Please, bare with me.
I remember the first time I saw her. It was in Chorus and she was sitting beside my other good friend. She was wearing a purple flowered dress and glasses. The dress brought ridicule from some popular peers beside me because it was not, admittedly, anywhere near the style that was universally popular that school year of 1999-2000. Of course, that didn't phase me because from the start, I could sense that here was a gentle, caring soul, a comrade of sorts and also; to be blunt, I myself was not a fashion plate or a particularly superficial being so, one's attire has never determined whether or not I choose to befriend an individual.
I was not threatened by this gawky girl, she didn't give me that 'holier than thou' side eye that since first grade, I had become so accustomed to. And so, I did something which was completely out of character for the shy, embarrassed human that I was, I said hello and smiled at her. Without any reservations, that's what I did and, do you know what happened? She, too, said hello and SHE SMILED AT ME IN RETURN.
That's all it took, I was off. I was bound to make this unknown creature my friend but, I needed to know her name first so, I asked this mutual friend beside her, Jennifer, who she was. "Her name is K." Jen said.
"Hi, K. I'm Krista." "Hi, Krista." and from there, conversation flowed unabashedly.
We now had someone to sit with at lunch and we'd get our trays and head to our own little corner to sit across from one another and talk and giggle about boys or how Ms. R sat on the edge of her desk that morning with textbook in hand, only to have the whole kit-n-kaboodle collapse beneath her weight, leaving all of her pupils, whether or not they had actually witnessed this most comical occurrence, to laugh and joke with one another for the remainder of the school day. We exchanged numbers and with that information gathered, we were now left to talk to one another constantly, annoying our mothers with tied up phone lines.
We stayed at one an other's homes, with me staying on so long at hers one summer that my mother actually asked me to return to my own house because she missed me! Our parents shuttled us to and from amusement parks, movies, and one infamous fire hall dance where, lacking parental supervision at the tender ages of 13 and 15, we dirty danced for a cigarette a piece, and smoked those suckers with pride despite the fact that I had no clue one was supposed to inhale after taking a drag so, I just nonchalantly sucked in and blew out absolutely nothing which means I didn't look 'cool' for long. It didn't matter though because, we were together so, everyone else's opinions were disregarded and cancelled out.
I was with her throughout her many failed first attempts at romantic relationships, with myself lagging behind in that department for many years. I stood beside her when that evil excuse for a human molested her using the guise of a father figure to lure that young, naive mind into consenting to lewd acts. I was her saving grace throughout a trial that lasted two in a half years that was brought to a close in the best way imaginable due almost solely to my testimony as to what exactly it was that I myself had witnessed. We were both terrified but, we made it because we had each other and again, no one else mattered.
Somewhere in the midst of our shared journeys through the typical adolescent rebellion stage, a new, surprising, completely unexpected emotion was taking root inside of me. I was falling in love with my best friend. I was in love with my best friend who was, God forbid, of the female persuasion also and, having been raised in a conservative "Christian"* household, in the beginning I tried to deny it because hey, nobody wants to go to hell, you know? However, after some introspection and exposure to diversity and acceptance through various Internet sites, etc., I accepted and embraced this new development. I just had to gather up the courage to tell K my feelings.
One evening, at a restaurant, I spilled the beans. It was rather easy because the two of us were incredibly open with each other anyway, (after that trial, it was ridiculous to be prudes when it came to what we could and could not speak openly about.), so there was no tension even though of course, I was nervous I wouldn't deny that. It turned out that, she, too, had feelings for me and so, a whirlwind intimate relationship began.
That evening, we explored one another with ardor and tenderness. I was smitten and I thought she was in return. In actuality, our sexual relations lasted less than two months because, as it turned out, as much as she loved me as a best friend and sister, she had really only been curious and a lot of best friends tend to 'play around' sexually at an age when hormones are flowing through their puberty ridden bodies like water from a stream and, in this sense, K was no exception.
My love and devotion lasted for years after our short lived affair and I often told her that I loved her however, I only alluded to the actual capacity of that love but, she knew how I felt and she would automatically return that statement but it went without saying that her love for me did not run quite so deep as mine.
