I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, if you even care, but I’ll write it anyway. I think I’ve held onto this for too long.
We were seven, right? We met for the first time at the playground near Main Street. You were holding Adele, your most prized possession. Your first impression of me was an upside-down little girl dangled on the monkey bars. You thought I looked funny and you decided you wanted to be my friend.
I wrote about you for the very first time the night after we met. Picture this: A little girl in pigtails, clutching her sparkly pink diary in her hand, writing about the smile she couldn’t stop thinking about, the voice of an angel, her golden hair, the blue of her eyes, every single detail with nothing left out. You’ve held the most significance in my life since the day you walked into it.
When you turned eight, your mom arranged the biggest birthday party for you. You hated it. You wanted a Frozen theme but she gave you a monster costume party instead. You dragged me to your room where we sat and ate jolly ranchers. “I never wanted a birthday party anyway. I wanted it to be the two of us,” you said. No words had ever made me happier. And even though you ignored me for the rest of the day to play with Adele instead, I wasn’t upset. The two of us, I repeated over and over in my head.
October 29th. We were eleven. My birthday just passed and you weren’t there to witness it. You were on vacation with your parents in Cancun. I missed you every day. My mom got me a watch, one of those touch screen ones. It was the first thing I showed you when you came back. You gushed over it for the longest time and begged me to trade it for one of your old friendship bracelets. I shook my head and you rolled your eyes, muttering, “whatever” under your breath.
The next Friday afternoon, we were hanging out in your room. I had Adele clutched in my hand as you looked through boxes and boxes of miniature-sized clothing. I wished I was her, sometimes, the doll you spent hours perfecting.
I remember going to the bathroom. It only took me a few minutes to come back. It all happened so quickly. You were on your knees, clutching Adele, hands shaking. Slowly, you turned, revealing what you held in your palm. One of Adele’s braids was cut off, only a chunk of hair left in its place. You looked at me, your vision clouded with fury. “Did you do this?” No, it wasn’t me, I left her on the bed, I swear I did. My eyes settled on the pair of scissors close to your left hand. You were left-handed. “Get out.” You said shakily. So I did.
I cried that night, did you know that? I cried that night and every night after that because I couldn’t see you. I tried calling you on the phone… no answer. I rang your doorbell time after time… nothing. One month. That’s how long it took. One full month for you to finally come back to me. When I saw you, you had this big smile plastered on your face. You ran up to me and hugged me, telling me that you were sorry. You said you knew I didn’t mean to cut her hair, no, you convinced me. Then you said that you knew just how I could make it up to you. Your lashes fluttered and your gaze fell onto my wrist.
At thirteen, we entered high school together. We made new friends, or rather, you made friends while I watched. The first few months, as cliche as it sounds, flew by within the blink of an eye… time sped up every week. I don’t remember anything, but I do remember your smile. Bright and visible for the world to see. You laughed more than I’ve ever heard. Thirteen. That was the year I admitted to myself I loved you more than I loved myself. More than I should ever love someone.
Fifteen years old. The smile you had, bright and beautiful, faded as if it was never there. Others talked about you behind your back, whispering malicious rumors, things you would never hear if another person hadn’t told you. You cried for so long, and you tried to hold back your tears, but it wasn’t enough. Then came the storms. Your anger, blazing and furious, came in waves.
The first time took me by shock. You were crying and screaming and cursing when I got there. Your mom had called me over to hopefully speak some sense into you but you were incapable of hearing me at that moment. You punched the wall behind you once, twice, three times before you fell to the floor gagging. I brought you a plastic bag and you threw up everything you ate that night. “I hate them. I hope every one of them dies.” You laughed maniacally, eyes red from crying.
The second time was slower. Controlled. It scared me, how you sat there, nothing but emptiness behind your glassy eyes. Tears but no screaming. You barely talked to me. All I could do for you was hold you until the tears stopped and you left for home.
At last, one day you stormed into my room, knuckles white on one hand because of how hard you were gripping a baseball bat as the other grabbed my hand and tugged me outside. “Where are we going?” You shook your head. “I need you to drive me somewhere,” irritation seeped through your voice. I was fifteen.
“Here… there,” you guided me through unfamiliar streets…
I slammed my foot down on the brake. You stepped out, slamming the door behind you, and walked up a driveway, every step emanating with confidence, stopping right in front of a silver car. A smile crept onto your face as you lifted the baseball bat over your head…
“Abby,” I tried saying to you. “Abby wait-”
Then I was on the ground, taken aback by the screeching sound of wood on glass. My hands covered my ears, my eyes sealed tightly shut. Again. And again. And again. Sounds of the forceful bending of metal, sounds of broken glass falling onto cement, and your shrieks of laughter. Car sirens. One… two… three… four-
“Get up,” you said. “We’re leaving.”
When I crawled into bed that night, when you crawled under with me, should I tell you what made me cry? It wasn’t the shattering of glass, it wasn’t the way your eyes gleamed in victory as you stood above what was left of that silver car, it was your smile. Your smile that finally came back, settled onto where it should’ve been in the first place. Yet it was a smile, so crooked and messed up and… manic. The next morning, you were gone before I woke up.
I never saw you again. We finally left after sixteen years. I told my parents that I was being bullied at school and they believed me. It didn’t take much. They’ve always known that the only friend I had was you. October 29th, my birthday. We left.
We packed up in less than two months. All throughout those two months, I made sure to never see you. I think if I did, I would have regretted my decision. I would’ve run to your side and locked arms with you and never let you go. I can’t do that to myself again. You can’t do that to me.
I can try to convince myself that you were just my best friend, but we both know that it’s a lie. Somewhere along the way, you found out, and I think it scared you. Maybe that’s why you took me with you that night. To push me away, to drive me elsewhere. Maybe I never realized what kind of person you really were.
Abby, do you realize now? You’re broken. And the pieces you’ve shattered into are so sharp that you’ve cut everyone around you. You’ve cut me. I tried to fix you, I held you when no one wanted to, but in the end we were both scorched by the same poison. Your poison. I need to leave. I can’t control myself when I’m around you. I know that I would never do anything to hurt you, yet you can’t say the same for me.
I could be writing this to scream at you, to curse at you, to cry about how many times you’ve manipulated me, but I don’t hate you. I’m not mad. I wish I could regret becoming friends with you, attaching myself to you and falling so deep I couldn’t climb my way up. I wish I could say thank you, thank you for giving me amazing memories and supporting me and loving me, but I can’t because it’s always been about you. Abby, have you ever held me once?
Dear Abby, I’m in love with you.
I need to let go.