Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the way we were.

Mary, Mary, Mary.

She's the lady I can't seem to get off my mind, the long-lost friend from yesterday.

There are a precious few people I've met in my life who require absolutely zero discerning self-adjustment in the delightfully uninhibited category. As it sometimes is with important people in my life, I met Mary at the absolute. perfect. time. Just when I needed her. Everything came easily.

We met on Drama Island, Summer #1.

It looks like it wouldn't destroy your life and self-worth, but it does.

Someone I knew up on Drama Island once said in a drunken ramble that everyone who works up there during the summer is running away from something, and I think that's probably true. It works well for people like me, because it gives you the absolute best and absolute worst times of your life, and I SUCK at moderation. What was I running away from? That's perfect material for another post, at a later time.

Mary and I were dating/trying to score free meals off of/getting drunk and making out with two guys who happened to be best friends. We got thrown together and the guys eventually got thrown to the side. They were losers, we were ARE much better off.

In a resounding blast that's blurred with late night lake swims, fountains of vod, aimless road trips, and the ability to successfully create a two-person scene, Mary and I grew thisclose. Almost instantly. She kept me sane and encouraged me to get a little crazy. I never felt self conscious or bad-weird about myself with Mary. She was unabashedly non-domestic, stylistically fabulous, occasionally socially awkward, and exceptionally smart. The Betty to my Veronica.

After that first summer and the following year and the next Summer for Drama Island: Round Two,  Mary and I were thick as theives. She was genuinely my most honest and reliable sounding board at that time in my life, she always made herself available. When we weren't geographically close, we'd send greeting cards like we owned stock in Hallmark. I graduated from college, when she still had a year left. She always had something to laugh about or a reason we should slam back a few more shots, or the time to get in her car in the middle of the night to drive down to hell-Kentucky where I was working, to find me wedged between the toilet and bathtub of my hotel room, in my underwear, just staring off into space with my body all clenched up in my own arms, to force me to take a pregnancy test (NEG, WHEW) after a particularly reckless and terrible decision following the most henious post-breakup period of my life.

She was my friend. A great friend. We were there for each other. We made each other shine and helped buff out the dents and dings that life had thrown. Stories were shared and plentiful. The hard to express, less-happy moments, of the first sting of childhood disappointment and even her fear of how a future love might propose.

"Mary, Marry me?"

"Marry me, Mary!"


Every time we saw each other, we ended up at Bob Evans the next morning to suss it all out. From our issues with our mothers, to how godawfulterrible Bride Wars was, and how much our credit cards couldn't handle another trip to Nordstrom-  and we always ordered the same thing. I could still order for her: Egg white omelet with spinach, tomatos, and mushrooms. Dry wheat toast. Coffee, side of skim milk. Me: Omelet with bacon and as much cheese as you can give me. With a side of Bacon. Sour dough toast, extra butter. She is slightly more health-conscious. After the meal, whomever's turn it was to pay would buy a Pez dispenser and a rock candy. Pez for her, rock candy for me. Little traditions popped out of everything.

Until it started breaking down, little by little.

When two people grow to trust and let each other in, and then depend on each other so quickly, it's easy to miss the blurry line between 'support system' and 'enabler.' It's already a fairly fine line, in my opinion. Mary and I both went through rough stuff. Typically boy drama, post college, Drama Islands wrecking our sense of reality, normal, growing-up kind of stuff.

And we enabled each other's misery.

It's hard for me to say that because it was almost impossible for me to see when I was in it. We supported each other in the only way we knew how- it usually involved reassuring the other one that she was justified in her choices, like drinking an entire bottle of wine while reading every fbook message correspondance between she/me and the Worst Ex in History. We both had them. Calls became less frequent. We had a hard time making it out to see each other. Stuff gets in the way. I let it. She let it. I grew tired of hearing her bitch about the people closest to her and worried she was venting about me behind my back. She grew tired of my constant boy drama and busted self-confidence.

I think becoming best friends with a person virtually overnight takes its toll sometimes- even someone as kindred as Mary was to me-  Not that you grow tired of the person or the friendship, but the rest of your life eventually catches up and refuses to be ignored. That happened.

We were still close, but also incredibly stressed and caught up in the bullshit of everyday living and growing up. Things were strained. Mary went back against my protests for Drama Island: Round three. In a weird turn of events we both ended up living in Chicago in the Fall of 2009. I was coming off a job-loss and she was moving in with her boyfriend who was in grad school there. I was thrilled.

And then we didn't see each other.

Or talk.

The last time I saw her was Halloween of that year. I had incredible energy that night, I remember it clearly. As I was getting my costume together and preparing for a night on the town with a group of my favorite people, I felt better than I had in such a long time. I looked good, I knew it. Walking around I had that bounce that comes after great sex or an exceedingly good hair day. I was ready to take on the world head-first.

Mary and her beau showed up two hours later than expected and left after an hour, something about train schedules.

I was pissed and I let her know. Of course I did it tastefully, in front of a group of people on the street, sloppily drunk and dressed as a gypsy flower-child. I always like to keep it classy. I may have also taken that chance to let her know that I felt she'd been neglecting our friendship and I felt she was constantly fixating on the negative and I was willing to help her find solutions and take action, but I would no longer stew with her about things she'd done nothing to fix.


I proceeded to get super drunk and have a great time after she left.

And then I got a facebook message from her a few days later. I don't even really remember what it said, although I can recall one line VERY clearly.

"I need this to be a low-maintenance friendship."

Um, what? hubbbbbababababababa? I'm sitting on the couch of my fun and adorable Chicago city apartment, pulling out my hair. Suddenly I itch. All over. My hair is still wet from the shower. I had the sudden need to go stretch my legs, get out, walk away from what I'm reading.


This was NOT how we rolled. I was blindsided by this, so I did what any mature adult woman would in that situation. I screamed "THAT BITCH!" and defriended her on facebook. And then I waited for her to call me.

Only she never did.

And neither did I.

Did I mention that we're both unbudgibly stubborn? Yes, I'm fully aware that I just made up that word. Regardless, we're both STUPID stubborn. We don't budge.

And so I guess we both moved on with our lives because we had to, but I still feel guilty, that pang when I think about a friendship that should have been fought for. That's my most failed friendship and perhaps my biggest blunder.

I guess I've got a serious question looming when I consider contacting her to make amends. We met at exactly the right time, the chemistry was just there. Now though, it's been a year and a half since we last spoke. She's gone through MAJOR changes from what I've heard. So have I.  I just don't know if lightning can strike twice in the same place on this one.

But, one can hope, because we had one hell of a time the first go-around.

Marebear and Sarebear: Vacation 2009. We have fantastic leg genes. My teeth are not always this gigantic.  

XO Sare

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