Saturday, January 21


In an ealier post I mentioned a friend that I had, who hurt my feelings pretty badly. I think it's finally time that I write about the whole event from start to finish. My junior high school was arranged in such a way that you had a 'team' who went to all the same classes and teachers as you did. This team was determined, more or less by which math class you were in. In sixth grade I had been placed in the 'regular' math class, after about a week, my teacher realized that I should have been put in the advanced math class, and had me moved. This meant that I was put into a new group of people who had already been somewhat established. I had all the 'perks' of being a 'new kid'(no friends to hang out with) with none of the benefits of actually being a new kid (being from another state or something).

One day my science teacher put us into groups so we could start a science project. Because the person who sat next to me was absent that day, I got paired up with Nancy(name obviously changed), whose neighbor was also absent. We got along alright, and by the time we had finished the project we were good friends.

Over time, even though I made a few other friends in my classes (especially orchestra) Nancy became my best friend. I always hung out with her, and really enjoyed her company. She had friends other than me, but I always assumed I was her best friend. I never really noticed them that much.

More time passed and not much changed to me. She became a lot more interested in clothes, and boys, and pop culture. I wasn't uninterested in these things per se, but my interest didn't increase the way her's did. I assumed that she found most of those sorts of things as silly as I found them.

Finally it happened. She got a boyfriend. He went to a different school, but she met him through some of her extracurricular activities. She talked about him a lot. She told me how great he was, and cute, and how she liked him so much. We were about 14 when this happened. We had grown out of "coming over to play," and spent our time being friends at school, and writing emails to eachother. The summer before we started high school her boyfriend moved away. To England. She often talked about how sad she was, and how tough it would be to maintain their relationship.

One night she called me. She was crying. She told me her boyfriend had died. I somehow knew that this was exactly what she was going to tell me. I don't know how I knew, but it felt obvious. The obviousness of it made it feel wrong somehow. She said he died in a surfing accident. She told me not to tell my parents, because she couldn't bear to hear them telling her how it would all be alright. This made no sense to me, since my parents never really ever talked to her anyways. I told my parents, and also told them that she had asked me not to. I bought her flowers and a card.

Later she told me that her boyfriend had appeared to her in a dream, and told her not to worry about him. I brushed it off as her dreaming about him. Then she told me he rearranged her room. Then she told me he wrote me a note. Thats right. She handed me a long note written by her dead boyfriend. After reading the note I was really creeped out.

I finally realized that this boyfriend was largely fictional. I had never met him, but she had always had such convincing excuses for why he coud never meet me. I had never seen a picture of him. She said he hated cameras, and had religious objections to being photographed. His handwriting looked suspiciously like hers, though obviously different. I looked up his name in phonebooks, and places where she said he was mentioned. I thought he died surfing in England because trying to that would be dangerous. I was naive and trusting. I thought I had failed my friend by missing her cries for attention. To me she needed help, and was crying out for it in an unconventional way. I decided to talk to her other friends, and see what they might have noticed that I didn't.

Her other friends, one in particular was eager to talk to me about it through email. She too, was worried about Nancy. She too had seen many warning signs, like not sleeping, not eating well. Her friend said that she thought Nancy wasn't taking her boyfriends death well. She focused on it, until I finally confided in her that I didn't think the boyfriend was ever real. The next day at school just before lunch I was alone in the hallway at my locker. My friend came walking towards me, She didn't say anything, but threw a folded piece of paper at me, and walked off. I was flabbergasted. When I opened the paper and read what was on it I was heartbroken. Her other friend had told her that I thought her boyfriend never existed. In the note she cussed at me, and threatened to kill me if I ever spoke to her again.

Through later conversations with people who knew her, I found out that I was right about her boyfriend, and very little else. Her boyfriend didn't exist, or at least never in the way she claimed. Someone who had been in her other circle of friends came to me one day to apologize for the part she had played in what Nancy did. She told me that I hadn't been Nancy's best friend for years, and maybe never was. I learned that she regularly told me lies just to see what she could get me to believe. I learned that she and her other friends thought up plans of how to trick me, and laughed together when they pulled it off. I learned that Nancy was probably sitting there with her other 'concerned' friend as I wrote emails to her about how worried I was about Nancy.

