coming up like flowers

I think one of the reasons I am so pathetically addicted to the saccharine sweet American Dreams” href=”http://www.nbc.com/American_Dreams/”>American Dreams is their ability to so honestly capture the tempestuous relationships between teenage girls. I just love all the scenes between Meg and Roxie. Their friendship is so passionate, so real. That’s how it is for teenage girls. You love your friends with a fierce and fiery passion– more than boys, more than your family.

Jenni Trunnell was my best friend– for as long as I can remember. She lived next door and we grew up together.

In junior high Jenni and I went up to Northtown to buy lace Madonna gloves and a best friend necklace. She actually bought it, but I helped her pick out the silver, heart-shaped necklace. She immediately gave me half. I was “be fri” she was “st ends.” these necklaces were all the rage in 1984. Everyone knew who your best friend was. Best friends were easier to pick out and track than any junior high romance.

But our best friendship was quite tumultuous.

In the fall of eighth (or was it ninth?) grade, I remember Jenni asking me to go for a walk. She asked me along to tell me that she had decided to become best friends with Dawn Larson. Jenni even asked for the other half of the best friends heart necklace back so she could give it to dawn.

I was crushed. I was enraged. Jenni was only being dawn’s best friend because she had a crush on Dawn’s brother Mark. It was just so wrong. It wasn’t my fault I didn’t have any crushworthy younger brothers.

I think I cried for a week. I felt so alone, so betrayed. . . it was so sad. Not only had she dumped me for dawn, she had taken back the necklace. The necklace! If you didn’t have a best friend necklace you were some sort of freakazoid loser. By taking back the necklace she had turned me into a loser. It was so unfair. I sat in my room and wrote bad poetry and listened to REO Speedwagon (or Journey or Air Supply). I still have the smurf notebook where I scrawled all my feelings of betrayal about Jenni’s dissolving of our best friendship.

A few months later, Jenni and Dawn were unbestfriended — it was ugly. I think it had something to do with a joke we made about hiring a Chippendale dance for Dawn’s birthday. A joke Dawn took quite seriously. Jenni saw the error of her ways and was my best friend once again. I even got the necklace back. I might still have the necklace.

However, it didn’t last forever. Eventually, as it does with teenage girls, boys become more important. Jenni met Dale and I became less and less important. She had sex with him on their first date. I hadn’t even been kissed by a boy.

I was squeezed out. We didn’t have anything in common in anymore. I had discovered newspapers and writing. She had Dale, he was her world and I really didn’t have the patience to play second fiddle to him.

By the time I graduated we were strangers. I went on to college in Wisconsin. She went on to marry dale and have a daughter they called Amanda. She lives with her parents now, next door to the house I grew up. She and dale didn’t work out. It kind of makes me sad.

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