So you made it to part 2. Congratulations. I know that getting through part 1 wasn’t easy. Neither will the next fifteen. But you won’t regret it, trust me.
We all remember our first best friend. The one we’ve known since before we could even remember. The one who we always played with, slept over at each other’s house, and called when we wanted to talk about something that happened. You grew up together and watched each other change a child who threw tantrums and thought the opposite sex had cooties to talking about crushes and gossiping. Some of us are lucky enough to still have this friend and still get along with each other fine.
Some of us, however, aren’t so fortunate.
You may have this best friend burned in the back of your mind right now, but you may not have spoken to them in years. At one point they knew all your deep dark secrets. You knew theirs too. You know who they had a crush on, the time they did something they weren’t supposed to, and the time they lost their virginity. Despite having this information, you wouldn’t be able to tell me how they are now. Maybe there was a fallout, maybe the other person forgot about you or you with them, or maybe you guys just don’t talk anymore. Regardless, you both grew apart and now whenever you are in a crisis or need a helping hand, they aren’t they aren’t the first one you call anymore.
This one is about a girl I will call Ashley. When I think of my first best friend, I think of Ashley. Ashley felt more like a sister to me. My little sister wasn’t born until I was nine so until then Ashley was like the little sister I never had. My earliest memories were with Ashley. When we were kids, we would always talk to each other and play games. Whenever I went to visit my grandma, Ashley was always there. Spending time with Ashley was a reward for me. I had no friends since I was a loner and bullied all the time. Ashley was the only person I felt comfortable talking to and liked playing with. Ashley introduced me to so many games and movies. Ashley was the only person to really tolerate my awkwardness and obsessions I had. Whenever my family went somewhere, I would ask for Ashley to tag along too. We would pay extra just to have Ashley come along with us. Ashley slept over at my house very often. Once we started getting older these sleepovers turned into having heart- to hearts at one in the morning. We would share fears, insecurities, and things that bother us. Sometimes it got emotional and Ashley and I would start crying for each other. When I was thirteen, I started sleeping over at her house. We would spend a week together in her house. We would play games and have our heart-to-hearts. We would watch “adult” movies like Superbad or Bad Teacher. Ashley was probably the closest friend I have ever had in my life. Ashley and I had a bond I didn’t share with anyone else. We were inseparable.
Or so I thought.
Ashley herself went through a lot. Even as a child I knew she went through more than I even want to speak of. That’s what I loved about Ashley; we seemed to have a lot in common. We both had a lot of troubles to face.
Still, I would sometimes take the heat for her own troubles, and this is where my fallout with Ashley started.
A fact about me that will become essential, especially in this story, I am really bad at confrontation. This must be surprising considering that I am putting out my stories of what people have done to me and how I feel about them in full detail, but it’s true. I am terrified of facing people and telling them off because I am scared of what they will think. It’s a bad thing because it leads to people feeling comfortable with walking all over me and not caring about my feelings.
This was the case with Ashley.
I remember Ashley sleeping over at my house one time when we were kids. Ashley and I were doing something that I can’t quite remember. All I know is that at some point Ashley lost her temper and smacked me. Now this took me by surprise as Ashley never gotten violent with me before. As I filled with tears Ashley quickly apologized and pleaded for me to keep quiet about what she had done. Out of love for Ashley, I kept my mouth shut. Ashley never put her hands on me again, but it was this temper and this dominance she had over me that led to our fallout.
Ashley would always insert rude little comments that hurt me but I ignored it as much as possible because of that ugly fear of confrontation. I enjoyed spending time with her, but it would at times become unpleasant because of her mean-spirited comments toward me. When we played games she would mock me for being bad at it or place the blame on me when we lost. Ashley would tell me to shut up in a loud voice or mock my taste in shows.
What really was a red flag though was Ashley’s rudeness toward my mom and little sister. Now Ashley was from my father’s side of the family. She seemed to really love and idolize my dad and it was understandable. My mom would also welcome Ashley into our home and take us out. Ashley and I developed a tradition of seeing every Twilight movie together in theatres when it came out. It started because my mom took us to see the first one back in 2008. Despite my mom’s caring and welcoming attitude toward Ashley, she still openly despised her. She would make comments about her and accuse her of things she never did. When I asked her why, she never gave me a valid reason. Mind you, my mom had not did anything to harm or disrespect her, so why she disliked her I’ll never understand.