In 2004, she met J and, that was the beginning of the unraveling of our sisterhood, I suppose. I then moved back to Georgia as I had before during the course of our friendship but, up until J entered the picture, this had never put a damper on our deep seated relationship. Within three months of meeting him and his deranged (that's the most polite way to put it), family, he had gotten her pregnant. Two or three weeks after that revelation he proposed and a month or two later, they were married.
K's first child was born prematurely at 29 weeks. I had returned from Georgia and had traveled with her mother and mother-in-law to Pittsburgh to be with her for the birth. We arrived an hour late and the baby was already in the NICU. A, her baby, survived and due to K and J's prominent involvement with Child Youth Services, was later adopted by her aunt.
Now, throughout k's long tenure in Pittsburgh, which is two hours away, our relationship was tested because J was very jealous of me due to the fact that K felt that because he was her husband, she needed to tell him EVERYTHING about her past but, of course, this did not go both ways. I will readily admit right here that yes, at that time, I was still in love with K however, I knew my place and I was in no way attempting to sabotage their marriage because I really wanted K to be happy and I was happy just to be the best friend in that scenario.
K became pregnant again not long after returning from Pittsburgh. I often took it upon myself to open my mouth and tell her that certain things were not a good idea because previously, that is how we had been with one another and, this often started bitter arguments with J and I.
I hated J, (I still do), he is truly a deadbeat in every sense of the word and I am not exaggerating. I'll leave it at that but, keep that in mind.
Within the next two years, K had another girl and not long after that, a little boy. The second child was taken by CYS and put into foster care after I myself had fought to have her at the age of 18 and, I almost was granted guardianship but due to circumstances beyond my control, at the last minute I was denied.
J began acting extra friendly with me after they had moved out of her mother's house. One evening, when he was taking me home after a day spent with K, he pressured me into a sexual situation before he would drop me off. After that occurred, I distanced myself from K, only speaking to her on the phone for months.
When K became pregnant with her fifth child, (she had a miscarriage a few months before), things were going well between them and I was comfortable visiting her every so often with my mother picking me up afterward. Near her 33rd week of pregnancy, his mother came to get the rest of her belongings to move down to Georgia in a U-Haul. J, having no driver's licence, insisted that he was driving that truck down there for her. K knew no argument she could make would convince him otherwise and so, to prevent a monumental blow-up, she protested very little. After approximately a week of his being gone, he called her one day claiming that he had been unhappy for months and that he no longer loved her and from there, with K being on bed rest due to her history of pre-term labor, I semi took over, helping her with the two toddlers already in her care.
T was born on Good Friday at 36 1/2 weeks. I visited the two of them the next day. T is a breathtakingly beautiful baby with a full head of hair and a calm, gentle personality.
A few days after they came home, after not speaking to J, he texted K asking to speak to her. At this point, I knew that just like the two previous 'breakups' he was dying to come back. My suspicions were right on the money and he will be back as fast as his mother can gather the money to send him back on a bus.
K swears that she is not taking him back, he's only coming up here to be close to his children; yadda, yadda, yadda. I know without a doubt, the moment he steps off that bus, she'll be back in his arms again. So, that is why after surprisingly very little soul searching, I am removing myself from the picture completely. This, I truly feel, is the healthiest thing for me to do. I cannot deny how difficult and heart wrenching this decision is for me after nearly a decade of laughter, tears, hugs and babies but, for my own mental health (and physical, obviously) its what must be done.
And so, to K I say, thank you for this incredible relationship. Thank you for accepting me for who I am and loving me despite that fact. I'll always remember the good and when I'm sad or lonely, those memories we've created through the years will be like a blanket to wrap around myself to ward off the bitter cold of life's most difficult times. In my own, quiet way, though its different now, I love you and I always will.
I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives for a reason,
Bringing something we must learn.
And, we are lead to those who help us most grow,
If we let them,
And we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true,
But, I know I'm who I am today because I knew you.
Like a comet pulled from orbit; as it passes the sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder; halfway through the wood,
Who can say if I've been changed for the better; I do believe I have been changed for the better,
Because I knew you,
I have been changed FOR GOOD.
For Good from Wicked
Sunny Side Up!,