Written by Montez Louria
Art by Pixabay
The summer before freshman year of college changed my view of friendships and relationships. The leaves changed as he and I drifted apart. Two people being untethered and rebuilt as new people. He was going to Pennsylvania and I was staying, stationary in Maryland. (At that point in my life, I was too afraid to venture to any unknowns.) His awakening would come at the expense of a piece of me.
My rebirth would come as you being added to my list of emotional trauma. Sounds drastic. However october 2012 was the last time we spoke as not only a couple but as genuine best friends. The “I’ll call you everyday, I’ll show you my scars, and laugh about shenanigans at the North Avenue bus stop kind of friends. It’s fair to say you were my first love, not romantically but platonically. You were one of the people that made me value the voice outside of my head and outside of my family. I loved you because you were my friend. You were the first person I told about sexual trauma outside of my family. I was irritable, upset, and watching your words leave your mouth and swim around my head. It was summer. I was wearing a tan Care Bears t-shirt. I cried to you while enjoying badly cooked chicken teriyaki. At that moment, you gave me something I hadn’t had before. Acknowledgement. Acceptance. An apology and he had committed no act against my autonomy. We would talk about that for hours. You would tell stories of escaping the hell constructed at home. The history of the scars to prove it.
I didn’t plan for us to get married or be partnered forever. However, I thought we would be able to maintain our connection. I remember the day I knew our friendship (and relationship) was over. You stopped answering my phone calls. No texts, the exception was to express sarcasm. The photo of your new girl wearing your sweatshirt. I saw the photo and a part of me turned to stone. It turns out, you had known her a while. Spent the last few months of your time in Maryland, getting acquainted via text. Wires crossed in my brain. There I was worried about you maneuvering through a new place and school. There I was ready to tell you about the nonsensical lit professor who cursed like a sailor and dribbled when he spoke. I wanted to hear about the dullness of your degree. My newfound college experience found me isolated in a sea of private school white girls who couldn’t fathom the thought of actually living and commuting from West Baltimore. My mom didn’t understand why this was so hard for me because it was “school,”- a thing i was good at, regardless of what was happening socially.
You took what you needed to grow and flourish while I was splitting into two people. Reimagining and discovering the truths of what I had been avoiding within myself. Somehow, what could be described just simply as teen drama became a catalyst for confronting my trauma. I had more issues than Ebony magazine. I had uncertainty about myself, my choices, and my interactions. It was the start of an ongoing healing process. The piece of me, the seed you used for growth, you can keep if it’s still available. You were my friend and then you weren’t.