Ashley openly disliked my little sister as well. At this time, my sister was about five or six years old, so basically Ashley disliked a child. My sister loved Ashley and would hug her and attempt to play with her as well. I noticed Ashley would avoid her a lot so I was confused. Then one day, Ashley and I were playing a card game. Ashley had slept over for a few days and was about to leave so we decided to play cards before she left. My little sister, we’ll call her Alexis, wanted to be included too as little kids do. We politely told her that this was only a two-player game. Alexis threw a tantrum until my mom got her out of there. So while this just annoyed me, it seemed to infuriate Ashley. I couldn’t understand why, I mean Alexis was still a kid and Ashley has nephews Alexis’s age. Ashley claimed that Alexis wasn’t well-behaved, yet she was no different from Ashley’s nephews at all. Despite her clear lack of respect for my mother and sister really bothering me, I kept my mouth shut.
Everything blew up months after this visit.
In early 2012, I went to go spend the week at Ashley’s. I began to sleep over at her house more often now. For a long while I couldn’t help but notice a change between Ashley and I. In addition to her rude comments, she didn’t seem so stellar about spending time together. I went to see her for her fifteenth birthday the year before and she played on the computer while I just sat on the bed remaining ignored. When I texted her excited that I finally had a cell phone that could text and we could talk more, she just responded with, “Oh cool.” A huge awkwardness developed between us but neither of us addressed it. I was still sixteen and naïve to the concept of best friends growing apart so I thought that maybe it was just because she was going through something she hadn’t told me about yet. We were due to have a heart-to-heart during one of our sleepover nights, so maybe there we would address the elephant in the room.
For days, of course, the issue wasn’t addressed. With me being bad at confrontation and expressing how I feel, I never asked her why there was such hostility between us. It’s like I was invisible. Gone were the days of games and movies. We watched movies but we didn’t share our little commentary on how we felt about subject matters in the movies or claim hot guys we saw as we always did. When I or her brother would suggest games, she would rather be on the computer or her phone than talk to me when I was right there. I spent my days there bored for the first time ever and was far too polite to admit it. This is where I was at fault. I let my fear of confrontation take over and instead messaged my mom asking her to help me come up with an excuse so I can come home. I also told my best friend at the time, we’ll call her Robyn, saying that Ashley was ignoring me and that I was depressingly bored. Keep in mind, Ashley and I hadn’t spoken about the awkwardness so as far as she knew, there was nothing wrong.
I trusted Ashley with everything, so I let her have the password to my iPod Touch. On my iPod Touch I had Facebook Messenger where I was talking to Robyn about Ashley. My phone where I was texting my mom had no passcode. These facts are going to become very important soon.
One night Ashley and I watched a movie. After the movie, Ashley and I had our heart-to-heart conversation, the last one we ever had. Afterwards, I fell asleep in Ashley’s living room and thought everything was okay now. For once we had a normal night and I didn’t have to face my fear of confrontation.
Or so I thought. I have a faint memory of Ashley waking me up at some point in the night to tell me that I could stay in the living room for the night. Usually, we’d sleep in her bed. Thinking back to it now, her tone of voice was off and hinted that something was wrong. In my half asleep state, I just nodded and went back to sleep.
The next morning, I woke up with a letter next to me. The letter was written on loose-leaf paper and written on it said, “I am sorry.” The letter is still on my bookshelf in my room and for a long while after this I would read the letter over and over and each time would be as equally painful as the first time. I won’t read the exact letter, but basically Ashley wrote that she had read my messages to my mom and Robyn when I was sleeping. She apologized for boring me by “being herself.” Ashley said she just wanted to spend time with me because she loved me and thought I wouldn’t mind whatever we did. She suggested I learn to speak for myself instead of depending on my mother and if I don’t like being around her so much, I should just leave.
After reading this letter, I felt a mix of emotions. I was furious that she invaded my privacy, pained at some of her cruel words, and guilty because I had not approached her about what was wrong. Now that I think back to it, I realize it wasn’t all my fault. Yes, I should have approached Ashley, but she should have approached me too instead of reading my messages while I was sleeping. That was just some sneaky shit that proved to me that I couldn’t trust her either.
What was even more hypocritical was that afterward she took to Tumblr and made passive-aggressive blog posts cursing me out and insulting my mom and little sister. What was really sneaky of her was that I never had Tumblr before so she could assume that I would never see it. I only saw it because one of our friends who followed her on Tumblr told me about it and sent me a link to the posts. It was then I decided to forget her and move on with my life.
She was rather cold anyway. When I left she did not even look me in the eyes or speak to me. The first and only sentence that slipped out of my mouth was a nervous, “I’m sorry for what I said.” Ashley shrugged at me and no more words were shared. The most we exchanged after that was an awkward forced hug. I have not seen Ashley in person since then.
