We were best friends

I used to think a lot of things were not for me. I didn’t have a choice in the matter. It was a decision the Universe made and thrust upon me.

Sports? Not for me.

Theater? Not for me.

Having an out-going nature? Midriff tops? Big boobs? A sense of balance? Negotiation skills? Mascara? Not. For. Me.

I was never lacking, though. I had other things. I’m a well-put-together Asian woman with a 401K. Can’t say that about most people. I compensate. I compensate for all the things I don’t have, for all the things I can’t have. Tracey’s not fun, but damn is she punctual. I’ll embrace that, make that part of my identity. I don’t mind. But sometimes, I do.

I mind that — no, I’m scared that — the friendships I had when I was younger are not for me any more. I don’t mean coffee dates. I could fill a calendar with enough coffee dates to give myself a stomach ulcer. I mean real friends. I really mean Morgan.

By the time Morgan died two and a half years ago, our friendship had morphed beyond recognition. While a hopeful part of me believes that if he were still alive today we’d have rekindled what we had and be each other’s best friends, a much larger part of me knows that that would not have happened.

We hadn’t spoken in more than a year. We both irked each other. Seeing the other person’s posts on Facebook, we each thought the other a poser. That’s probably why we drifted — we weren’t willing to let the other person grow or change. And by “we,” I mean me.

I was insecure and intimidated. I didn’t want Morgan to make new friends, because if he did, maybe he’d realize he had so many options, and I wasn’t worth what he’d originally thought I was.

It was personal. I grew resentful. Of course it was all about me. He was enough for me. Why wasn’t I enjoy for him? I didn’t want to be his girlfriend — we never saw each other in that way — but I wanted my best friend all to myself.

For a while, things between us were great. I didn’t just have friendship, I had best-friendship. The universe winked at me each day: “Girl, physical flexibility and clicking with thumbs isn’t for you, but you know what is? Best-friendship!”

I’d wink back a Lucille Bluth eye spasm, and the Universe and I would chuckle like old friends, but not best friends.

Morgan and I started to really drift after we came back from studying in France. For a long time things between us were quiet. I didn’t know if he was happy or depressed or in love or lost. I was too proud to ask. He didn’t know, or maybe he did know, that I was sad. I felt alone. I missed him.

I walk through the city of San Francisco, a city in which Morgan once lived as a student, and I’m glad that I at least — if only by accident — get to retrace some of his steps.

Morgan was here. Tracey was here, too. They used to be best friends, you know.

First published July 18, 2016