My other friends had moved on without me while I was being friends with Nancy. I was left with no-one to talk to, or sit with or anything. I can look back and see myself and the sterotypical nerdy looser girl. Glasses, chubby, doesn't wear makeup, wears lame clothes, sits by herself, gets really good grades, and barely whispers when she talks.

As I mentioned before, I haven't really made new friends since then. It bothers me that if I remember too much I still cry about it. It bothers me that my husband and others play down how important that event was in my life, and how deeply it affected me.

I trusted her, and loved her. She lied to me, and made a fool out of me with a whole group of her 'real' friends. As I look back on it, I was probably the person who cared the most about her, and I believe she did herself a disservice in treating me that way. I'm curious what she thinks about when she remembers me. I wonder if she's grown up enough to feel bad about it. I wonder if she is callous enough to think that it didn't really matter.

I really wonder what she would think if she read this.


Anonymous said...

Wow. This is powerful, and creepy. How someone could do that to you makes me wonder about her humanity.

You on the other hand are pretty fascinating. I've enjoyed reading some of your comments on FMH and suspect you and I would be friends in real life.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Rich, that's very nice of you to say!

About her humanity, I think I eventually decided that she had some serious needs that weren't being met by her family. I don't know if she had clinical depression, or some other mental illness. I do know that she certainly had a need for attention and being a good kid probably wasn't getting her the attention she wanted.

Thanks again for stopping by. 

Posted by Starfoxy

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I had a fiance' that I later found out did the same thing, made up stories just to see if I beieved them and then laughed about me with his friends.What a schmuck I was. He put me in that "I hate men" mode that my Dh found me in and somehow overcame. So many, many years later, I wonder many of the same things you do, but I mostly hope that he has found the peace to be honest with others and himself.

Tracy M said...

Starfoxy. I'm so sorry. I can totally relate, unfortunately. Not exactly the same thing, but pretty close, and the wounds are not superficial, and still effect me strongly, almost 20 years later. People who didn't (mercifully) experience something like this just don't get how much it shapes our self-image and view of the world. Again, I'm very sorry.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I had a similar experience. I became very close with "Jilly" my freshman year of college. She dropped out after the first semester but we stayed in touch. One day that following June she drove into town (she lived about an hour and a half away) to visit me at work and announce her brother had committed suicide that morning. Word spread amongst our mutual friends and we were all devastated. We should have became suspicious when she said her family was continuing with their vacation plans that week "because they had already paid for everything" and that she wouldn't tell us anything about the services. Over the next few months, she told us that her dad had died, her boyfriend had been killed a motorcycle accident, and eventually she said she herself was dying although she didn't know the name of the disease that was killing her. I was suspicious, but I was 18 years old and trusting. Sure, nothing added up, but what was most illogical in the whole situation was that my best friend would lie to me about matters of life and death. Eventually, though, she exposed herself when she wrote a blog about her brother getting ready for prom. I confronted her on it after that and she said, "well, that explains why no one will talk to me" (since we had all compared notes and shared our suspicions before). Her explanation for her lies was that she didn't remember telling me about them in the first place which is why she didn't take more care to cover her tracks.
Needless to say, I was devastated. I truly believe that it is by the grace of God that I have been able to make and keep close friends since then. Jilly did something deeper to me than break my heart, and it's disgusting that so many other people are going through similar experiences.

cchrissyy said...

My socially devestating abandonment was at age 16, and sometimes hits me powerfully to this day.
In the short term, it inspuired awful choices in an attempt to find validation. and now, so much later, it resurfaces as not being quite good enough, not really lovable, not even worth a kind break-up. But only occassionally! Usually I know it was all their weakness, not mine.

Post a Comment