Liz and the In Between : 30 Days of Truth


Part II

Day 10 (Part Two) : Someone you need to let go of, or wish you didn’t know.

Lea and Liz, the first entry, started to describe the nature of relationships I had with my three high school friends. It is the preface for this. In summation, we were a group of best friends, entangled in each others’ lives. Mistakes, grudges, and other forces created huge divides between us, leaving lingering hatreds spanning years.


Liz. My oldest, most cherished, oldest friend. I was ecstatic that we could remain friends, while irked that a thread still connected the camps. But, I couldn’t let something that petty destroy such a long time, deep friendship. I let it fly.

Because, we were the best of friends. I spent most of my summers on her roof or in her tree. Her mother was more of a mother to me than my own. We were on a first name basis, and bummed cigarettes from one another.

Liz knew all of my dirty secrets, and I knew hers. And above the whispers were video games, art projects, and online chatting.

Liz always had this penchant for making me feel inferior. We couldn’t be different people. There she was, sleek and poised, not a hair out of place. Sure, she was curvier than I was, but infinitely better dressed. Her room was immaculate, just as she was. Liz had organizers for her organizers.

She took all of the advanced classes for college credits, and had a perfect average. Her friends were numerous, from all walks, and her enemies zero. Nobody could possibly hate sweet, whispering Liz.

Then, there was me. Frizzy, long, untamed red hair that could rival Medusa. My clothes always had some kind of imperfection, a rip, a snag. A part of me always looked badly patched, as if one loose thread would make it all come apart. My room was a mess, covered in layers of clothes, papers, and books. Nothing seemed to have a proper place.

I took remedial classes, though I was gifted. The pressure of higher courses was too much for me. I was already hardly functioning at the level I was on. (Early symptoms of bipolar disorder). I was tortured and dark; this was no secret amongst the student body. I had no true friends, unless you count the cult entourage. And, I had made a number of enemies.

That was (is?) me, Em. Outspoken, rude, ridiculous, dramatic, vulgar, crass, obscene, crazy Em. I was a one woman show who earned her red A by having sex as a freshman.

I would feel certain tinges of envy from time to time. How come I can’t be so pristine and graceful? Why can’t I get my shit together and live up to my potential? Eventually, I came to find a cozy home in the music wing, while Liz wrestled her way through academia.

Liz was neutral and remained so. She had even gone as far as to remove herself from it entirely when she joined drama club. Naturally, I was dragged into it. I was the only person who could play the sax part, and Liz just wouldn’t leave it alone.

And that’s when we met The Actor. He was a senior when we were sophomores. His personality was larger than life, and he was literally a character. He could be anyone, day to day, effortlessly sliding into natural roles of his everyday life. It was a sight to behold. And Liz was head over heels.

Personally, I felt he was a great guy and all. I was already committed, and The Actor wasn’t my type. But, I seemed to have caught his eye. The Actor wasn’t a man to chase, only one to drop hints and innuendo. I wasn’t totally oblivious, admittedly. I was flattered.

In the time period while working on the fall production, Liz got the nerve to ask The Actor out. She was thrilled when he accepted. But, he never actually took her anywhere. He’d come to her house, they would chat as friends do, and then they’d mess around for awhile. No sex, just messing around.

A few months passed and these became less frequent. Liz finally confronted him and discovered that their encounters were a complete secret. He broke it off “because it didn’t feel right.” Days later, he announced his relationship with a very respected girl in the thespian community.

She was his secret buddy, because he was too ashamed of her.

Her first “boyfriend” was not really that at all. It stung for me to watch that happen. And I detested that boy. Except, she didn’t. She still held out hope and lent her heart to him.

 

The following summer, after that turbulent year, she made an admission to me while sitting on her picnic table during that cool, clear summer night. “I envy you. I’ve envied you for years. You say what you mean, and you mean what you say. You don’t wrap it up in a pretty, little package. And people adore you for it. You are admired by others and fawned over by men.”

“Funny. I envy you. How you are able to have a handle on everything. Everything looks so effortless and natural. You have an air about you that screams refinement, maturity, intelligence. You don’t even have to speak to have people respect you.”

And we laughed. The grass is always greener, right?

Throughout the next year, we made a mutual friend via a MUD. He was a God (administrator), and he took a fancy to us. He was nice. Inside the inn was a secret door that led to private player rooms. And, it was there that much went on behind closed doors. Many things we didn’t immediately exchange between one another.

