I grew up in a small town. Not a nice town. I'm sure that high school was fun for those that were "in" but I was not one of those. My school was very clicky. Everyone was classified as something. I'm not sure exactly what I was classified as because by that time, I had found pot and didn't care so much anymore.
There was one thing that sustained me in high school and that was my friends. I had a really tight core group of guy and girl friends who did everything together. We protected each other, looked out for each other, went to bat for each other. They meant the world to me. They were there for me when I was completely down. I was there for them (i think) when they were down. We were a family.
The problem with mixed groups like that is when two people hook up. If things go sour between them, everyone else starts to feel like they have to pick sides. That's what happened to us. Boy and girl hook up. Girl gets pregnant very very young. Boy and girl get married. Start to play house. Said house becomes quite the hangout of those of us still not totally out on our own. Beautiful baby girl is born very preemie. Baby adds stress to already stressed relationship. Boy and girl suffer. Friendships suffer. Baby continues to be beautiful. Girl gets pregnant again and gives birth to a very chubby boy. Boy and girl get more stressed. Struggle more. Start to separate their lives. Allegations are made. People take sides. Friends (namely me) do what they think is the right thing at the time and end up hurting people that have meant so much to them. Years go by and it all starts to seem like a mistake.
When my friends broke up there were serious stories told. I was never there to see any of the incidences so I don't know first hand what happened. I did what I believed was the best option. The most helpful. I wanted to support my friend as she started her newly single mom life. We became very close. Closer than we had ever been before. The funny part was that I started off as his friend and not hers. She became part of our group because he thought she was cute. I found her really annoying at first. He and I had been so close...sharing many many late night talks about life, listening to music, making up stupid poetry. We had both gone through it when we were younger and I felt like I had found someone who truly understood me. But I chose her side. I wanted to be with the kids. I wanted to be able to make sure they were ok. I know I did things that hurt not only him, but probably others in his family that I cared about a lot too. Back then, I thought of his brother as younger but looking back, he's actually older than I am and was a way better person inherently than I could ever pretend to be.
Years go by. Over 10 now. She and I stayed close for a long time but then she started to change. Or maybe I did. I grew up, that's for sure. She didn't. I tried to keep in contact with her but her life is so incredibly different than mine. She lives with a guy that I don't like so much. I think he's odd and perhaps a bit of a masochist. She doesn't work. She is sick so she spends most of her days on pain medication. I still love her but there is only so much effort that one person can put out. I left messages on their phone (they screen all of their calls) asking if they have seen my friend. If they could have her call me. She never returns my calls. And now their phone is disconnected. We were supposed to turn 30 together. Her birthday is 2 days before mine. But I haven't seen her for over a year. And we live in the same town. I miss the kids. The last time I saw them, they were growing like weeds and turning into little adults. I'm afraid for the people they will become. I worry about 13 year old girl more than 11 year old boy. She has been through so much in her young life. Things that no girl should ever ever ever have to go through. I don't know if she is strong enough to deal with those thoughts as she gets older without help and I worry that her mom is to shortsighted to see it.
This wasn't meant to be a bash of my friend. This whole post came about because I recently found a blog belonging to the younger brother of the boy. He is all grown up now (like I said, I always thought of him as younger) and has his own family. He seems to be a good man with a good mind. He wrote on his space that he felt like his life didn't start until 1994. I was part of their lives before that time. I don't want to think that I hurt them, but I'm sure that I did. It's impossible that I didn't. I regret that. I regret those ties being broken. The last time I saw boy was when I was eating at the restaurant he works (worked?) at. He came walking out of the kitchen and saw me. It took my breath away. I didn't know what to do so I waved. He just stared at me and kept walking. Didn't crack a smile or wave or anything. The last time I saw his brother was at a restaurant too. He was eating and I came in to eat. I don't remember who I was with but it seems like I might have had a little to drink beforehand. I know that I didn't acknowledge him the way that I should have. My friend and I were starting to sour at that point and I wasn't sure what to say.
Life is full of regrets but the ones that suck the most are these. When you have to pick a side and hope that it is the right one. When it's not...