BY KATE DOMENICHELLA
The Pre-School and Kindergarten Days:
Sarah and I met our first day of preschool, on September 2, 1997. We instantly became best friends when she offered up the Teacher Barbie and allowed me to play with her. From that moment, I knew we would be inseparable. On each field trip we took, Sarah would take the window seat and I would take the aisle. We had our own language and the wildest imaginations ever conceivable for 3-5 year olds.
Elementary School Days:
From 1st grade through 5th grade, there were two teachers with their own classrooms. Sarah and I were separated during classroom hours in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade, but that never deterred our friendship. We would still enjoy lunch together, and every recess we would sit on the big grey plastic rock in the playground and pretend we were witches (Harry Potter was big in our day).
Middle School Days:
Sarah and I became closer than ever in our 6th to 8th grade years. Every night we were both free, we would hog the phone lines in our homes until our parents got fed up and bought us cell phones with unlimited minutes. We would talk about everything and anything under the sun-- her swim meets, our field hockey practices, my latest crush, and the same guy she had liked for 2 years. Sarah was there for me when my Nonno died and again when my family and I had to put down two of our cats within 3 months. She and I both had friends outside of our relationship. I had 3 other best friends who I was almost as close with but Sarah made me put her first, and they began to drift away. Every time Sarah and I would fight about even the littlest things, I would be the one to apologize even if I wasn’t at fault for her cancelling our Panera date because she wanted to go to the movies with her swim friends. I could feel Sarah weaning away from me. It was not for anything I had done, but almost because she wanted to see what else was out there, as if our friendship wasn’t good enough and she needed something better.
High School Days:
This is where it all fell apart. The four years of high school exposed the inevitable crack that would soon shatter the foundation of our once resilient friendship.
There were 5 homerooms our freshman year and because my last name was in the beginning of the alphabet and hers was in the middle, we were separated. Her locker was at the end of the hallway and mine was in the beginning. I played field hockey and basketball because I was the athlete and she enjoyed singing and acting, so she became the lead in all the school’s plays. We had totally different lives, but still managed to talk every day our freshman year.
By the end of freshman year, I had a boyfriend and she had still never been kissed. Sarah and I began to run in different social circles. I remained with the jocks while she remained in the auditorium, constantly rehearsing for the latest play.
Eventually, the bullies came out to play—first with me and then with Sarah. Since I had always been bullied since elementary school, I was able to shrug it off and continue about my life. Sarah had never been bullied, but her “I’m perfect, I go to Church every Sunday, I don’t kiss boys, my life is better than yours” act began to annoy even the friendliest people. The summer before senior year, Sarah decided she had had enough. Instead of calling me to talk about it, she told our group of friends that she and I had only met 3 years ago in a group text. I was heartbroken because even though I had defended her to the bullies, to my parents who saw our relationship as toxic, and to the friends she constantly berated, she chose to forgo our friendship. We spoke on the phone during our senior year maybe a total of 5 times. I saw her at our prom and we took 1 picture, danced 1 dance together, and that was it. I didn’t see her the summer before we went our separate ways to college.
She was off to the University of Tampa and I was off to Fitchburg State to play field hockey. I met some of the best people on my team and in my classes, including my two roommates. I even had a boyfriend, and Sarah was soon a distant thought in my brain. I would text her on her birthday, on holidays, and sometimes to say hi. She would read them, but never respond.
And then one day, out of the blue, Sarah called me.
“How can you just replace me like that?” she screamed at me over the phone.
There was no easy way to tell her that I didn’t want our friendship anymore—that our 18 years of secrets, memories, boys, and laughs no longer meant anything to me because of all she had done to spite me.
“Just tell me why you thought you could replace me!” Sarah screamed at me again.
I could hear the long, drawn out sigh that she’s famous for on the other end of the phone. Seconds ticked away as I glanced between my watch and the side-by-side picture frame of my best friend and my boyfriend on my desk.
“Do you really want to know why I have, as you claim, replaced you?” I finally respond.
“Yes, I do,” she responded hastily.
“Alright, ready? I have replaced you because I don’t mean anything to you anymore. When was the last time we spoke before this phone call today? Sarah, it has been almost a year since we last spoke.”
She rebuts, “The phone works both ways you know.”
Pissed, I respond, “I’ve been putting people first who deserve to be first. How many times have I texted you in those 12 months? Huh? How many times? And don’t you say you ‘didn’t get the messages’, because that’s bullshit. Your read receipt is on.”
She sighs again and I continue, “Sarah, you haven’t called me or texted me back once. You’ve been home for breaks and seen our high school friends, I mean, I guess you’re good with them even after you’ve fucked them over a half a dozen times, and then you have the balls to post pictures of your little ‘hangout sesh’, so please don’t play with my feelings.”
“You know I never meant to hurt you, Erin. I just needed to do my own thing, be my own person. I needed to figure out who I am and what I am meant to do,” Sarah responded.
Annoyed by her excuses I calmly say, “This is why I have replaced you. And why I have decided that although I will miss you and I will always love you, there is no longer a place for you in my life.”
And with that, I hang up the phone.