I read my Facebook News Feed every morning and pretend that most of these people are my “real friends”. That they actually care what happens to me, and read what I post. Which is infrequent and certainly earth shattering not. No special “secret” jokes flying around my news feed.
Now and then (mostly then) something pops up that hits me in a dark and vulnerable place, and I wish that I didn’t read it. And it’s usually first thing in the morning. The worst part about it is that it lingers – all day and sometimes forever – which is a long time.
This time it was a photo of two women. Holding each other as they seemingly skipped together down some road, (sepia tone of course) smiling, laughing, sharing some private joke only the closest and best of friends could share. Their faces were turned towards each other with locked eyes emanating the kind of love only best friends would understand, but was genuinely expressed in this photograph. It literally reached out and grabbed me by my heart … damn … The caption read:
“If you love your BFF (short for best friend forever) repost this on your status and name her, to show her how much her love means to you and how much you love her). My heart stopped. Maybe I should stay in bed. It was Saturday. Oh – the dog. He needed to pee and eat. Damn.
Emotionally captivated, deflated and shot straight through my heart – I sunk down onto two soft pillows, warmed from the early morning sun and my nights sleep, and I started to cry. For in that moment, the truth, the clarity that I did not have a BFF, nor had I ever had a true BFF, not even my sister, or husband(s) was another blatant fact of my empty, vacant life. A life that I once loved to live. If I could only remember when.
Neither one of my two husbands, 23 years and 3.5 years (I barely acknowledge the second) respectively were ever buddies nor ever “had my back”. I doubt they could tell you my favorite color, song or food. We didn’t share a “our song” nor did we have a “special place” and I never, ever came first. For all of my efforts, in the end I was married to two exceptional narcissists that passed the baton when the going got rough. Even when nothing got going. WTF? It was never their fault. Never.
Girlfriends? Yes, oh them.
Growing up I had a special friend and we were beyond close. Although raised quite different in many ways, both socio-economic and in our opinions on most everything, we were the “sisters” we never had that we liked. We worshipped each other. I was her matron of honor. She made me feel special. Distance has a way of changing that. But it endured a long time considering we were over a 2000 miles away. I was able to visit often. My “fame and semi-fortune” kept that friendship thriving as time ticked on, donned me “Godmother” and accorded her special perks, furnished nursery, baby clothing, food, dining, Godchild allowed in Nantucket house (reserved ONLY for adults not screaming infants) and ski house perks. Not to mention extravagant gifts for all from around the world, rooms in Paris, and well – when it all came crashing down because I had the nerve to get cancer (I give her credit, she was there for me as much as she could be) she eventually “eased on down the ol’ proverbial road. In direct proportion it appeared to the depletion of my “fortune”.
Trips out east no longer included visits to me “the Godmother” ( yet she had no problem calling my son for free Bway tickets for her and her friends). The Manhattan condo was sold, the Nantucket beach cottage was of course gone, and the Tudor house was non-existent. Yup. No more visits.
Finally one year, I did not know which freaking “American doll” to get my “Goddaughter” so I asked her to pick the doll out, which she always did. ( I have boys). But this time she declined. It ended over an “American Doll”. The End. End of life long BFF. Generous BFF.
Then there was the college BFF who failed to share that we would not be sharing an after graduation apartment. OK. I moved in with later to be husband #1. out of desperation. We remained as close as possible until she married and moved and moved and our friendship was reduced to me always calling her – and eventually her terrible depression. I had no idea. I was heartbroken. Had no idea why she stopped communication. Got a strange and wicked letter. Then, years later (27) we reunited. I was SOOOO happy. Flew across the country and spent almost two weeks with her and thought we had picked up where we left off. Not.
I came home to as the “Bruce S” song goes “to an empty house” (2nd husband and I got a divorce) and BFF could not deal with it. ?????? She was starting her new, secure retirement life with her wonderful, faithful, attached at the hip hubby of 32+ years. Moving, building, making new retirement plans, friends. No time for my change of life issues. Good or bad. He was her BFF. Her husband. Secretly – I was envious. She was so lucky. I suddenly felt like my unhinging was interfering with her “new” life and so I just faded away. Painful? Oh yes. It was fun … while it lasted for let’s see … 7 months?
And there were a number of other “beauties” that loved to say that I was their “BFF” because I was the “famous —–” and that elevated them to a certain whatever in conversation and social status. Oh – let’s not forget the parties, the discounts, “free stuff” and my overly generous and stupid giving nature, and well … they turned out just as I didn’t expect. Didn’t see it coming. It’s like that “Harold Melvin” song … “Where Are All My Friends?” You got it.
When the party was over – the pseudo BFF”S were also. They moved on to higher ground. My “BFF’s” went the way of the business. The same with the hubby #1. And suddenly Moi was relegated to the table in the back of the room, or not invited at all. So it goes. Siberia. It’s a small world, it got smaller. Options limited. I grew older. The kids grew up. And the world kept growing smaller along with the possibilities.
I am now 59 years old an don’t even have a fake BFF. No one to share my secret most treasured female memories with. My life has been a memorable and epic collage of two coasts, many countries, two marriages (don’t count the second) numerous love affairs, that probably only I remember. An exciting career that somehow just never made it to the “A” list. Accomplished a lot of amazing things for myself and my sons, who are now independent and 3,000 miles away. Like a distant memory one cannot afford to keep up.
Being your own best friend isn’t enough when you wake up in the morning, go to sleep at night, turn to your dog, want an answer, a hug and assurance that everything is going to be alright – because in the end … I’m not buying into wanting to die alone. If I knew that it would end up this way – I would not have signed onto the life boat a long time ago and gone through all of that pain to survive. No way.
It’s not “OK” to talk to yourself. And it’s sure not “OK” to only want to stay alive so that your son won’t flip out. And damn, it’s not “OK” to have absolutely no one to talk to except someone who you pay because you don’t want to bother “other” people. Like your own sister, or your Mother, or your own sons. No. It sucks.
Life to me was not meant to be lived alone. It was meant to be shared. To be talked about. Laughed about. Cried about. Figured out with a BFF. Never pictured it this way, without someone true to love me and to love back. And never pictured not having a BFF to talk to about it to. Often it occurs to me that my choices to please the wrong people over myself are the cause – not loving for the right reasons. Thus – never having unconditional love. After all … that’s what a BFF is all about. Male or female – who cares?