I woke up one morning, in 2001, singing a single line from a hit song at the time. Not the chorus, just one line that caught me: “And on the way I grabbed Soley and Mia.” I sang it enough times that morning to annoy my boyfriend, who wanted to know why I chose that line, of all the lines in Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ’em Up Style” to sing over and over.
Why couldn’t I at least finish the song, or pick a better line? I had no answer.
When he dropped me off at work, I noticed a new voice mail on my cellphone. It was my best friend Barby. There was no greeting in her message, no story about what happened last night, no query about what I would be wearing to that place we were going later. Just her crooning these words: “And on the way I grabbed Soley and Mia.”
We had a better connection than Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile put together. I’d say she knew me like the back of her hand, but the back of her hand, with its many distinctions, couldn’t possibly be known the way Barby knew me.
That’s why the two and a half years we recently spent not speaking stung a part of me not too many people have touched, much less hurt. The part of me that looks around for someone else to get the joke, someone else to sing that random line from the song, someone to truly know me.
Let’s be honest, girlfriends get in fights. But the duration of this fight, and the void it caused, taught me that grudges can make your life much lighter if you just drop them.
The first time we broke up, a funeral brought us back together. We were teenagers. The second time, we spotted each other across a crowded nightclub. Finally legal and liquored, even the bygones looked blurry. But the third time we broke up, as full-fledged adults in our mid-30s, the making up part didn’t come so easy.
Someone’s pride swelled. Mine. And someone’s better instincts kicked in. Hers.
There was a feud, but under the feud were layers of girlfriend grievances that all traced back to one thing: Resentment that we were no longer best friends.
What happened to us happens to a lot of girlfriends. We happily skip down this life path together when suddenly the path changes. Someone moves, someone begins a career, someone travels the world, someone has a child, someone gets married, someone makes new friends, someone realizes someone is missing.
Friends grow apart. It just happens. Either their lives change or they change or both, and the friendship can’t withstand it.
But best friends like to think their bond is built Ford tough. Nothing can wreck it. They imagine themselves in rocking chairs, gray and giggling, pinky-promising not to tell anyone the secrets they’ve just shared.
To do that, though, someone needs to apologize and someone needs to forgive. Depending on the best friends, it will happen every few days or every few years, but it will have to happen to make the friendship last.
This whole thing was a lesson in pride for me. I refused to let myself admit I even missed Barby, until this past summer. My husband was in Boston and I was alone in my Las Vegas house with no TV. I finally let myself think about her, about us.
We weren’t those best friends who are essentially the exact same person. We’ve always been very different. I wanted to be a journalist. She wanted to be an actress. I had college expenses. She had child care expenses. I’d occasionally interview celebrities. She’d occasionally party with them. I went to fancy restaurants on a whim. She went to France. You get it.
But our senses of humor are not just identical, they are Siamese twins. And that creates our connection. We did a lot of things together, but what we did best was laugh. Hard. Barby had a loud presence in my life, an even louder absence.
When I arrived to work this past summer and found an email from her, it was a very similar feeling to the time she sang “And on the way I grabbed Soley and Mia” on my voice mail. I was surprised, but not surprised.
I had shed my stubborn pride, and she knew. The apologies were lovely, but I didn’t even need them. I just needed my best friend. And now it’s like she never even left. Everything is the same, without being the same. Just like us.
Contact Xazmin Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.