Sometimes we don’t handle things the way we should. Sometimes the hurt’s so bad, the betrayal so awful, we slide back into old habits. And by “old habits,” I mean “acting like a goddamn teenager.” Because betrayal hurts like nothing else, especially when it comes from someone important in your life, someone you depended on for emotional support. A spouse, maybe. A parent. A best friend.
I lost my best friend.
Our oldest sons were born within four months of each other. I nursed her son; she nursed mine. I stood as godmother to her oldest; she stood as godmother to my middle child. When my oldest son had an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting, she drove her newborn to the hospital to retrieve our other kid and watched him. When she became deathly ill with both severe hyperemesis (uncontrollable vomiting) and diabetes during her second pregnancy, and her husband left town, I drove to her house to inject her with the shots she needed. I cleaned her bathroom on multiple occasions. She took my children when I had a mental breakdown. When she and her husband moved to another state, I was devastated.
Then she betrayed me.
I had no idea it was coming. None.
I opened Facebook one day to see a post about her making it through her first trimester. About how her hyperemesis was progressing this time around. About how excited they were to have a third baby. I felt completely, totally, and utterly betrayed. I found out about my supposed best friend’s pregnancy from Facebook. The worst part: she had clearly told mutual friends, who must have been instructed not to tell my husband and me. We had seen them recently and they hadn’t discussed the topic with us.
Post after post came from friends — friends I thought were less close than we were. Friends who had clearly known. Friends who lived in my town. Talk about feeling betrayed. I didn’t know what to do. She had always said she couldn’t, wouldn’t have more children because of how sick she got, and that shared inability to expand our families had always bonded us (not to mention that I also suffer from hyperemesis and diabetes while pregnant, though not as severely as she does, and that plays no small role in our inability to have more kids).
Double gut punch.
My best friend had chosen not to share one of the biggest events in her life with me. I felt enraged. I felt disappointed. I felt sad and hurt and lonely and a whole bundle of emotions all at once. But mostly, I felt betrayed.
And she was active on Facebook.
I did the not-smart thing. The immature thing.
Instead of walking away from the computer, instead of having a cup of tea, or calling my husband, or taking deep breaths, I made the super-mature decision to tell her how betrayed I felt. And rather than ask her why she hadn’t told me, why she’d cut me out of the loop, or what had happened, I took the middle school route and typed, “I’m only going to say it once and I prefer not to discuss it at all. I am deeply hurt I found out about your pregnancy on Facebook … And like I said, I don’t really want to talk about it.”
She replied that she didn’t think I wanted to talk to her “after August.” Then refused to explain what happened “in August.” I’d seen her since August. She had come up to town to visit, kids and foster kids in tow. I felt even more betrayed. She didn’t think our relationship was worth addressing important concerns. How do you answer something like that?
Even more hurt, even more angry, and feeling even more betrayed — our friendship didn’t matter enough to discuss basic disagreements — I dove deeper into my sixth grade self. “I don’t know what gave you that impression,” I typed. “But I am incredibly stunned and deeply hurt and NOW I don’t really want to talk to you anymore.”
She didn’t answer, neither did I, and I snoozed her ass on social media. I’ve been snoozing her every thirty days since. This happened three and a half months ago.
Every thirty days, she pops up on my feed talking about her pregnancy. I’m angry: why did she ditch me? Distance? Because I suck at sending cards? Because we couldn’t make it to our godson’s First Communion? Then I remember she’s pregnant, my friend who used to be my buddy in “we can’t have any more babies,” and I feel even more betrayed. I’m happy they can expand their family. But finding out about her pregnancy over Facebook, when we spent so many hours lamenting that we wanted more children, just seemed cruel.
To her credit, she tried recently. She sent me videos via Facebook for Mother’s Day, of both her daughter and son —I am her son’s godmother, after all, and I love him dearly. He was my son’s best friend.
I should have watched them. I should have sent a nice message back. I should have been the bigger person.
I was still too angry. I was still too hurt, too betrayed, too sad and too mad. I haven’t looked at them. When I opened Messenger to make sure I got the wording right for this essay, I briefly saw her daughter, whom I love so much, dancing on video. I nearly cried. I’m nearly crying now.
I don’t have a best friend anymore. The girl who I’d probably name as my best girlfriend lives 600 miles away. It hurts. It’s lonely. I’m lonely. No one to go to for a walk with on those days you want to get out of the house. No one take a trip to the mall. No one to give you a hug, or help clean your house when your mom’s coming over.
I wish I could say what I wanted out of this relationship, in the end. I wish I could offer a tidy resolution: I want to be friends again, to go back to before. Part of me, of course, longs for it. Another part of me says, fuck it, if she’s shown she’s capable of something this big, she could do something just like it two, three years from now. I may set myself up for heartbreak.
I know this: I miss our long, lazy afternoons scarfing Jamaican food at her dining room table while the kids ran wild. I miss knowing I could pick up the phone and know she’d be there for me. I miss the easy days, the way she hated the microwave, her aversion to mess and the days she forced me to get out of bed when no one else could. I miss calling to ask if she wanted Starbucks on the way over to her house. It hurts, this missing. It hollows me out.
I want it back.
But I don’t know if I can risk the price.