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, and you and your toxic boy disappeared.
…I thought you would come back.
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.’
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.’
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.