You know how there are some people you just instantly click with? Like, to the point where it's spooky? Where you maybe even sense that you're about to meet someone really special before either of you have said a word? There's just something about them. A sparkle in their eye that makes you feel like you've already shared an inside joke.
On my first day of kindergarten I was feeling a little apprehensive when my mom pointed out a little girl already seated at one of the teensy desks. "Why don't you sit with her?" she suggested. I checked out her gloriously red hair and Minnie Mouse necklace and thought. "Yeah, she'll do." She in turn informed her mother that she and I would one day get married. 18 years later our kindred spirited-ness has not diminished in the least. It's been pointed out that when we laugh, which is frequently, it's impossible to tell us apart.
I can count on one hand the number of people that I've had such an instant and unshakable bond with. They are the people whom I can't help but break out into a silly grin upon seeing and whom, no matter how much time has passed, I can talk and laugh with as though we've been together every day.
I remember feeling a sense of relief when *Ross walked in to the room during my third or fourth day in college. A late addition to the program, he was the person I had been waiting to meet since day one. I willed him to sit at my table and that was it. We were finishing each others sentences by the end of the week. I can't tell you how many times I had to fake a coughing fit or duck under the desk to pick up an imaginary dropped pen during a class, shoulders shaking and eyes streaming with crazy unstoppable laughter bubbling up, sometimes from nothing more than a word mouthed across the room.
We immediately felt more like siblings than anything, which I guess is one of the reasons our friendship came so easily. We constantly swapped dating advice. When he and his girlfriend broke up, I made him a mixed CD of ridiculous breakup songs. When I limped my way back to school after being hospitalized and very nearly killed by my own body, only to have my boyfriend break up with me, he was one of my biggest supporters, making me laugh when nothing about my life seemed funny anymore and my usual BFFs were too far away to know just how bad things were.
When he started dating one of the other girls in our program, I was the first to be let in on the secret and was totally happy for him. Although she wasn't one of my particular friends, we had worked together on a couple of projects, and I liked her. She seemed smart and fun and cute, if a little insecure. In fact, I have video footage of she and I cracking each other up while working on an assignment. I made it a point to invite her when I had a party that Ross was coming to and always went out of my way to be friendly to her since I knew how much Ross liked her and I also knew how torturous it could be to have a boyfriend who got along really well with other girls.
After graduating, we kept in touch via the occasional email and maybe one phone call a month and every so often I'd try to lure the increasingly codependent couple down for a visit with the promise of theatre tickets for him and his gf.
Then one day, almost two years ago now, he informed me, through messenger that he and the gf had decided he was going to have to cut off all contact with me. I actually thought he was joking for a second. My heart and stomach switched places when I realized he wasn't.
"Sarah, it's me and you that's the problem. We're too close. We're basically the same person sometimes," was the best he could do in the way of an explanation.
I calmly informed him that cutting me out of his life was A) Effing insane, B) Totally unnecessary, and C) An unfair betrayal. He agreed. I told him I would even be ok with a rule that if we were going to hang out, she had to be there too in an effort to find a compromise.
He explained that I wasn't the only person his gf was having trouble with. So on top of feeling hurt and angry on my own behalf, I started to feel sick over the thought of my friend being in what was starting to look alarmingly like an abusively controlling situation. I hated the thought that someone I so cared about and admired could behave like such a coward. "What if I told you that my boyfriend didn't want me to be friends with you and I had to cut off contact?" I asked.
"I'd ask you if he's seen a picture of me."
I told him how hurt I was that he would even consider cutting me out of his life, I told him there had to be some kind of compromise he could find and I made it clear that this would be a deal breaker. If he went ahead and threw out our friendship to mollify his girlfriend, then we weren't friends to begin with. I thought surely he'd come to his senses.
Six months later I received a happy birthday text-message from him. I didn't respond, and I haven't heard from him since.
Every so often I still think of something funny to tell him, or I try again to solve the puzzle of our last conversation and I wind up confused and sad all over again. It's horrible to realize that if something happened to him, I'd have no way of knowing. I've thought once or twice about contacting him, but I don't know what to say and a large part of me is still too upset and bewildered by what happened. But mostly I just don't think about it.
A couple of days ago I was talking with another college friend. "I've been talking with Ross a fair bit, actually," he informed me. "He says you two don't chat anymore. He says losing you was the biggest mistake of his life."
"Ha, ha. Well, I AM pretty awesome." I blustered, hurt feelings rushing back to the surface.
"Well I know he feels really bad about whatever happened. Any chance you two could be friends again?"
I didn't know what to say.