From the age of 14 until I was roughly 21 or 22, my best friend was a girl named Gina. She was 3 years older than me, and I met her online, oddly enough, but we were inseparable. We hung out almost every day. She was a part of my family, just as I was apart of hers. We did EVERYTHING together and the hijinx we we pulled could fill a book.
When I was about 18, my mom repaired a relationship with her estranged sisters. It brought to my life new relationships with my cousins whom I had not seen since I was 4 or 5. In that process, I became super close with my cousin, Terri. Terri eventually moved down here and moved in with my family and I. Gina, Terri and I were an inseparable threesome! For the most part. I love Terri to ends of the Earth and back, but she is the jealous type. With love relationships as well as friendships and family. She didn't always get a long with Gina, and often found ways to pick her apart. Usually to me. Always planting a seed...
One of my good friends during those years was a guy named Tom. Tom was like a big brother to me, and before Terri moved down here, him, Gina, and I ALWAYS hung out and caused trouble. When Terri moved in, Tom fell in love! Eventually, they ended up dating, and then getting married. In the end, after 6 years together, and 4 years married, Tom split. Just one day, stopped coming home. There was a strong suspicion he was cheating, but it was never confirmed. He just stopped answering questions. I am not going to say living with, and being with my cousin is easy. 99% of the fights they had, I truly believed Terri was in the wrong. However, the way he chose to end it was not right, and downright cowardly. By this time, however, Gina and I were no longer friends. Not saying it was Terri's fault, but the seed of betrayal she planted in my head about Gina didn't really help matters...
About 3 years after that, Terri and I were out one night at our local watering hole that we went to every.murther.freaking.weekend (I met BFF Rose there!), and we ran into Gina. It was a surprise! We sorta started chatting a bit and discovered that she had the same weight loss surgery I did, at the same place, about a month a part! We started talking and realized that we could totally share clothes. We got together once after that, and I invited her to meet up with us a few times (she did) and it was kinda nice. She was married to the guy she was dating last time we were friends, and all was well. She had casually brought up about Terri not being with Tom (I don't think it was intended to "start" anything. I think it was kind of the elephant in the room because Tom always kinda kept Terri tucked away in the house dressed in sweat pants and t-shirts, and here she was dressed sexy, at a bar, hanging all over guys) Terri asked if she really didn't know what had happened. Gina said she didn't only she had heard they weren't together through the grapevine. We told her the story and she seemed shocked.
About a month later, we found out her and Tom were still good friends and they hung out quite a bit. Terri felt betrayed and like Gina was "spying" on her for Tom. As Terri's cousin and family member I felt betrayed for her (It was kind of expected of me), and we were no longer friends. Personally, I felt as if it really had nothing to do with Gina and I, and all to do with Tom and Terri. I felt like while maybe Gina should have made it known when Tom was first being discussed that they were still friends, I honestly didn't feel she really did anything so wrong as to just not be friends anymore...but I felt this undying loyalty to my cousin...I think the last time we "broke up" as friends was due to Tom and Terri as well. I don't know. I can't remember...
Anyway, the bridge back to friendship that we had started to build, quickly came down. Things were said. Nasty, mean, hurtful things, were said. I know at least on our side. I can't remember if they were said on her side, but they probably were. That was that. I was 26 when all that happened. I am 30 now. We have not spoken since. One time when I was about 27 I was going tanning at the place where I tanned, and Gina was walking in. We caught eyes for a brief second before I ducked behind the door to the room I was just in. I waited until I knew she had passed by and gone into her room (it was a VERY small hallway. We would have HAD to interact....and I am a chicken). That was the last time I saw her.
Since we stopped talking, a LOT has happened in my life. I've grown up. I've matured. I've learned that there is only one person in charge of me and how I do things and that's me. I've learned that I can't spend my life letting other people dictate who I can and can not be friends with. I've always felt that Gina and I had no reasons NOT to still be friends. The issues were never with US or between US....it was a;ways OTHER people in our lives that pulled us in different directions and made us feel like we shouldn't be friends. Terri is my cousin, my FAMILY, and I love her to bits. She is insecure, and comes off bossy and mean, but really...that's just the insecurity :) She is a lovely person (even though this blog post paints her in a negative light...it's really just situational) and I would still do anything to help her out if she was in trouble. However, as life often does, we have sort of gone our separate paths in life.
She met a guy at a party who was in town visiting his sister (co-host of the party) from the town that Terri is from. They hit it off, and within 2 weeks she had quit her job here, packed up her things, and moved in with him! They now have their own place, and a daughter who just turned 3! Terri and I had been so close and so inseparable, people were worried about me in her absence. However, I was just fine. Mostly friendless (she chased off most anyone who tried to be my friend lol!) but that's when BFF Rose and I went from being friends to being Best friends because she was in a similar situation.
Anyways, Life went on. I met Bee, started my life out "here" with him, and I have tried to keep as many friendships alive that I have forged over the last several years, vowing to not let anyone get in the way of someone I call my friend. Terri and I still talk. However, instead of every day, hours at a time, it's once or twice every couple of months. Mostly on facebook, but sometimes through text. She is busy with her daughter and work, and whenever I make it up to the "D", I try to stop in and see her. We pick up like we never put down, and have a great time in few hours we spend together.
Over the past 5 years I've thought about Gina. Wondered what she was up to. I saw she had a facebook, and from time to time, I'd try to look at her page, but it was mostly private so I couldn't see much. I did notice though she got divorced and remarried and that she looked happy. I wondered if she thought about me at all. Maybe tried checking my facebook. I wondered what would happen if I friend requested her? If I messaged her? Would she lash out and be super mean? Would she accept my friend request? Would she forgive me? Would I catch heat from people for reaching out to her? Then, I've move along and say "Maybe another day".
In the two years I have known Bee, I have shared a lot about myself and who I was in my past. The experiences I've had. My funny stories. My scary stories. Happy and Sad. When I stopped and thought about it for a few minutes, I realized that 95% of my stories start with "Well, this one time, my friend Gina and I...." It sorta clicked. Life is too short. Gina and I were great friends and I honestly can't think of a time where she personally every betrayed ME personally, or hurt ME personally in any way. I also miss our friendship, and decided last night to swallow my pride and write to her. So I did. I told her I often thought about her, I was older and more mature and I figured she was too. The problems of the past are IN the past, and they weren't really ours to begin with. I said if she wanted to just delete my letter and move on with her life, than that was fine, but I wanted her to know I was sorry we weren't friends anymore and while we don't HAVE to become super BFF again, I'd like us to at least be able to say "hi" on facebook from time to time :) Of course, this was done with buckets of encouragement from Bee who's been begging me to do this for at least 6 months....He really doesn't like to see people be mad at each other...especially since he can tell we were close once, and that Gina is someone he totally would love to meet because of some of the stories and what not I have told.
About 10:30 last night I got a friend request and a comment from her. :) She also wrote me a quick email this morning explaining that she is really busy today, but wanted to send off a quick note. She misses me and the past is the past and she looks forward to catching up. That is so very awesome to me! :)
One bit of sad news though....her mom, which I loved as if she were my own mom (and is actually the central figure in a lot of the Monkee/Gina stories) sadly passed away this Thanksgiving.
Cue the song "Cats in the Cradle".
Life really is too short ya'll. I am getting the blessing of reconnecting with a great friend. Unfortunately, due to my procrastinating, I did not get to say goodbye to her mom :(