We were so bohemian and so wise. She was my best friend, and we lived together during my first year in Brooklyn. Our tiny single beds sat next to each other in the room we shared, making it feel like we were forgotten Von Trapp children left in a European boarding school. She was the girl I took baths with because we had watched the British miniseries “Coming Home” far too many times and thought all girls should share baths and cigarettes. There were no secrets, and there was no individualism. Hell, I could pick out her last boyfriend’s dick in a line up because she had described it to me in so much detail. If she had a problem, she would call me from work and say, “I wish you were here so we could figure it out together.” Often, I would find myself snuggling in her bed during the winter because our windows weren’t properly insulated. We would face each other with our arms wrapped around each other’s backs, tickling each other, and I would say, “I wish you were a boy.”
We went out to parties with her NYU friends—the cool video boys with Heidegger sticking out of their JanSport backpacks. I would feel so proud when she introduced me as her best friend, like no one ever had a best friend before. Her successes were my successes and vice versa. I rationalized that with so much charm between us, our failings cancelled each other out. I didn’t see this as a relationship symptomatic of our immaturity. I thought it meant that I was an emotionally healthy individual who was special enough that this person loved me. I mean, not everyone gets a best friend, right?
We met when we were sixteen but then went to different colleges. That didn’t stop us from always being in each other’s lives. I ducked out of post-modern literary theory to hear her whisper over the phone in a panicked voice about how she’d made out with her boyfriend’s roommate. A few years later, I cheated on my fiancé by drunkenly kissing a stranger at a rooftop party. Her mom paid for me to fly to Maine so she could sit me down and tell me not to marry this guy. Not only did I get a best friend, but I got a whole other family. Though many twenty-somethings would hate this idea, I longed for more magical adult characters who would tell me what to do with my life. I was a drifter, hoping a mentor would pop up around every corner I turned, and every internship I applied for.
My fiancé was long distance, which gave me enough romantic clout that I could say I had a boyfriend, but also enough independence that I could flirt with everyone and also devote myself to my utterly platonic best friend. When I finally broke up with him he called her continually to find out what had happened. She never called him back.
Then she left me.