Monday, January 16, 2012

The Frenemy


From the first moment I saw her, I didn’t like her. Mainly because she was everything I wasn’t. Confident. Brash. Impulsive. Petite. Her tiny stature and birdlike limbs made my plodding and gangly figure look like a giant next to a delicate flower.

In class, she would sit with her arms and legs crossed, leaned back in her desk, chin tilted defiantly. Professor nor student would dare disturb her, and if she spoke, everyone listened.

What made it all worse was how smart she was. Sharp and witty, nothing got past her. When she deigned to speak to the rest of us, her voice carried the short abrasiveness of a New York accent and seemed to demand that you pay attention and believe every word she said.

Nope, I didn’t like her one bit…until she started paying me a little attention. Typical. As a card-carrying People Pleaser, I craved the attention of those who were popular, important. And she was important…at least in my eyes.

She came into my life like a furious, brunette tornado, turning everything upside down in her wake and changing me forever.

 I don’t know why she would have liked me. I still can’t say that I understand it. I was shy, withdrawn, understated. Everything she wasn’t. Looking back now, I suppose it’s because every girl like her needs a girl like me. I was her sidekick, her devotee, her number one fan. I fed her confidence, and strangely enough, she fed mine.

We found common interests. Writing, theatre, cute English professors. We started taking the same classes, going to lunch together. It didn’t take long for us to become friends.

Our friendship was a whirlwind of new experiences for me. Parties, dates, bars. Long conversations that would wind into the night about her latest conquests. Men were as attracted by her as I was. She was elusive, an enigma that they all wanted.

I soon learned that she wasn’t as perfect as she seemed. Without fail, she always chose the wrong man. She seemed to have a knack for it. She’d fall for the married guy or the drug addict. The 18-year old jail bait. As smart as she was, she was clueless about relationships.  I was just as clueless and, on top of that, lacked her experience. When out on the prowl, we made quite the pair. She, over-the-top. Me, under-the-radar. But we always had each other.

Or we did for the duration of our two-year long friendship.

As our relationship developed, we realized that we shared more than the fact that we were fellow English majors and had a crush on a couple of our professors. We were both passionate, opinionated. Together, we were combustible. Our friendship came to a crashing halt soon after she moved back to New York.
It couldn’t have lasted. We were too much alike and too different. I wasn’t willing to be her tag-a-long, and she wasn’t willing to be my hero.

But for that tiny little island of common ground that we shared for those two precious years, I am grateful. And because I knew her, I am changed. 

Author's Note: This was written in response to The Flicker of Inspiration prompt "Common Ground." Check out some of the great posts linked up at The Lightning and the Lightning Bug.

Female friendships are definitely strange animals. Have you ever had a friendship where you were the hero or the tag-a-long? Have you ever had a frenemy? Why are female friendships sometimes so hard?

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