had a best friend. A soul mate. She’s one of the most beautiful person’s I’ve ever met. She’s the type that will drop everything to comfort you. She’s observant and inquisitive. She’s funny and knows how to live. Or she did. I’m not sure anymore because she hasn’t returned my calls or texts in months.

We became best friends our freshman year of high school. It was 3rd period, lifetime activities. My high schools lazy version of gym class. There was this guy in that class, at least 6 foot with some kind of superiority complex. I don’t know. I never understood him. I was kind of a blob that just hung on the edge of people’s circles. Not really in it but trying to appear as if I belonged somewhere. This day I was outside his circle. My soon to be best friend was in hers. I remember she laughed really loudly and everyone kind of turned that way. It was a sudden distraction in an otherwise level volumed room. It set him off. “God she’s so stuck up.” He had said. “I’m gonna go hit her.” I’m not even kidding. He said that. No one really said anything back because it’s so out of it. Random. I don’t think anyone in the circle took him seriously.

But then he approached her. And sure enough he slapped her. This beautiful woman did not cower. She did not cry. I saw no fear in her eyes. No, she gave back as good as she got. And all I could think was, “My God, she’s stunning.” I would’ve be hyperventilating in the fetal position had it been me. Or crying. Probably both.

From that day on I knew I wanted to be her friend. I orbited outside her circle then. And eventually we became friends. We clicked. We balanced each other well. It was the perfect combination. The light to my dark. Positive to my negative. Extrovert to my introvert. Feeling to my logic. But despite our differences we still liked the same music, books, and tv shows. And we had no problem switching for each other. If she needed the positive or the light I could give it to her. We flowed. And we just knew we were soul mates.

I would spend countless weekends at her house. She would come to mine in the summer. We’d plan our futures. How we’d leave the shit towns we grew up in. We’d buy a huge house together so our future kids could be best friends. We’d have matching rocking chairs so we could talk shit as old ladies while we sipped our morning coffees. We’d leave it all behind and be happy.

I lived with her and her family my sophomore year. We got matching tattoos that year. I know, crazy. But that’s how sure we were in our friendship. We both dropped out and took the HiSet together. She would live with me and my family what would have been our senior year. We did it all together. Late night B&Cs. Chinese buffet every chance we got. Homecoming dances. Sneaking away from the dance to meet up with our older boyfriends. Late night heart-to-hearts at least three times a week. We shared EVERYTHING. Nothing was off limits. We knew each other’s secrets, fears, insecurities… I don’t know how many times we held each other crying. How many times we told each other we’re too good for this world. Hiking mountains and jamming out on long car rides to the best songs. Staying up for hours every time one of us met someone new. Skipping lunch period on rainy days so we could go outside and run in the rain.

Then we became adults, living in different counties. We had children and partners and jobs. No longer were we reckless teenagers that could just do whatever. But we still made time to see each other when we could. We still talked everyday. We were soulmates so even if we didn’t speak we just knew. And we would pick up where we left off every time. I was her Maid of Honor. She would’ve been mine if I’d have gotten married. She still would be if I thought she wanted to.

It happened so slowly. Everyday turned into once a week. Then a couple times a month. Then once a month. Until nothing. I replay the last time we spoke over and over again. Looking for something to make sense of this. Because I can’t understand. There was no catalyst. No huge falling out. I didn’t even realize she was slipping away until two months in because I had become so accustomed to the infrequent calls. I was still expecting her to call one day and say “I’m such a terrible best friend.” Which had become her go to greeting after I’d spend weeks calling and she would take weeks to respond. But I understand. Life gets hectic with kids and work. She would call when she had a moment. She always does. And she was going through a lot. Stuff no mother or woman should have to go through. So maybe she just needed time. Time is nothing for soul mates anyways.

But January 30, 2024 solidified my fears. In the nearly 12 years of friendship we had never missed a happy birthday post. I stayed up late that night. But there was no birthday wishes from my best friend. I hoped it would give me closure. What I needed to stop calling and texting because I was starting to feel incredibly desperate.

