Volume 3, Number 4
By Fiona Jane
Most of us will have a sob story to tell about a tragic break-up, a broken heart, and the great relationship which ended when someone went overseas. Mine is for my best friend.
Susan and I met through interesting circumstances. Actually, she spent a romantic New Years Eve with my boyfriend while I was interstate and was the one to inform me when I returned. A great way to start a friendship? Well, I wasn't too upset, although she was under the impression that I was, which was probably revenge enough. She missed out on a few good parties in the senior years of high school to avoid running into me. Apparently she would spend the night out on the driveway if she heard that I was inside partying (and presumably waiting to kill her with all of my seven stone fury).
Anyway, living in the same street meant that we couldn't avoid each for too long (although we did manage about two years) and we eventually ran into each other in the local newsagents before our final exams. Being the more magnanimous of us, Susan bravely wished me good luck, and instead of reaching for the nearest broadsheet and beating her savagely with it, I returned the good wishes and went on my way.
Eventually the forces of time (or was it cheap drinks at the local night-club three nights a week?) led us to become friends. It was good to find that there was someone else who wasn't afraid to get embarrassingly drunk and the next morning actually admit all the stupid things that were done the night before. It was great; Susan would give me aspirin and absolution at the same time.
Then comes the scary time. The day you think "This is my best friend". It's just as terrifying as admitting that you're in love. Susan said it first, and it would fill me with a mixture of pride and horror.
I literally cringed at the thought of being labelled 'the best friend' and all the responsibility it implied. When you were little, best friends were someone who lived next door to you and whose parents were friends with yours. Now that you're older, they are someone that you could rely on no matter what happened or what you did and would be there for you for the rest of your life.
Best friends develop slower than Bill Clinton's faithfulness, slower than any other relationship I know. The title has to be well and truly earnt through tests that even the most dedicated friend would sometimes balk at. Comforting a broken heart at three in the morning despite the fact that you start your new job the next day, having them roll the car on your foot while you are talking to them, asking them to come and get you from somewhere far far away even thought their favourite TV show is on.
Having a new best friend is also strangely traumatic, though probably more so for girls than guys. Girls get jealous of new friends, and worry that their old friends won't like them any more. You can only have one best friend, even if four of you are best friends. For some people it's more like great, another person to share the beers and couch with. *burp* Thanks Drew.
Looking at TV, best friends are hard to find. I like to think that Roseanne and Dan are best friends, but no matter how much you twitch your nose, Samantha and Darren aren't. Cher and Dionne are just victims of circumstance (or is that Chanel?), and sadly Balki and Larry are only friends because they are cousins, sorry Bek. Rachel and Monica live together, as do Chandler and Joey but no-one could say they are best friends.
Even if you don't have a best friend, you're sure to have had at least a few:
Anyway, back to Susan. I don't know whether I really thought that she would go to England. Maybe I did, maybe I just didn't want to think about what that would mean to our friendship. Everyone kept asking me what I was going to do; they'd say "XXX and I are friends, but you two do everything together". Which was true.
The day she left I cried. Not that endearing sobbing that some girls seem to have mastered, more like the gasping gulping tears of a chemical warfare victim. Bawling, they call it, and bawling it was. Big fat tears as the plane pulled out, and bigger fatter tears over the flat champagne we'd drunk just after she went.
She's only been gone for a week, and I keep expecting her to come back. Sure I've got other friends, and great friends at that, but it's just not the same. As you get older, your best friend becomes your greatest ally, your most trusted confidante, your unwanted conscience and the one person you really need.
Your partner may know most things about you, but your best friend knows everything; and that's the way it should be.