Eventually, they grew a real life, long distance relationship outside of the MUD. And once that happened, all interpersonal communication between Fox and I stopped.

It was all strange. He was more than twice her age, married, and living several states away. But, I indulged her. Liz had many things, obsessions perhaps, that never came to fruition. It was best to have her hope.

Another year passed. We made a mutual decision to drop out of school and attend a cyber-program. For different reasons. She signed up for three AP classes, and was failing two of them. I warned her it was too much of a course load. Personally, I was bored in remedial classes and felt I was not being challenged.

That spring, that’s when we met him. The man with the alluring accent, and the purring voice. He owned any room he graced his presence with, and one couldn’t help but take notice. His words were wise, insightful, and intelligent. It was prose in every breath and absolutely intoxicating.

It was C.S. Liz was smitten. I was on the fence. (Longer story that will connect later). But who wasn’t immediately striken? Gorgeous beyond words, sophisticated in a way we only saw in college brochures. He had a wise look about him, covered in a beard and a mustache that aged him five years. Most of the boys we knew hardly had chest hair.

We were quick friends. Liz had already committed herself to The Fox, but she admitted, “In the instance that things fall through, there is always the opportunity of a possible normal relationship with C.S.”

Another year, come and gone. Uneventful and irrelevant. We are now to the spring of our senior year. I was newly single. I spent the vast majority of my teen dating years in a committed relationships. I was completely lost at dating.

The Actor had freshly arrived back into town, prepared for his summer away from college. Naturally, he contacted his best girls, Liz and me. Upon finding out my new relationship status (prior to Facebook, we had to rely on word of mouth), he asked me out. I was ambivalent, but I agreed. Maybe I was wrong about him.

No, I was right about him. We went back to his mother’s place and talked. We kissed a little, but there wasn’t anything there. We didn’t click, as nice as he was to me.

I guess this was still a sore spot for Liz. Oops. I had figured that after two years and several short lived boyfriends later, she wouldn’t care. That was the first time we fell out. I profusely apologized and insisted that nothing happened. Voicemail after voicemail. And eventually, I had to stop. It was killing me.

We were speaking again in the fall. Everyone had scurried off to college but us. We were still in transition, attempting to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up.

An old high school friend of ours reappeared. Raz was always a cool, quirky, kind of awkward guy, but in a cute way. He was fairly popular in certain circles.

In the dead of a September night, he phoned us and insisted we were leaving the state to head to the casino. It was thrilling. I had the most wonderful company, great tunes, and we were embarking on a new journey, sans map.

Miles of highway, and a half a dozen penny slots later, Liz and I stood in a women’s room. She candidly asked me, “Do you think Raz is cute?”

I responded, “Sure, I’ve though so since school. But, you know, I’m involved.”

She ecstatically concurred, “So did I! The Fox and I have been on and off for awhile now.”

You know where this is going.

A couple months later, I was single again, unemployed and crashing on C.S.’s sofa. One day, Raz and Adrienne stopped by rather unexpectedly. There I was, greasy hair in a floppy bun, clad only in an oversized band T-shirt, and a pair of gym shorts, elbow deep in dishwater.

We all gathered and had a lovely visit. The very same night, Raz called. “Would you like to go out on a date? I mean, if you’ve available.” My little teen girl was squealing inside.

“Yeah, that sounds great!” I answered. It was the first time I had been asked on a proper date. I finally felt less like a peace of meat and more like a woman. Proper, respectable.

It was another blunder of mine, apparently. By date three, Liz was not speaking to me again. She used some lame excuse, but it was pretty transparent. Even after Raz and I concluded our brief relationship, Liz was still silent. And by now, I was pretty pissed at her petty reactions every single time I dated a guy she was interested in.

My birthday broke the silence. And in another month, I received a call asking for her blessing on taking Raz up on an offer for a date. Whatever. I was laying on a futon in an expensive apartment on the rich side of the city, stoned out of my mind. I was doing way better than lame Italian restaurants in the suburbs, long drives in the country, and listening to the inane dribble.

Later, when The Fox and Liz were back on, she made an admission. After I went on the singular date with The Actor, she had an encounter. She got her teenage desire in the back of a car, in a vacant parking lot. And it was the most unsatisfying experience ever.

All debts were settled, all scores even, and all forgiven. That was that.

Or was it?

To be continued . . .

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20 thoughts on “Liz and the In Between : 30 Days of Truth

    • You know, it’s amazing the stories that a person accumulates. I’ve had so many really complicated friendships and relationships, that it makes for great stories. There are funny ones, especially about my husband’s BFF. Those aren’t mine to tell, though.

