Monday, November 2, 2015

Former Best Friend

Sunday, October 4, 2015


You've been on my mind lately. a lot.
You and i were attached at the hip for nearly six years. We grew up together. You were practically my sister. Then one day we bumped into each other at a high school theatre production and all we saw were strangers with the same faces as the girls we used to love.

I've been thinking about that interaction lately.
It was forced.
It was fake.
I treated you exactly the same as i would have if you were a person from high school who i had in that one class that one year. You treated me like that, too.
It was obvious that we both wanted the past.
We both wanted to hug and act like nothing had happened, but our jokes were tired. Our lives were so far apart from each other that we didn't know what to say. I couldn't even think of a question to ask you, but i literally knew nothing about you anymore.

I hated it.

But you know what? I'd seen you across the room several times that night. I purposefully avoided you at first, thinking it would be too awkward. Thinking you would brush past me or something. So i left. I walked completely out of the building with Jenae, got in my car, backed out, started driving away. I said quietly, "Marissa was there." Jenae said, "I Know! Did you get to talk to her?" "No."
and then i stopped the car. I froze for a second, staring at the dashboard. Then i pulled into the nearest paring spot, literally jumped out the car and ran back into the building through the drama room and found you in the crowd. Then i marched my way over to you, propelled by adrenaline, and hovered around your group of friends until their was a break in conversation. I tapped on your shoulder to say hi to you.

I wanted you to be surprised, and i wanted it to feel good, and i wanted to tell you everything in my heart, and i was so ready to apologize and sit with you and explain everything and beg forgiveness,

but that weird exchange happened instead. A too-polite sounding voice came out of my genuine-intentions mouth and ruined everything.

we walked away from each other with our separate groups of friends and i drove home in silence.

You know, when your niece Gemma was born i cried because i was so happy for you. I knew what that would mean for your family after everything you've been through together, and i was excited that you would get to feel that new kind of exciting love for a child.
You got to see the Jonas Brothers in concert before they broke up and i giggled like an idiot when i saw your pictures, because i knew you were getting to do something you'd wished for since middle school.
I even watched Michael's creepy cult movie even though i don't do scary/dark stuff, because you were in it and i knew it must have been important to you and that you were proud of it. I thought you were incredible. It made me think of all the times we performed together. You're a passionate actress, and loved feeding off your energy on stage. I wish we would have done the Hellen Keller scene together for Amador senior year.

You sent me a waffle maker as a wedding gift and i cried, which i know sounds weird, but it just let me know that you didn't hate me. It also whisked me back to my living room, after sophomore year of high school when we made waffles and eggs and breakfast things and watched Camp Rock 2 and ripped up my stuffed monkey from an ex-boyfriend like we'd done for you with an old crush the previous summer. I can still picture what we were wearing, and our reactions to the movie, and that by the time you all went home, it was getting hot outside.
Karl asked me who the waffle maker was from and i said, "Dobchinsky Marissa" and he smiled. He's heard so much about you. I wish you could meet him. I wish he could meet you. He's so good, Marissa. He's more than i ever dared to wish for. All those times we talked about things we wanted in a marriage and a home and a husband? He is all of those things. He makes me so happy.

But in all of that happiness, i still feel a hole when i see your name.

I regret very few things about my life, because i feel like even my bad choices helped me see the way i should have been living, and they propelled me to change.

But i regret leaving you.

I regret leaving you behind without marching to your door and spilling my heart on your sidewalk. I regret not making more of an effort to show you that i meant my apologies. I regret going to see "Once" In San Francisco with you literally RIGHT behind me on the bus and not saying a single thing to you because i was embarrassed.

I feel uncomfortable around some of your friends because i never knew them very well, and i don't think they like me. Even beyond that i feel uncomfortable around them because i know they love you, and they know who you are know.

I don't know you now.
But that shouldn't have stopped me from talking to you.

I was talking to Karl about you last night as i was falling asleep.
"we were like twins, and then i blinked and we were complete strangers." i said softly.
"How did it get like that, if you were so close?" He mumbled sleepily
"I don't know. After Disneyland? Time just, stretched us, i guess."

and then i fell asleep, and dreamed about us on the first day of school, rushing to classes and dancing in the car on the way home. Doing the same thing over again the next day and the next day and the next.

I said, "I don't know" when he asked me what happened, but i do know.

Senior year, we were as close as ever. inseparable isn't a word i use lightly. We were everywhere together. When I wasn't with you, people asked me where you were, assuming we should be ride beside each other. I loved that. I loved that people associated you with me and me with you. We were a package deal. People knew us as "Marissa and Melissa".

Toward the end of the year, as the musical was ending, we both started dating boys who were different than the kind we usually went for. Honestly, i don't ACTUALLY know anything about your relationship. I judged it, i made assumptions, and i disapproved because i thought it came with people, if that makes sense. Like you linking with that boy linked you with an entire group of people who i knew didn't like me, and i didn't like them. You choosing that boy felt like you were choosing all of those other people, too. So i felt like you were choosing to be 'anti-melissa' as well.

I did the exact same thing.

I dated a boy who was absolutely toxic for me. Zero good things came out of that relationship, and it poisoned a lot of my other relationships that were actually good, because those people tried to show me what i was doing and i didn't want to believe them, so i cut them off.
The stupidest thing was, The boy I was dating was previously in the group of people who i didn't like, and they didn't like me! I had aligned myself with a category of people i wanted to be nothing like. The same group of people attached to your boyfriend were the people attached to mine. Hypocritically I blamed your relationship for our falling out.

In all actuality i think was both.

Your relationship and mine pushed each other away. Not even because of the actual boyfriends, but because of the lifestyles and the associations.

