She’s gone. Outta here. Bounced. Left the building.
My girl, Rebecca, one of the closest friends I’ve ever had in my lifetime, packed up this weekend and moved eight hours away. Oh, and the bitch had the nerve to go NORTH. I mean, if she was going to leave me, the least she could’ve done is put down roots somewhere warm. Shit.
I’m kidding. Mostly.
Of course, I realize Rebecca did not leave ME. I am not nearly that egotistical or selfish. And I also know that her move to Madison, Wis., is going to be tremendous for her. She’s starting a kickass job and pursuing a romantic relationship with a stellar dude.
The logical, gracious side of me is genuinely happy for her. But on a visceral, emotional level, I had to fight the intense urge to grab onto her ankles like a cranky toddler and MAKE. HER. STAY.
Sure, I know that she will always, always be “there,” figuratively, for me, as I will for her whenever the proverbial shizz hits the fan in either of our lives. Distance will never take that away from us — I did not “lose” her in this move. But no matter how often we chat on Facebook, text or call, the fact that we can’t meet for brunch at a moment’s notice means that our friendship simply won’t be the same.
I’m not whining so you’ll feel sorry for me, or to make Rebecca feel guilty when she reads this. No, I’m simply stating a fact. Her move means that our relationship has to adapt to a change in circumstances.
I have to admit that I was not at all prepared for her relocation because, well, I’m not done with our current chapter yet. We were getting close again after a couple of years of sporadic face time.
A bit of backstory:
Rebecca and I met more than 10 years ago when I didn’t have many female friends to speak of. My high school and college girlfriends had moved away. Others had gotten married. Most of my friends at that time were guys, which had its own appeal, but something was definitely missing.
When Rebecca came into my life in 2003, which is a cute story we both love to tell (we bonded over being jilted by the same guy, the one and only man for whom we ever shared an attraction), I needed her more than I could have possibly admitted at the time.
I loved her instantly (though I probably didn’t show it), and she thought I was pretty OK, too. Our relationship was like buttah, melting together smoothly and quickly over a short period of time. Pretty soon, she was my soul sistah, and that’s held true ever since.
Over the following six or so years, we shared equal parts raucous fun and a solid emotional connection, a combination that I realize now is WAY too rare.
We danced, we camped at concerts, we drank good wine (back before it was a problem for me), we laughed both at and with each other, we skinny-dipped at a monastery (a truly excellent story, that one), and we complained and commiserated over boyfriends, crazy bishes and multiple jackass bosses.
And this one time, I made her cry.
I KNOW, right? I feel horrible about it, even now. Thank God I am a much kinder and gentler person today, but back then, I was often an insensitive bulldozer. I don’t remember why I yelled at Rebecca, but I clearly remember her reaction.
Anyone reading this who knows her will tell you that it takes a special kind of asshole to bring Rebecca to tears. She is SUCH a sweet person. And I’m not talking about the kind of sweet where you want to shake a bitch until she grows a spine.
No, Rebecca is an extraordinary, sincere brand of sweet. If you meet her and don’t immediately feel the warmth of her spirit, there is something seriously wrong with you. For real. Yep, THAT kind of sweet.
Anyhoo, allow me to digress slightly for a moment. I’ve written about my BFF, Whitney, in this space several times before. But it dawned on me this weekend that I never would have met Whitney if it weren’t for Rebecca. She introduced us in January 2004 at her birthday party at O’Shea’s Irish Pub. Whitney and I have our own unique relationship — as do Whitney and Rebecca — but the three of us have always been peas in a pod.
I told Whitney, as we toasted the impending departure of our sweetest pea on Friday night, that I had taken for granted that Rebecca would always be here in Louisville. I just assumed I could take my time in getting our friendship back up to its former potency.
It also hit me that I’ve been the weak link over the past few years. My life and lifestyle changed related to alcohol four years ago (read more about that here) and Rebecca’s didn’t need to — hello, she owned a wine bar at one point — so our paths diverged a bit. OK, it was me who diverged them.
As I’ve worked on becoming a better version of myself, I realized how much I have missed having her in my life on a consistent basis. And in classic Rebecca style, she welcomed me back as if I never left.
I was looking forward to a lot more brunches, lunches and nights out during the newest phase of our friendship. I assumed I had the luxury of seizing them whenever I felt like it. Turns out I was wrong.
That’s what I get for sitting on my ass. And therein lies the lesson: Don’t take the people you love for granted because they might move to the fucking arctic circle and then expect you to come visit. Ha!
It has been my experience that very few people come into your life who love you unconditionally and brighten your day simply by existing. Hold on to those people, no matter where their latitude and longitude ends up.
Rebecca and I may not get to sit across from each other at North End Café over biscuits and gravy again anytime soon, but I’m going to find ways to express to my soul sistah how much I care about her and want to be part of her life.
Oh, and how proud I am of her for following her heart.
Yeah, that’s one of the things I adore most about Rebecca, how she has always pushed through her fear to chase her bliss, whatever that meant at the time. She has been an entrepreneur more than once, and she was one of the main inspirations that propelled me to go out on my own. We should all aspire to have her optimism, grace and courage.
Wisconsin is damn lucky to have you up there, shining your sweet light on it, my dear friend. You'll be fabulous there, as you would anywhere.
P.S. This time, it was you who made this ol' bulldozer cry. Love you, chica. XXOO.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.