Growing up I was always superstitious. I avoided going under ladders. Any chance of a mirror breaking could lead me to leave a room. Black cats crossing the street would change my route. All the typical superstitions and ones I made all for myself. One of those became this idea that my any time I officially called someone my best friend–the friendship would inevitably be destroyed.
No, I don’t know what sorceress decided to cast this curse. I also don’t know what I as a Kindergartner could have done to upset the gods but that is when it all began. After moving around in Europe, My family planted roots in Texas. I attended Pre-K abroad and joined Kindergarten in the US. There I began my attempt to make friends. Then I became good friends with the girl next door. It was all so convenient. We lived next to each other, we had a park across the street and we were in the same class. This friendship led me to some pretty intense co-dependent behavior. There was a need to join every activity she did. I joined Brownies, I started Ballet-just to be near her. We had a routine. Before our friendship, we were both lone wolf types. I was the weird girl from overseas. She was the girl with the hearing aid. Before long, she had become my anchor. Then one day I remember someone on the playground asking, “Is she your best friend?” and I said, “yes”. *Thunder rumbled-lighting burned the playground – an old woman cackled. (*okay maybe that didn’t happen.)
My “Best Friend Next Door” moved away. Her dad got a job somewhere else. And so I began to pull back from being social for a bit. Being a young one, I bounced back as one does. Worked hard to make sure I didn’t fixate on any one friend for quite some time. I did my best to navigate the social world. Those tricky grade school years. You could say I see-sawed between sweet quiet girl to awkward tomboy. For awhile avoiding the term “Best Friend”, I joined various friend groups and centered myself as the “weird” one. You know, the girl who sat on the playground bench mumbling monologues from Forrest Gump. The one who did her fourth grade book report on The Catcher in the Rye. The gal who poked holes in water bras at the mall. THAT one. I didn’t have to have any ONE friend because I made myself open to all.
Of course I stupidly made the decision to get close and call another girl my best friend. Yeah buddy, she moved. The following one. She moved. The one I watched TGIF with and did weird forest magic with. She didn’t move but she joined the cheerleader squad. Then there was the one who I was borderline in love with. Yes, that one. She moved too. Some sort of migrant curse had befallen every person who I dared call or even label to myself as “my best friend”. And case after case seemed to enforce this idea. If I ever cared for someone- they’d leave me.
As I grew older you could say I moved some of this energy into romantic relationships. But that’d be reaching.
Point is, this idea of the curse has made me very careful to call people my friends let alone my best one. But as I’ve begun to find the circle I find most love in–I call them family. I also tie the curse as a way to appreciate the people in my life as I have them. The fear of being abandoned isn’t as strong as reveling in the different people who come into my life. The people who “get me” and most importantly the people who “show up.” They help me maintain.
And outside of my loving husband and incredible mother– I do currently have someone I call my “Best Friend” who has maintained this title for the longest time. The trick is that he already lives in another state and has a vast knowledge of Star Wars. It’s a loophole in the curse.