I have had two best friends in my life.
I met Nina on the first day of kindergarten. It was one of those friendships, where we spoke only to each other, were constantly confused with the other (though we really looked nothing alike), and bickered over everything, from who was the more impressive reader to the length of a unicorn’s tail.
The school never put us in a class together again. It didn’t make much of a difference. Nina won Rainbow Pride every year, while I never won. Nina got picked to go to Japan, and all the fourth grade teachers took me aside to tell me, and I cried. We climbed around the waterfalls behind her house, and waded in the floods that nearly swallowed mine.
In the sixth grade, Nina abandoned her funky, fairy-loving ways and started hanging out with the cool kids who had their periods at age ten and never even bothered with training bras. She started wearing New Kids on the Block t-shirts, for God’s sake. I was horrified. And then she said something hurtful--“You’re not worthy of my friendship”—which she immediately forgot but echoed in my head for years, and frankly I nursed it for all it was worth. (And come to think of it, during this forced separation, I DID win Rainbow Pride).
We eventually recovered, became inseparable again in high school and perfected the dorky chic lifestyle. And then she went to Harvard. (I didn’t get in to Harvard).
I went to visit her there, and it was all very strange. She had removed all the furniture from her dorm room, and lived entirely on the floor. She grilled me on all of my friends, asking questions I didn’t want to answer. We hadn’t seen much of each other in years, after all, and her questioning felt more like an interview for a British tabloid than the curiosity of a friend. She instructed me to bring—and wear—all of the sexy, partyish clothes I’d bought since moving thousands of miles away from my parents. But seeing as how we didn’t go to any parties, there was just me in the miniskirt and boots and backless top being paraded around to all her friends. Her very unfriendly friends.
I felt distinctly uncomfortable the entire time.
But our friendship had bounced back from worse, so we kept in touch. Kind of. Sort of. Occasionally. And then not at all.
I heard she moved to New York, but I never got in touch with her. But then she never got in touch with me either. I actually passed her on the street once.
I was walking with Best Friend #2 in Soho, and saw a girl dressed oddly. (I remember lots of pieces, like the Olsen twins used to wear, but all those flowing pieces seemed to take up an incredible amount of sidewalk). I glanced at her face as we passed, and glanced away. And then gasped and turned around. She kept walking, and didn’t look back. I doubt she recognized me. I didn’t call after her. I haven’t seen her since.
Nina reminds me almost unbearably of Guy’s Favorite Playmate Ever! ex-girlfriend. (The hunched shoulders. The clothes. The whole stick of butter-eating). (And her mother reminds me of our neighbor who irritates me without reason).
I heard she moved back home. This video proves that in a thousand ways, Nina is no different from the girl I knew in grade school. (And neither is her mother). I'm not sure this is a good thing.