      But, with this woman, I’ve had a 15 year friendship. It’s extremely complicated. There were times where we really were the best of friends. And there were times when we weren’t anything. I was so emotionally reactive that I was constantly bothered by this seemingly on again, off again friendship. There’s a lot more to it than all of this, and this is three installments. But, this is relevant to the prompt. Maybe one day, I’ll get through the rest of it!

      • it reminds me of that 6 year relationship I blogged about a few weeks ago (only mine was more than friendship). Only yours is drawn out through a good part of your life. It is strange how we can feel so close to a person and suddenly you don’t think of them for a while but then when they pop up again, you feel like you have missed them so much lol. You are very good at telling a story girl. Keep it up!

        • Thanks!

          Our friendship has always been very powerful emotionally. We hardly ever had this in between space (like we do now) where there was a drift. There was always an icy silence or a merry friendship. I thought I got the drift. I’ve experienced the drift before, it’s not as if this is news.

          In the next part, that explains where we are now, and what’s going to happen from here.

            • Maybe! Not many people have this blog address, but when she was severing ties with Facebook earlier in the year, I gave her it. In fact, that dawned on me as I was writing this, and I was going to pull the whole thing.

              But, I realized something. If it was important enough for me to write a three part series on it, then it would be important enough for her to read my thoughts on the situation.

              I don’t say any of this in malice, at all. She was a great friend when she acted in such a capacity. I camped out many a night at her place, because my home life was crap. She saw me through the earliest manifestations of my disorder. There were a lot of late night marathon phone calls. A lot of tears. A lot of laughs.

              But, the problem comes when it seems like neither of us have that capacity anymore. I see her building friendships with others, and letting ours gather dust, so I’m guessing it’s not me. Or maybe it is me, and the fact that I’m so symptomatic that I am too high maintenance, and / or incapable of having a typical friendship. I don’t know.

              I know that I don’t seek meaningful relationships amongst my peers anymore. In nearly three decades, it has only brought me trouble and pain when everything is said and done. It’s not worth it.

              That’s not to say I won’t accept if someone attempts to build something with me. I will only go as far as someone else, no further. I’ve fallen off that limb far too many times.

              So, yeah, it stands to reason that it probably is very difficult for me to have relationships. Again, I don’t know the causation. But, I do know one thing. It was not important enough for her to try.

            • I am in that same point about not being willing to put anything into trying to have any relationships anymore. I feel I have given enough, tried enough, forgivien enough and all that too. I think this is a very good thing, writing this down. Can’t wait to read the third part.

  1. Pingback: More Than Ten Years : 30 Days of Truth « As the Pendulum Swings

    • It wasn’t just the guys, but that’s the only tangible thing I could example. It was about everything. Clothes, friends (outside of that immediate social group), how much a teacher liked us, looks, grades, extracurriculars, intelligence, and on, and on. Anything two girls could compare to one another.

      Here’s an amusing anecdote. When I was just hitting my teens, I was also starting to have menses. Not a pleasant thing, by any means. Some of my other female friends warned me about it. I called it, “The Curse” when I first got it.

      I ended up at her house with Kat one night. I asked Liz’s mom if she had any feminine products, because I still too new to it, so I didn’t carry them, yet. It was kind of embarrassing, because I had almost soaked through. She showed me, and I took care of it.

      Her apartment was set up in a way that you can’t see someone coming down the hall from the bathroom. So, I almost walked into Liz, attempting to talk smack. She said, “You know, I don’t believe her. She’s just making it up so she can be more adult.”

      I couldn’t believe! She talked about it like it was some rite of passage! I would have been more than happy to go another year or two without, believe me. But, the very fact that she was trashing me as a liar and a fake put me over the edge.

      TMI alert, readers with weaker stomachs. I went back into the bathroom, retrieved the used item, and threw it in the living room in front of me as if it were a grenade. I jumped into the room, saw it had unfurled like a scarlet flag, and laughed. I made it out to be, “Eww gross! Joking!” But in reality, I wanted to throw it in her face, and I literally did. You know, since the whole painful, disgusting affair was so important to her.

      (I hope you laughed. That was kind of my point).

      In some arenas, I had to bow out. My parents could not afford to keep me on current trends. As I grew more symptomatic, it became harder for me to build and maintain friendships. My grades sunk. I masked it all in attitude.

