I am writing a letter a day to different people (0r concepts) in my life. This is the first one.
2003 was the year I discovered instant messaging, and also the latter half of my seventh grade year. I made some new friends, and somehow all the new friends I made also were friends with my old friends and other people, and what later came to be known as The Group was still in its infancy. My best friend at the time, in spite of us drifting apart slowly, was Michelle Barnes. We came into junior high as the remainder of a split up group from elementary school, and once the friend pool became deeper and wider, we found that there were others who shared our interests more than we did for one another. I’m talking from my memory, at least, so if I’m incorrect please stop me.
I made friends in each of my classes (except for math) and first period was my favorite. I sat in the back of the room with people who I had known for a long while and people I had just met and a girl who knew both of these people. This girl was Adrienne. I had known her on sight before we began to fool around in class, and what sticks out in my mind was seeing her at the Chinese food place my family went every Friday night. I eavesdropped on her parents and her talking about what board game they wanted to play later, and recounted past games. I wanted to say hi to her and maybe somehow get myself over to normal people who play board games together, but I didn’t say anything to her, and she left. I came to find out that she was quirky and level-headed, and extremely honest. She wore pants and the same Simpsons sweatshirt every day, and we had a lot of fun laughing and goofing off in English class every morning. No friendship blossomed in that time, but she was definitely someone I remembered.
That summer, I got a Yahoo messenger name to join in the fun I heard my friend Suzi and her older brother talking about in our long phone calls every few days, and soon I had a good number of people to talk to on that messenger. Most of my contacts came from group chats, and being told by Suzi or Patrick who was who in each session, I was able to broaden my circle of friends a little more. One day I was very upset that Suzi and Patrick had to leave and wouldn’t be online, and the only person on was the girl I sort of remembered from English class, Adrienne. I was apprehensive about messaging her, but I did so anyway. By the middle of summer we were itching to hang out in person. Her mother welcomed the idea of a new friend coming over, but my mother did not. Her logic was that Adrienne was someone she didn’t know, her parents were people she didn’t know, and therefore dangerous for me to be around. My argument against hers was simple: How better to get to know strangers than by meeting them? I recall Adrienne typing out something like “omg, I’m crying about this. This is so frustrating!” Adrienne’s first experience with the sometimes moronic, always immovable, brick wall known as my mother. Many more such experiences would follow.
Finally, my mother relented, and I went to Adrienne’s house for the afternoon. We played on her computer, and she introduced me to The Sims and some of the awesome expansion packs she had. Her mother took Adrienne and I to KFC to get food, and I recall the strangeness of her asking, “So are you Jewish?” My mother picked me up that afternoon and was extremely pregnant, and she talked with Sue and Phil for a very long time to where I was impatient about going home. That was the beginning of having the best friend I’ve ever known, being that cliche of just walking into someone’s house without knocking or just raiding the fridge or cupboard because you are allowed to.
Adrienne, what you need to know is that there is a strong chance that I would be dead or would have spent time in a mental institution without you in my life. I am incredibly thankful that you put up with my crazy emotional shit for almost a decade now, and that even when we fight I know it’s just a matter of time until we’re done being mad and can go back to talking about everything. You said it best the other day when you said that you like how we can go from not talking for weeks to talking as if we had just spoken the day before. I am so happy that I can tell you what is bothering me with 100% honesty and without worrying that you’ll think different of me. You’ve known for a long, long time that you’re going to be my maid of honor at my wedding, but I think you deserve a lot more than that for supporting me and helping me though the toughest years in my life.
I need to acknowledge a few other people here as well. Ali, you helped me get through South Hills hell and turned me on to amazing music. You’re awesomely supportive and I’m so glad that you and Adrienne became best friends as well. Your sense of style is unparalleled, and I really wish we were closer in clothing sizes so I could steal your shit. Adam Loesch, you have been someone I could turn to no matter what over the last four years. Adam LJ, you have been truly a big brother to me and a person who is beyond giving to someone so undeserving as myself. You got me on the fast track to recovery from one of the worst experiences of my life, and you’ve always been supportive of me in regard to my actions even if you disagree. Tracy, I know we haven’t talked in ages, but you got me through my senior year, and you’ve been so giving and understanding with me, it’s a wonder I haven’t died from guilt of not being able to pay you back adequately. Deanna and Megan, you guys have become the people who brighten every single bleak shift at Carino’s, and I think one of my favorite memories ever will remain last night’s talk and bathroom dance class. When you leave Carino’s, when I leave, or if the place shuts down, I want to make sure you girls are in my life. Lastly, there’s Michael, but he sort of transcends “best friend” and goes into “love of my life and someone I’d be cool with spending the rest of my days with.” But he knows that.
If I didn’t mention you here and we are close, please don’t feel insulted. I want you in my life for a reason, and if we talk more than once a month, it’s because I think you’re too important to let go of.