I’ve known her since grade school; I think I actually used to make fun of her when we were young. I guess they say that’s how kids show they like one another. I should stop you here and say it was never like that, though. No, Red was more like the sister that I never had.
Well maybe that really isn’t the way to describe it. It’s complicated to explain a friendship that predates about 95% of my existing memories. It’s almost scary, really, to think that I have so few memories and that the ones I still do fade so quickly. In any case if I tried to tell you how we first became friends, I would be lying.
Someone once asked us if we had ever slept together, the answer was a mutual, “yuck.” We once sat in my car, tripping senselessly on mushrooms and admitting to each other that we thought the other was unattractive and could never fuck one another, but that we had a love that was too strong to deny. That moment put a final definition on our relationship that said we would always and only be friends. From that moment on a lifelong bond of support was forged that I thought could never be broken.
We had the best of times, the stories so faded I can’t tell them anymore. We introduced each other to some of the best friends we still have today; she actually got me laid the first time. We drove to school in the morning, smoking pot and listening to my music while freezing our asses off as we waited for the heat to start in my 95 Saturn. We got into petty crime together and then got out together. We grew up and experienced this world together for the first time. It is worthless to try and explain this friendship with words, these last few paragraphs are just thoughts about her I have in my head as I write this and they change every time I think about her.
She was the first one to tell me I was a liar. We were older then, the Saturn was long gone. We headed west on I-94 and she told me that I hurt her. She said that it was because I lied, not what I lied about.
“In fact,” she said, “It isn’t even the fact that you lied that hurts, it’s the fact that you thought you had to prove something to me that hurts the most.”
I always thought I was alone; it took her saying that to realize that I finally had someone that I could always count on. I wonder if she has a similar moment in her memory, when I said something to her that changed her entire perception of the world. I like to think that she does but who knows.
In any case, friendships like these tend to fall apart when one is an asshole like me. I moved out of Wisconsin, too much to get away from, but she stayed. I remember my first night alone in the dorms, I sat out on the front step smoking and talking to her on the phone when I met Nate Brown, my first friend. It is strange, when I think about it now, that moment was really the beginning of the end of our friendship.
As soon as boots hit soil in Ohio, I was changing into a different person, not better or worse…just not the same. We spoke less and less as the years went on, but we always managed to be there when the other was in need. I, however, had a girlfriend. She was a particularly jealous one and didn’t care for Red. I was a fool; I pushed her away because Meg wanted her out of my life. I didn’t visit every time I was home anymore, and I barely called. I remember sitting at the Scrub-a-Dub on 84th St when she finally went off on me.
She told me it wasn’t fair and a slew of other shit that I hadn’t seen up until she pointed it out in black and white. I hung up, stubborn cunt I am, and never called back. That was almost a year and a half ago. I got a Facebook message one day from her saying that I should try calling sometime. I deleted my account.
I have had a long time to contemplate that click of the mouse, but I still can’t come to a conclusion why. Maybe it was just my pride or maybe it was that I thought I didn’t need her anymore, either way I was wrong. Time passed, like it always does, and we grew further and further apart as the silence between us became deafening.
I lost a lot of sleep over Red those next couple months until I found myself back at the bottom again. I had that realization once again and understood that I did still need her. I picked up the phone and called, but it wasn’t Red who answered. The man told me that I had the wrong number
I texted one of those old friends she introduced me to so many years ago to ask what happened.
“She got a new phone number a month or so ago, she didn’t tell you?”
“No…I guess she didn’t.”