Unfortunately, I knew exactly who I was going to write about for this one as soon as I saw it.
I met Stacey in 1993 when she started at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. She was a level and a grade ahead of me. We didn’t really get to know each other until that following summer which was when we found out that we were a lot alike. We both had red hair and extremely fair skin. We were both quiet. Neither of us was very enmeshed in a group of people at either ballet or school. We had similar senses of humor and similar interests outside of ballet.
During the two years that we were together at PBTS, we became very close and remained in touch when she moved to Richmond, VA to dance with the Richmond Ballet. A year later, I followed her down there and it was a given that we would be roommates.
We had some trying times as roommates…common annoyances like whose turn it was to do dishes or that time I accidentally got the phone turned off would have us sniping at each other. But we knew we were each other’s support. We laughed and cried together and spent many of our weekends chain smoking and “feasting” on bowls of sugar-free Jell-O or pretzels.
After I moved back to Pittsburgh, we kept in touch. When Stacey’s dance career ended from a persistent foot injury, she moved back, too. We became even tighter and when I got pregnant with the baby, she was one of the first people I told. I wanted her there when he was born. She showed up right after they had whisked me back to the operating room. I still thank the gods that she was there, as she was the only person with the presence of mind to grab my camera and take some pictures of that crazy morning.
Seriously, I could never thank her enough for capturing these moments. You see, I was over in my hospital bed talking to the pink elephants that were dancing around.
Some years later, when the boyfriend was poised to become the husband, Stacey was the obvious choice to be my maid of honor.
We were still close, but by that time our interests and values had started to diverge a little. To be honest, I looked down on her new passions for motorcycles and guns. But I loved that she was standing behind me on my wedding day. I loved that we had been friends for so long. I loved her.
A few months later, I started working on my Master’s degree and became completely obsessed with this new version of my life, in which I was busy and working all the time and was sacrificing so much and nobody really knew or appreciated how hard it was. Stacey would try to make plans with me and I would decline or cancel and eventually stopped returning her calls. I was incredibly busy, too busy to even talk to her on the phone. Surely she knew that.
By the time our first wedding anniversary had rolled around, we hadn’t talked in months. I felt bad, but figured I would get back in touch with her soon enough. Another year or so went by, our only communication being Christmas cards. Last year, feeling incredibly shitty for how I had just dropped her, I wrote a note in the Christmas card that I sent her. “I miss you, Stacey. Can we reconnect soon?” I didn’t want to be too pushy after not communicating in so long.
I was stunned when the card came back with a bright yellow postal service label that robotically informed me that Stacey, one of my oldest friends, was no longer at that address and that the forwarding service to her new home in Montana had expired.
I deliberated over what to do and considered contacting her parents, who I hoped were still in Pittsburgh, for her new address. Before I could take any action, Stacey appeared on Facebook. I immediately sent her a sheepish message, telling her how sorry I was for being such a terrible, selfish friend and for being so careless with our friendship. Stacey kindly replied that it was fine, that she felt like she was getting in my way and just quietly bowed out of my life.
Her words stung, but only because they were true. In my foolish quest to be more important, to prove to myself that I was not a failure, I had utterly neglected her and she was too good of a person to call me on it, she just did what I wanted her to do.
I didn’t push for more interaction. I didn’t feel that it was my place anymore. I no longer had any right to influence how she felt about me.
A few months ago, a mutual Facebook friend tagged Stacey in a picture. I wouldn’t have noticed it if it hadn’t shown up on my news feed when I happened to be looking at it. The picture was of Stacey, dancing with her father…in her wedding dress.
I was crushed. I wasn’t mad at her. I had no business being there. But I had failed her in that I couldn’t reciprocate the favor of standing and supporting her on her wedding day, vowing to be part of the network that made her marriage work like she had done for me.
I thought about writing to her to tell her all of this, but more photos appeared. She was beaming, beautiful, happy. She was fine without me and without my apologies.
I know that relationships, even the ones that seem the most likely to last forever, can just end. People grow apart, they no longer fill the roles in each others’ lives that they used to. At best it’s a chasm that quietly grows. At worst, lives are ripped apart. But it’s one of the few things in life that we can look at and see as being meant to be, whether we like it or not.
I still love Stacey and cherish the years that we had together. I will forever regret that I was the one responsible for undoing our friendship. Maybe someday we can try again.
Day 01 Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself