Dear Toxic Girl,

We were a rarity.

You and I were a match made in heaven, the kind of instantaneous friendship that happened so immediately that I don’t even recall when it formed. There was ‘me’ and there was ‘you’, and it slipped so fluidly into ‘us’ that it was just how it was supposed to be.

Children are great like that. And we were two particularly intuitive, sharp little brats.

When we got older and the other girls started talking about their nails and their hair and boys, we would be sprinting across the schoolyard, screaming at the top of our lungs as we flapped our arms out wide on either side of our scrawny little bodies because we were dragons, not girls, and damn if we didn’t have fun. Our cornfield town was a fantasy land. Nothing could stop us.

…until one day you left. You crossed oceans to go live in new worlds with new languages and I felt so utterly alone.

No one else played make-believe anymore. The fantasy land was just a cornfield town, after all.

We wrote letters. You drew me beautiful pictures and told me stories about these places that I couldn’t even fathom. I remember reading your words and thinking that I was so jealous of your exciting life, while I was stuck behind cornfield bars in a tiny town with tiny minds.

I don’t remember what I wrote you.

Despite oceans and distance and time, so much time, our friendship survived.

…and one day you came back.

You came back a cultured girl who had seen the world and its wonders, who had learned things and understood things that I had yet to even learn and understand that I could question. I was still just a cornfield girl who had never left this tiny town with its tiny minds…and you fascinated me.

We picked up right where we left off.

No one understood my strange soul quite like you did, and I like to think it was mutual. I had a lot of good friends who are still good friends to this day, but you and I were on a level that left them all behind. We were silver-tongued, toxic girls, and when you and I got going with our sharp, witty banter, no one else could keep up. Nothing could stop us.

We went to classes to become members of a religion that neither of us honestly believed in, only you knew that you didn’t believe in it and I just didn’t yet fully realize yet that yes, there are people who don’t spend their Sundays suffering through sermons they don’t really listen to and no, they are not going to burn forever in the fantasy land of ‘hell.’

I remember when you told your dad that you didn’t want to be a part of it. That you didn’t believe, that you didn’t want to go anymore. You said he yelled and screamed and took the door off the hinges to your room, and I remember thinking for the first time that the interior of a beautiful, expensive home could be an ugly, ugly place.

I remember when you called me at two in the morning one night in tears. I remember it vividly, because you never cried, not ever. You were a hardened, toxic girl, just like me. I abandoned my boyfriend and my mess of a terrible, teenage relationship because your mess of a terrible, teenage relationship was on the rocks.

I went to you then, and I would have gone to you anytime. Day or night, busy or bored. My house could have caught on fire (and it did) and I still would have abandoned everything to go to you (and I did).

Then high school was over, and I didn’t know it, then, but so were we.

I didn’t know it because it never really did end, did it? It’s still not over now, not really, not technically.

Because we stayed close. Physically and socially, even though you went to a good, private school and I went to a cheap, public community college that everyone in my honor’s lit class loved to poke fun at, but what the hell, it was free and my family isn’t made of money. We stayed close, for awhile. We stayed close, until you met a boy who wasn’t quite a boy anymore and well, let’s face it, we were far from being girls who played make-believe.

He was a toxic boy and you were a toxic girl, and together you formed a toxic relationship where you poisoned each other in a cloud of such possessiveness that no one could touch you.

And that’s how you wanted it. Because that’s how us toxic girls are, aren’t we? We want to be wanted so badly that we want it to be all-consuming, all-encompassing; we need the people that we want to want us so badly that we are everything. We want to be the only one. The only one.

The only one.

I was that way, too. For a very long time.

I eventually grew out of it.

You didn’t.

You didn’t, and you and your toxic boy disappeared.

…I thought you would come back.

You didn’t.

I waited for weeks. I didn’t prod or pressure or poke, because that is not how you get toxic girls to listen- and I would know. But others did. You changed your number. You told them they weren’t your friends. I heard it through the lips of other people’s mouths, and thought, ‘she’ll come back.’

I made sure that you knew I still cared. That I was waiting. And every day I thought, ‘she’ll come back.’

You didn’t.

Weeks turned into months and I just didn’t understand. The others joked about putting your picture on a milk carton and reporting you missing, because no one else understood, either. I pretended not to care after awhile, and I joked along with them- but every laugh was short and sour and left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I never admitted it to anyone, but I missed you, my silver-tongued, toxic girl, because no one else could keep up with my witty banter and nothing could touch me and I felt so utterly alone.

