I lost an old friend last year, one that I never thought I could live without. It turned out she was keeping a big secret from me for almost 10 years. When I found out, I was devastated. She tried to apologize and convince me that we could move past it, but things just weren’t the same. She said she never meant to hurt me, and that keeping the truth at bay is what kept our relationship so strong. We were having such a great time together and she didn’t want to rock the boat.
We’d met back in high school and hung out once or twice, but college was where we really started to hit it off. She was just someone who was always there for me. Through good times and bad, parties and all-night studying, hookups and breakups, dorm rooms and internships, she stood by me. People got used to seeing us together, and that make me proud.
After college our relationship got a little more confusing. It became harder and harder to rely on her. Sometimes we’d hang out and it’d be a great time, just like college, but other times it’d end up in disaster. She’d leave me at her friend’s house with no ride home, or cancel plans at the last minute, leaving me stranded. I used to love the fact that no matter what we did together, it would always be a great time. Now, it was a crapshoot.
So when the secret came out last June, I wasn’t that surprised. It was a long time coming. We tried to stay friends and I even saw her a few times that summer. She even came out for my 30th birthday. But soon enough, I drew the last straw. We were at a friend’s wedding in September and she was determined to get things back to how they used to be. She hung on me all night and forced me to stay out much later than I wanted to, despite telling her over and over that I had to wake up early the next day. I ended up getting in a huge fight with my boyfriend over it, when all I wanted was to have a nice night out.
After that, I closed the door. It just wasn’t healthy to have her in my life anymore, stealing my happiness and making me believe that our entire friendship was built on a lie. Was it? I think what hurts the most is that she’s not even a person, she’s just every drink I’ve ever had. The bottle of wine I drank when I was upset over losing my job, and the whiskey I drank in tears after a bad breakup. Even the 6-pack of craft beer that went down so easy at a Christmas party.
The big secret was that I thought I needed her to have fun. I thought I needed her to dance and laugh and celebrate. I didn’t think that I could get through a bad time without her by my side. I realize now that I could have gotten along just fine without her, and in fact, I’ve never been happier. I don’t regret the time we spent together, because now I know the value of living life to its fullest. If I’m tempted to talk to her again, I remind myself that she will only bring me down. So far, I’ve been successful. I don’t know if we’ll ever talk again. I wish her the best and I hope she’s able to make some new friends. I just hope she doesn’t fool anyone else.