      Truly, some of the attitude was reality. I did completely hate what I had let myself become. I despised what was happening to me, and I guess I did mourn a great deal of losses. But, I knew what I was becoming couldn’t be helped. I could not control those raging emotions, and I had very little handle on my reactive behavior.

      So, when I came out on the other side as the polar opposite, it was a shock that I was successful in any arena. For as nice as she was to people’s faces, she didn’t make any impression. I may have had enemies, but I also had a loyal army!

      I was interesting like a freak show. You know how guys love them some freak show. Apparently, good guys have a sweet spot for bad girls.

      Again, I can see how what and who I grew into was a total shock. Believe me, I don’t envy me. I know what hell it can be to stand in these shoes. But, people can’t tell how tortured you are from the outside looking in. They can only take stock of you by who you appear to be, and what you appear to have.

      I went from a self-loathing punching bag / doormat, easy to manipulate from the right angles to something confident and solid. I wasn’t going to be swayed. Too many people just love to run through the windchimes, if you know what I mean.

  2. I know it wasn’t the entirety of the issue, but I still maintain that girls would have better relationships with each other if there were no boys. Or if all girls came out of the womb already equipped with total confidence and self-possession specifically for dealing with boys.

    By the way, if you think it’s unusual for girls to make a big deal out of getting their first period, pick up a copy of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret some time. Pick one up anyway, I think you might enjoy. πŸ˜‰

    • I’m sure it is exists somewhere in the library at work. I’ll take a look one day. I’m no stranger to Judy Blume stories, but that’s one that I don’t recall off the top of my head.

      I don’t know if I consider is unusual as much as I didn’t see what the big deal was. For me, it had nothing to do with becoming a woman. At that point in time, it was just an awful hassle. But, I never had “regular” ones anyway. Lol what is “regular” about me?

      I thought to myself, “If I don’t want babies right now, why do I have to do this?” No teen girls wants to have babies. If I were an older teen, okay, whatever. That’s growing up. But, I don’t know. My brain seemed to think it was nonsensical.

      I didn’t realize at the time that there was important biology. 5 years from the first meses. That’s how long it takes to complete puberty, and they say at that time, you are done growing. I don’t know how true it is, because I gained two inches of height after high school.

      Now that I’m older, and on Lamtical, I’ve found out the power of oral contraceptives and how they can just squash meses! Thank you, modern medicine!

      • You need to read that book. Trust me. It’ll take you like two seconds. But I think it would likely be more aimed at middle schoolers, so I would go for the public library.

        I’ve never heard that thing about five years from first menses, but I assure you that it’s rubbish. You can continue to grow until age 22. That’s pretty much the cut-off age for gaining height.

        I just went off hormonal birth control for the first time in ten years. Wow. So far, so good! πŸ˜‰

        • The school goes up to 8th. I just don’t teach middle school, because there isn’t a huge interest in music. I’ve seen other Judy Blume books at the book fair, so, you know, I could save some time.

          About the meses, that’s what we were taught in health class. I remember having an x-ray done for some accident, and the doctor told me my growth plate was closed at 16. Oh, the idea of being 4’11 for the rest of my life!

          It’s good to hear you’re doing well. Even in my weeks off, I’m not well. I suspect it’s the rise of Lamictal levels that makes my mood wacky. So, now that I think about it, I can stop some of my fears about going off of it and my meds. I thought that would cause the worst of it all!

    • Mono. Triphasal would work for the first week and I’ve “spot” for the rest. I can’t stand it when doctors use that word to describe bleeding when it’s not supposed to occur, regardless of whether it’s like having a period three out of four weeks in the pack!

      • Just asked because the tri made me so freaking nuts! It actually exacerbated things with all the hormone fluctuations (which are supposed to mimic a normal cycle, but back then we didn’t really have a grasp on how amazingly abnormal everything about me was).

        The patch (Ortho Evra) was wonderful, if more expensive. But do you really want to go generic on something like that anyway? I want to make sure I’m getting all of the protection I signed on for! Yeesh.

        But the patch seemed to help my depression (moderately), and it was great for consistency. I stuck it on once a week, had an alarm on my phone for when to change it, never had to worry about forgetting or having to double up on pills.

        I have found some good things already with going off of it, though. Which I will not post here, but I’ll try to remember to email you about. πŸ˜‰

  3. Pingback: 30 Days of Truth | Sunny With a Chance Of Armageddon

  4. Pingback: More Than Ten Years : 30 Days of Truth | Sunny With a Chance Of Armageddon

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