I want to know she’s okay but she won’t respond. And it’s wild that I used to feel like her family. I could walk into her home unannounced and feel welcomed. And now I can’t even muster up the courage to ask her family if she’s alright. I see her posting on social media. I see her responding to others. But she’s brave and very good at hiding her feelings. So does that really mean anything?

But it’s in these moments that I realize how far we’ve really drifted. Is her favorite color still purple? What does she want her future to look like now? Is she still in therapy? Still taking care of herself? Does she still want that big house and matching rockers? I want to fix it. Relearn everything. Be more present. But I can’t because I can’t reach her anymore. I don’t even know if the number I have is still hers.

I want to be angry. At her. For leaving me so easily. For giving me no explanation. For making it seem like I’m the only one hurt by this turn of events. I want to be angry at myself. Because I can’t stop calling and texting. I just want to hear her voice again. I miss her so much. I feel hopeless. Like half of my soul is missing. I feel pathetic. Like I should just get the hint that she’s no longer interested in the friendship. But it doesn’t fit. And I tell myself not to judge so harshly. I feel so much hurt.

But I’m scared that if I stop reaching out, the door will close. And I want her to know that’s it’s always open. Because I can’t stop thinking about her. I can’t stop thinking about the last 12 years and how much I miss her. I’ve tried.

I love her and that’s why it hurts like this. But if you ask me what love is I would still say I don’t know. I can sit here all day and tell myself that it’s nothing. People drift apart all the time and that’s fine. That’s life. But it does nothing to change the way my chest hurts thinking of her. The way I randomly feel the need to call her and my heart gets heavier every time the call continues to ring. How I sometimes cry at night because I can’t stop thinking about the last 12 years.

What I’ve learned about love in the last 26 years is that I’ve learned nothing about love. When I try to think about it, to pinpoint exactly what’s happening with my feelings, I can’t find the words. Nothing fits. We all crave it. Everyone wants to be loved. But when we lose it, it’s brutal. It’s heartbreaking. It’s complete hell sometimes. Yet, we still continue to love.

Even now, I’m still waiting for her call. I think I’ll always wait for it. Because I’ll always love her. Even if it never comes. I’ll always have well wishes for her. I’ll always cheer her on. I’ll continue to hope that she gets everything and more she wants out of life because she deserves it. And I’ll hope that she finds someone that will be her other half through the rest of it. Even though I want to be angry at her, I just can’t. Not truly. If my presence in her life lost its meaning, I can’t fault her for that. In the end, I just want what’s best for her. Because I love her.

Actually, I take back what I said. Love is oxymoronic. Bittersweet. At least for me. Maybe I am just that sad and desperate. I always tend to crave the things that hurt.


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  • J2 months ago

    I've lost so many people to themselves in ways that make me feel (know?) I should be happy for them, and that "that's just getting older". It always makes me question what's wrong with me, or what I did, or how I need to change, but in the end the most dissatisfying answer is usually the right one; the one that says people, inevitably, change. We all do it, and we need to in order to grow, even if our own expansion means we drift further away from each other as we push ourselves forward. Growing pains are just that: painful. A necessary evil on the road to self-discovery. It doesn't mean the love that connects you is gone, just that the fabric has worn thin from use. Like a good sweater or a favourite blanket, put away in a special box so the moths can't get to it. Out of sight and often out of mind, but no less special.

  • I went through the exact same thing with my (ex?) best friend. You're not alone. Thank you for sharing. <3

  • This was absolutely terrifying and painful. I would not usually write something so personal publicly. I would not usually be so vulnerable or open to admit my shortcomings. But I feel a bit better having gotten it out. I’m trying new things this year and one of them includes doing things that gives me anxiety. I was literally shaking just thinking about submitting this. But I feel like I can look back on the last 12 years with fondness and appreciation rather than sadness. Okay a bit of sadness as well. Fine, a lot. But it’s part of healing, right? I will probably never do this again.

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