You were one of those kind people who were just trying to convince me that i wasn't doing what was best for my long-term life. I ignored you. I cut you off. I choked out our relationship bit by bit that last month of school, and when we graduated it was nearly unconscious.

When i broke up with my boyfriend, you were still with yours, and the two boys had very close ties. Too close for my comfort. In my mind, you were now part of that group of people who didn't like me, the group of people who were attached to the boy you dated.

We still saw each other, but mostly because of other people inviting us to the same events. I felt disconnected from you, but i tried not to let it show. I remember our mutually good friend Oscar finally catching a glimpse of it and being shocked, because we'd always been like two peas in a pod.

We stayed friends through the summer and fall, though never fully regaining what we had until Christmas when we went to Disneyland. I was uncomfortable that trip because i'd gained 30 pounds my first semester of college and i felt ugly and fat.
The relationships on that trip, though were perfectly normal. We even shared a bed, haha. It reminded us of the night we'd stayed up until who knows when in the morning plastering Jonas Brothers posters to every available inch of space on your walls and ceiling, and then collapsed exhausted onto your bed and fell asleep next to each other. In the morning your dad came in to wake us up and asked, "you slept int he same bed??" with a weird look on his face. Your mom rolled her eyes and we never let it go. We genuinely laughed at that broken record story for years.

We saw each other a few more times, but then my family life got crazy really quickly and i was very busy with a sister who was very ill pregnant and her 3 young children. and i was working and had church obligations. Most night i was just too burnt out to do anything. I hardly had time for myself, i didn't even think about friends.

Right before i left for school again the spring of 2013, you sent me a message on Facebook. You had assumed some things of me that i thought were unfair, but you also pointed out some truths that were hard for me to hear.

I'd forgotten about you.

but it's not because i didn't love you or want to spend time with you, i had forgotten about everyone. My friends from high school seemed like they were in a completely different world, because i spent all day everyday helping my sister raise her children. Life outside of their schedule was recreation, and i just genuinely didn't have time for that.

My cousin and i were working in a friend's almond orchard one day that summer, and she told me that in Amador, a girl in the room had made a derogatory comment about me, and that you had defended me. "Don't judge her!" you'd said. "You don't know her".
It wasn't until then that i'd realized that it was completely my fault that we stopped being friends. You have always been loyal to me, always supported me, always been there, trying.

I never wanted to make you feel excluded. I never intended to stop talking to you. I had no idea you were feeling alienated. I assumed that you were fine, that we were fine, and that when we saw each other again we'd jump right back on track just like at the beginning of every school year after not seeing each other all summer.

I was wrong. I was so wrong, that it was painful to realize. I was so wrong, that i couldn't make it right again. I was so wrong, i ruined our relationship.

It was no longer about boys, it was no longer about other friends or groups of supposed people who i was judging.

It was about me and you.

It was about you feeling neglected, and me not noticing. It was about me not valuing our friendship that i claimed to cherish, when you were still fighting for it.
You'd been fighting for so long, that you were tired. So you took a break, and realized that i wasn't even trying.

I'd hung us out to dry, and not returned for us until the sun had bleached all the color out of us. We were empty.

We were over.

I saw you a couple time after that, including the exchange i described at the beginning of this. I'd invited you over to make pizza, but never followed through, and then it was time for me to go back to school again. I'd inadvertently shown you, again, that i didn't actually care abut you as much as i said i did.
You told me you felt like one of those people who i acted nice to but didn't actually like.

I denied that fiercely,
you were right.
I had treated you that way.

I know that we will never have what we once did, but i wish i could let time and space be the only reason we fell apart.
I hate that it was my fault.
I hate that i didn't try harder.

I just want you to know that i never thought of you in any other regard than that of my best. friend. I never doubted your regard for me, and i never talked poorly about you behind your back. There would have been nothing poor to say. You are incredible, and have always been incredible. I never wanted you out of my life. I never intentionally pushed you out, but when your grip loosened, i didn't pull you back and i'm sorry.

If i had the money i would literally be on a plane right now, hoping to tell you all of this in person.
I wish i could see you again.
I wish we could laugh again.
I wish we could be friends again.

I never, even in my worst nightmares, thought i would be living a life without you in it. Even in my nightmares, you were with me.

We're just both so different now, we can never go back to the way it was.

I just wonder if we can start over?

like literally, just start completely clean.
I'm writing you a letter. Your home address is the only one i have for you, and the only means of communication i have for you that i know would get through to you. I don't have your number, I've tried messaging you on facebook, i feel insincere on instagram, so i'm writing all this out and mailing it to you in the post.

Marissa, can we start over?
I don't want you to be just a face in my photo albums. When my husband, and my children flip through photos of us, i want them to smile because they know who you are.

I don't know if it could ever be that way.
I don't know if i've permanently ruined us.
I know i've ruined the old us, the children us, the two girls who grew up hand in hand, but i hope the bridge isn't completely burnt.

You were a part of me that i was proud of, and i don't want to forever loose you.

Can we start over?

My name is Melissa Michiale Horlacher.
I am 21.
I am married.
I live in Utah.
I am working part time and taking 3 online classes, the completion of which will mark my graduation from BYU-Idaho.
My hair is short now. above the shoulders.

If you don't hate me, please write back. Or call me, my number is still the same as it was in 2008. I'll put it in the hand-written letter, but not here on the internet.

I don't know which you'll see first.
either way, Know that i loved us, and a part of my heart still loves a part of yours, but it would love to love the whole thing again.

I don't necessarily deserve a second chance from you, but i'm asking for one.

Yours truly,
Melissa Michiale.


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