For a long while, I despised Ashley. I hated that she invaded my privacy and I hated that she made that post about my mom and my sister on Tumblr. She would also post obvious subliminal statuses on Facebook about how our grandma favored her over any of her other grandchildren. I never posted anything rude about Ashley and her mom or siblings. Even after this, I still didn’t. The fact that she stooped that low instead of just keeping the tension between us made me despise her even more.
I question why she is the one to hold the grudge. I honestly accept my part of the blame. I honestly understand why I should have spoken to her about how I felt and I accept it. If I could go back to four years ago, stop myself from sending those texts, and confront her about it instead, I would, but I can’t. If she is going to hold a grudge she should at least stop acting like she wasn’t in the wrong for reading my messages without permission and for crossing lines she never should have crossed by talking about family.
That next summer when my dad was in the hospital, her brother spoke to my mom on the phone and pushed Ashley to talk to me. The conversation had an awkward pause and I whispered something to my mom since she was right there. After this conversation, Ashley took to Tumblr to write that we had an argument because I depend on my mom to fight my battles for me and yet when we finally speak for the first time in months I get off the phone for five minutes asking what to say. So basically, she once again contradicted herself and did the exact thing that caused our fallout on both of our ends; lack of confrontation.
Since then, Ashley and I have hardly spoke. There has been Facebook conversation from time to time but they were short and felt awkward. We still write to each other on our birthdays every year but it has gone from sweet little messages to short, forced ones. The grudge is still there clearly on her part because her birthday message for me included that I was the person she “used” to want to be like. Why she felt it was necessary to put that, I don’t know. All I know is that it’s pretty clear Ashley and I will never be close again.
For a long while, I blamed myself. Even though deep down I knew it wasn’t entirely my fault, I felt like I did something to deserve Ashley not wanting to forgive me like I did her. Ashley was the first person that I lost that I was close with.
Over time, I came to accept that some friendships weren’t meant to last a lifetime no matter how close you are. Even if Ashley and I were as close as sisters at some point, and I’m glad we were, we still grew apart.
I still miss Ashley sometimes. It’s gotten a lot easier now, but there have been times where, despite everything, I just wish we can relive the innocent days where we believed friendship could last forever. The days of our games, heart-to-hearts, and caring about each other. I used to wonder if she ever missed it too or if she had moved on for good. Ashley seems happy, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy for her. I just sometimes question if she’s happier without me in her life.
What hurts the most about Ashley was that she was family. If you can’t trust family, then who can you trust?
Part 2-Ashley Update
So when I wrote Part 2-Ashley, it was the beginning of February and an unexpected event occurred shortly after that that changed everything. I said I had not seen her in years, well that’s changed now. There is a bit more to the story now.
It was February 13th, 2016. I just got back from a party with friends and it was close to midnight. I threw off my coat and hopped into bed. No one was going to bother me. It had already been a long night.
The day before, I found out my grandma was ill. I was close with my grandma growing up, so imagine how I felt watching her lay on a bed in her nursing home, oxygen tank connected to her nose and words unable to leave her mouth. I was full of pain for her and regretted not visiting her enough the past year. Not even on her eighty-eighth birthday because I was too busy working. I prayed and prayed for a recovery. My grandma was always a fighter. She could pull through this and I could spend more time with her.
Unfortunately, this was wishful thinking. Minutes before Valentine’s Day, my grandma passed away.
My grandmother was a loving, family-oriented woman. She always brought the family together on holidays like Easter and Christmas. She attempted to keep everyone together and cool tensions. She was loved by all of her children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren.
That meant everyone would be there.
When I entered the room with my parents and sister, the first thing we saw was my grandma’s body surrounded by family.
Naturally, Ashley was there. The same girl I was friends with for nearly fourteen or so years and I were finally brought together again by the death of the woman who was the reason why we were brought together in the first place. We hugged, shed tears, and joked about this being a shitty way to reunite for the first time in years.
That’s how it was for the next week with Ashley and I. For our grandmother’s sake, we put aside our tensions and past issues. We comforted each other at the wake and funeral. We talked as much as we possibly could for those two days. Without Ashley we would not have made it to the burial because she gave us directions to the cemetery and walked us through getting there when we got lost. Ashley heard about my panic attack when we got lost and understood it. When we went to a restaurant after we talked and laughed like the old times. There was a promise of returning to our old sleepover traditions. Though I would love to have our old friendship back, I wondered if it’s possible to go back to the way things were after our fallout.
Part of me wants it. The same level of trust has not been achieved but she’s nice and caring once again and she has more respect toward my mom. We also both understand depression and anxiety.
But is that enough to put the past behind us? Or was this all just connecting with each other based on mutual grief for a woman we equally loved so dearly?