Angie and I were born exactly four months apart and went five whole years before meeting in nursery school. She was my only friend to attend my 10th, 21st, 30th and 40th birthday parties. When her No. 40 approached, I knew I had to raise my game for her. I already felt guilty because I couldn’t attend her bash due to a family function. The pressure was on.
I decided that what I lacked in presence, I could make up for in presents. I channeled my inner-Martha Stewart and crafted a photo book that encompassed our 35 years of friendship. This was no easy undertaking. I had to literally dig deep in my parents’ basement and scavenge for artifacts. I found treasures: Our talent show at summer camp; the Madonna concert; spring break in the Bahamas. I combined them with some of our recent adventures — that girls weekend in Florida; her bachelorette party; Madonna again. I took everything to a store in New York to special-order the book. Then I wrote captions on each photo in my best penmanship. Last step: Fed Ex to make sure she got the package on the right day. I couldn’t have been more proud of this memento that served as a tangible representation of our decades of friendship.
In my mind, I envisioned Angie feverishly ripping open the box, then calling me and freaking out in joy. We’d belly-laugh over the 11-year-old versions of ourselves, two girls that thought we were cool because we wore neon skirts and bangle bracelets. She’d marvel at how we’ve grown into two happy, successful women. But that’s not what happened. That’s not even close to what happened. Instead, all I got was a pithy, stinging text: “OMG, I look fat in so many photos!”
That was it. No shrieking, no touching phone call, no thank you. Ever. I was stunned and hurt. She looked at all those memories, and her only takeaway was that she had a chubby phase in the early ‘90s. I took it very personally. The hurt soon gave way to rage. How could Angie be so cruel, I seethed to anyone who would listen. What a beeyotch.
The only person not on the receiving end of my ranting was Angie herself. I couldn’t bring myself to broach the delicate subject with her. First I worried how she’d react. Then I got concerned my anger would spiral out of control. I didn’t want to risk an ugly, damaging fight just because she failed to recognize my efforts. The cost was not worth the pain. I knew letting the upset feelings fester inside me wouldn’t help either.
Ultimately I concluded that the only thing to do was to let it go and forgive her. In the two years and gazillion text exchanges since, I’ve never regretted the decision to move on. No, she didn’t register high on the grateful scale. But Angie’s pros far outweigh the cons. Hey, nobody else visits me when I’m sick and compiles a playlist of all my favorite feel-good songs. That’s the sign of a true bestie. Birthdays come and go; strong friendships last a lifetime.
Everyone needs a girlfriend!
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