I can't remember the exact details of how we became friends. All I know is when we started, we couldn't stop. Sam, Cyndi, and I were as inseparable as any three friends could be. We did everything together, shopped, talked on the phone, attended sporting events, and even worked on homework assignments together. Our families came to realize that dinner guests were inevitable at least two times a week.
During our junior year, Cyndi and I were single but we did have to share some Sam's time with her boyfriend. We did so reluctantly because he wasn't my #1 fan and we learned to deal with it. One of the things that brought us closer was helping Sam through the ups and downs of their relationship.
The summer after our trio formed was also the summer that Carley and I met at camp. I was a practicing member of the LDS (Mormon) church and she came that year with a friend of mine, Kelsey. (I guess it isn't fair to say that Kelsey and I were friends at that time. She was friends with a group of my friends that attended another ward nearby. Because I was friends with her entire clique and she and I had never really spoken, I automatically assumed she hated me.)
The first essay in my first class of my senior year was to write about someone who has made an impact in my life. I went over the usuals, grandma, grandpa, Hillary Clinton. I decided to write about Carley. We had spent the summer getting pretty close. We hadn't started persuing anything resembling a relationship at this time but I knew that she was special and one way or another, she was making an impact on my life.
Other than Sam and Cyndi, I had honestly always felt like I didn't belong. I was the kind of awkward kid who everyone likes and thinks is funny but never fit in any specific clique. I wrote a paper about how she made me feel like I belonged and I finally felt that after years of hollow friendships, I had someone I could count on and confide in. I got a perfect score on the paper and was quite proud with the work I had done. I shoved securely somewhere in the bottom of my locker and moved on.
As the months passed, Carley and I started spending more and more time together. Its no foreign story to any friend who's best friend starts a new relationship. Mine is a little different in the fact that I was a mormon teen who was semi-experimenting with a same-sex relationship. All I wanted was to tell by best friends what was happening with Carley.
Partially because I didn't know what was happening but also because I was terrified of anything between me and my two favorite homies would change, I didn't tell either of them what I was going through. It put a serious strain on our friendship. It really was a horrible time for me. I was so happy on one hand but on the other I was distancing myself from everyone else in my life. I felt like every minute I spent with Sam or Cyndi I was lying to them. I was so confused and had no one to talk about it with other than Carley who was obviously equally as confused. To help ease my guilt, I I began to spend less and less time with my two best friends.
Walking toward my locker, that I shared with Sam, one afternoon, she came walking toward me looking somewhat flustered.
"What the fuck is this, Julia?! I found it in the bottom of our locker!" she shouted, referencing the paper I had written a few months earlier. She flipped it open to the second page and read from the page "She [Carley] is the first person to who I feel like I can count on. In my life I have been surrounded by adults who often fail to offer encouragement as well as shallow, cookie-cutter friendships that have proven useless as advocates of support." She looked up, accusingly, and said "Nice to know you think I'm a shallow friend." She threw the paper at my feet and walked away.
I was totally speechless which is not common for me. I picked the paper up off of the ground and walked a few feet away to our locker. I stood there next to her, hanging my head, as she knelt in front of the locker and filled up her backpack. I want to make it very clear that I have never felt romantically about Sam but that doesn't mean that I don't love her. As friends, we don't make any sense because we are exact opposites. It killed me to see how much I had hurt her and even worse that I had made her feel that our friendship wasn't important to me. How could I tell her that our friendship and the paper I wrote had nothing to do with one another without having to explain the differences in the two relationships?
"I'm sorry," I whispered. She stood up, slammed the locker shut, and walked away down the hall.