For so long, every time you would crop up in a strange dream or I would think I might run into you in a public place of that maybe that weird unknown phone number was you but then it wasn’t- I thought, ‘she’ll come back.’

You didn’t.

It took years, but finally, I truly left you behind. I found a world of beauty and art and genuine people, and you finally died. You became a ghost that haunted me less and less until you finally stopped haunting me altogether.

… when I started this post, I thought I was going to end it by telling you that I forgive you for just leaving like that, for not even bothering to explain yourself, because I understand how hard it can be to live as a toxic girl. That I would tell you that I still miss you, that even now I would go to you anytime, day or night, busy or free, even after all the nights I spent worrying about you. Nights which ended with me in tears, hoping and sobbing and praying to a God I didn’t believe in, saying things like, ‘please, let her be okay.’

But as I write this, now, two glasses of wine in and sitting here on my laptop in the dark, back in this cornfield town… I realize that this would be a lie.

I do forgive you, but…

I don’t still miss you.

I don’t still miss you, and I would not still go to you. I don’t know you or what you became… but I know that I am not a toxic girl anymore, and I need you to stay dead. This was never a letter to reach out to you and hope against all hope that your ‘they’re-not-brown-they’re-definitely-hazel’ eyes would somehow find this and read it and care, because you never cared before and you won’t care now.

No, this is a farewell.

This is the goodbye that you never gave me when you became a ghost in our own town.

This is the closure that I never received but desperately needed, because I thought that our friendship at least meant enough for you to one day seek me out and tell me why, why, why.

But it obviously didn’t, and… and that’s okay.

I need you to stay dead.

I hope that you are happy, wherever you are. I mean that. I really, really do.

I hope that you are happy.

Goodbye, toxic girl.

cornfield

 

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28 thoughts on “Dear Toxic Girl,

  1. Hello dear. Thank you for sharing this deeply personal but unfortunately not so uncommon story. I hope where there was pain, that it has subsided to a ‘sigh’. I had a friend leave me, too. But she committed suicide and it took me more than a year to come to grips with her leaving me like that and never coming back. But, I do thank you for your ability to continue on. It gives strength to many who feel they can’t continue. God be with you.I believe in Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sure how you ever found my blog but I’m sure glad you did. Apparently this story hits home for so many people, and all my life I’ve thought I was the only one left behind and forgotten by a former best friend. It’s so eerie to see this in writing, this story of what could well be my own life, and to see so many comments from others with the same story. If she comes back shut the door forever and lock that door tight against her. A lesson learned the hard way when I welcomed one back, only to have the story repeated. “Toxic girls” and hummingbirds are the same the world over, they never stay long in one place because the next spot always looks better to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi- I guess you could say I found your blog by being a WordPress stumbler; and just happened upon it… And I’m glad I did as well. I also found it a bit surprising that this story connected with as many people as it did. There is a ton of literature out there on heartache concerning familial and/or romantic love, but stories about platonic, powerful friendships that ended tragically are few and far between… But I was far more hurt by that friendship ending than any romantic entanglement I ever had. It still hurts, but… Shut the door, indeed. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think there will always be a small place inside that hurts, and always that fear of the unknown — is she still alive? Is she in need? does she remember me? Eighteen years invested in what I thought was a lifetime friend, then she was gone without saying “goodbye”. That was the part that hurt the most — she didn’t even say goodbye.
        Have a great weekend. Angie

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is absolutely entrancing stuff. Your pace is so well-timed, and your prose is so introspective and fascinating. I loved it. This is your style of writing. I haven’t yet caught it in the flash fiction, but I’ll keep reading. Good job. Any pointers you can throw my way on my own stuff would be appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I feel you. I’ve mourned too many ghosts in my life… It took a long time to for me to learn how to just let people go. It’s a much harder way to end a relationship, rather than an abrupt, clean break.

    Like

  5. Beautifully written – compelling, even as It hit a bit close to home. There was a time I knew a “toxic girl” quite well, right up until she disappeared into the ozone. Bizarre feelings you articulate well.

    (Got here from Kate McClelland’s reblog, btw).
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. The thing that is bizarre is that “toxic girls” rewrite history. We believed we were in sync, but we now must admit that we have no idea who they are (and were).

        Your poem got me in touch with the fact that I struggle to let it remain her problem and not mine – and to embrace the fact that mourning that relationship, alive or dead, I am mourning a ghost.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

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