Jenny's Mouthwash: The Goodbye Kid

Grant was like a brother to me.

We used to do everything together, since birth.

As little kids living in Florida, we would run along the beach, collecting sea shells and riding the waves. We would spend weekends playing our favorite computer games and having sleepovers. We loved to turn off all the lights at night and see who could scare the crap out of the other with the most frightening ghost story.

He was the first person to read every single story I ever wrote. He loved them all and it really boosted my confidence. His belief in me shaped the writer I am today. He thought I was awesome, and I believed he was right.

When we were in middle school, Grant bought best friends necklaces for us. We wore those necklaces every single day until high school.

That's when things started to change.

We didn't hang out as much. Grant was the baseball star of his high school and all his best friends were preppy jocks. He grew tall and handsome and muscular. Girls were crazy about him and I didn't blame them.

I grew in another direction. I became editor of my high school newspaper. My friends thrived on academia and preferred poetry slams at coffee shops, rather than attending football games.

By the time we got to college, we still e-mailed occasionally but we rarely spoke in person.

I went to a university in a big city and by coincidence, Grant ended up getting a baseball scholarship at a college three hours away from me, in a little country town. He joined a fraternity and started a cocaine-using partying lifestyle unrecognizable to me.

I went to visit him a couple times, but he kept making excuses for returning the favor. He kept promising he'd visit. He kept making plans and cancelling them at the last minute. Finally, he did make it to the city for a baseball conference, and one morning we agreed to meet at a small diner an hour away from my apartment.

I sat there in the parking lot, waiting...waiting...for two hours. He finally called and said he wouldn't be able to make it. He was too hungover and he didn't want to make the 15 minute drive from his hotel.

We haven't spoken since.

I found out from his mom a few years later, that during college he used to come up to the big city all the time with his fellow frat brothers, but was careful never to tell me. I guess he didn't think I was cool enough to hang out with his friends.

I found out on facebook he's living in Chicago and he is engaged now, to a girl who is just as superficial as him. He's no longer on speaking terms with his family, because they think she's a manipulative bitch. But he doesn't care. She's rich and high-society and she got him a manager position at her daddy's construction firm.

Sometimes it's hard to swallow how people who were once so close, grew so far apart. How can two people who were inseparable during childhood become strangers as adults?

Was he always a douchebag? Did I just never notice? When did I start being too uncool to hang out with? Was it when I got braces?

Sometimes I don't like to remember my childhood, because I can still feel his presence in my life, like it was yesterday.

And it breaks my heart to know my happiest memories involve running along the beach, shouting with laughter, with a best friend who would one day fade away as quickly as the grains of sand dispersing through the wind.

Jennifer of I Know, Right? Is a monthly writer here on the blog. She is an amazing friend, writer and wonderfully gifted in her frank outlook on the world around her. Be sure to check out her blog!



Swarnali said...

@Jenny_Aww its really terrible when people who were once the best of mates become total strangers all of a sudden. I love your frank opinions on sensitive issues like this. :)

@Amber_I found your blog through Jenny's link and I totally love it. Am following you. And I believe you have given Jenny a platform to say things that she could not write on her blog.

Shalini said...

I bet he was always a douchebag. Gah.

French Girl in Seattle said...

This one is not going to cheer you up, dear girl ;-) A touching story, written in your inimitable style. I always admire how straightforward you are. It is refreshing in this very PC world we live in. You and your childhood friend have certainly evolved in different (and even opposite) directions. Does this mean he was bad all along? Probably not. You made different choices; met different friends; have different objectives. Your friendship is only alive in your memories now, and that is all right. It is his loss, really, Jenny. Wish him best of luck, and move on. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Ingrid said...

I've lost SOO many childhood friends..c'est la vie :(

I found your blog through Jenny's link :)

btd. said...

I know how you feel about this way too much. This is how me and my sister grew apart. I became too "uncool" for her.

Barry said...

I always appreciate hearing these stories from you about your life Jen.

Whether through death or drifting apart it's never easy to lose someone. This will probably sound cheesy but I've found life has a definite ebb and flow. Sometimes we change and/or outgrow each other, sometimes we have to say goodbye to old friends but new ones do come along. These relationships aren't the same but can still be as meaningful to us.

Nicole✗✗ said...

Jenny, this was a wonderfully written story but unfortunate. Honestly he doesn't deserve you as a friend and is probably really unhappy with himself. You are simply amazing!!

Christina Lala Lamz said...

I really appreciate how openly you write about your life and thoughts.
One day he's going to wake up and realize that he has pushed all the people who really cared about him away. And then it's going to be too late.

Meri said...

People really can change. Better for you to cut your losses. I hope only much better people come into your life in the future Jenn!

azu said...

Jen, I know all too well what it's like to lose a friend (or two) like this. This has happened to me twice and I'm sure it's happened to a lot of us. There is a quote that my dad told me that goes "No hay peor siego que ni el que no quiera ver." It pretty much means "the worst kind of blind man is the one that does not want to see."

People just make stupid choices and refuse to see what is around them.


The Woven Moments said...

I don't believe DB's are born. They are made (of their own doing or someone else's).

And I also think that people can change. Not that we should wait for them, but maybe keep the door cracked in case he changes down the road.

Life is one great lesson in humility - sounds like he hasn't gotten his yet. But he will!

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