Please welcome today’s guest writer, Michelle Hoffman. Michelle is a 2019 Calvin grad living in Grand Rapids. She graduated with a bachelor’s in writing and literature. She is currently freelancing here and there as a copyeditor while looking for something a little more permanent in the editorial and publishing world. She works part time as a server, and when she has spare time she rollerblades, practices yoga, writes stories, and works on a young adult fiction book that she hopes to get published someday.
Dear ex-best friend,
Recently my social media exploded with pictures and videos of your wedding. I guess that’s my fault for following you, your mom, and your sister. I haven’t spoken to you in three years, but still the photos made me tear up a little. I was there when you met your now-husband. He played the Beast and you played Belle in your school’s theater production of Beauty and the Beast. I watched you kiss on stage. Still the best real-life love story I’ve known of so far.
I was there when you went through your first breakup. I met your second boyfriend, and that’s how I knew this one was more serious. But I met him again when he was your ex, at the same play where you kissed your eventual husband. I was there. But I’m not anymore.
Do you remember when we talked about weddings in your orange-painted room? When we talked about colors and flowers? I had thought more about it than you. You weren’t sure what you wanted, but I think you said something about sunflowers. From the pictures I’ve looked at, I didn’t see any sunflowers at your wedding. Back then we thought we’d be in each other’s weddings. Back when you met your husband I was confident I’d at least be invited. So much has changed since we were best friends.
It’s strange how much you have affected my life even to this day. You were among the first to tell me that my writing and my stories were worth something. You were one of the few who made me think seriously about majoring in English in college. Do you think about me as much as I think about you? Maybe not. I don’t post as much as you do. Back when we spent every day of summer vacation together we thought we’d be friends for quite some time. I remember talking about the things we’d do when we’d be in a rest home together. We thought we had it all figured out.
We went to different high schools. We got jobs. Life got busy and we hung out less. “Once we can drive,” I thought, “we’ll hang out more.” I comforted myself that we would hang out again during the summer, just like we had done every summer before. It wasn’t really either of our faults that we didn’t. Life happened. We still saw each other every now and then. But then I moved. Not far, but far enough that the distance strained our already stretched relationship. So taut was it that it broke. And so thin was it that neither of us really even noticed.
Eventually I noticed and I missed you. I reached out, a couple of times. Once we met up. We were in college by this time. We met the summer after our first year. We talked so easily and for so long I thought, “this could work. We can make this work.” I imagined a summer like the ones of our past, but instead of venturing into the woods behind our houses we’d go to shopping malls and restaurants. But that didn’t happen. We didn’t meet up again. We haven’t spoken or even texted since. “If she wants to be friends again she’ll reach out,” I thought. I really thought you would, too. But you didn’t.
I owe much of who I am today to you. Our adventures in the woods when we were young fuel the stories that I write today. You showed me a different way to look at the world. You showed me how God’s creation can become a stage, and we acted out so many epics. I will turn them into books someday. I hope you read them.
Ours cannot be an isolated story. Many best friends lose touch from one another. I may not talk to you, but I will watch your life through the pictures on social media. I will watch your little sisters grow up. I will watch you begin your life with your prince, and pray that it will continue to be the fairy tale you met in. I wish you the best and hold no grudge. We have taken such different paths; I pray that our lives will cross again. If they do, we have a lot to catch up on.