I wrote about organizing a school dance with my friend J. in this post, and as mentioned there, we had some left-over money after returning the unopened bottles of soda. J. was the one who put the returned money in her wallet to return to the teacher, and I put it out of my mind. Never had I thought it would come back to nearly destroy our friendship.
A couple of months later, there was a big party for the first three grades of our high school. My friend J. had gotten money from her paternal grandmother to buy some clothes for the party. But, J.’s parents were divorced and her home situation was a bit weird. Her mother, whom she lived with, had this weird rule that whatever she got from her father (or that side of the family) was to stay at her father’s. So she basically had two separate lives. If she were to buy clothes from the money her grandmother had given her, she wouldn’t be able to wear them to the party because of this rule. So, we made the deal that we’d go together to buy clothes, I would take everything home with me. J. would spend the night of the party with me, so she could dress in the clothes without her mother finding out. My mother would wash them and J. would then smuggle them to her father’s house when she went there for the weekend, without anyone being the wiser.
We had a lot of fun buying the clothes, right until the end, when we were in the check-out line. J. saw a scarf she wanted to have too, but she didn’t have enough money to buy it. However, she remembered then that she still had the money from returning the soda bottles in her wallet. I was unhappy with the fact that she still hadn’t returned it, but she swore she’d give the teacher the money just as soon as she got her allowance the next week. There wasn’t a lot more I could say and she bought the scarf. The next week she did indeed pay the teacher back, the party was great, and that should’ve been the end of it. It wasn’t.
Sometime later, I think it was a week or two, I was watching a movie on the tv in my room. I can still remember what movie it was, because it was such a good movie, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, with Whoopi Goldberg. The movie hadn’t been going for more than fifteen minutes when my mother came upstairs with the phone, telling me J.’s mother wanted to talk to me. I took the phone call, and got a very angry mother on the phone. Apparently, she’d discovered the scarf J. had bought, hadn’t been happy that her daughter had bought it and had questioned her about it. J. had told her mother I had loaned her the money for it, which was in her eyes unacceptable, as I was thereby helping J. break the rules she’d set for her daughter. I was at first speechless, but then I became angry. It was one thing for me to keep my mouth shut about J. breaking rules, but it was something else entirely to have J. lie about my involvement to keep herself out of trouble. So I told J.’s mother everything, about the clothes, the borrowed money, and the party. J.’s mother apologized for getting angry at me and said she was going to have another talk with J. We hung up and I went back to watching the movie, still angry at J.
Half an hour later, the phone went again. This time it was J., in tears. I was still very mad at her and at first refused to take her phone call. My mother persuaded me to at least hear her out. I took the phone and J. apologized to me. I told her why I’d been so angry, and she promised never to put me in such a position again. I accepted her apology and we hung up.
Our friendship, however, never truly recovered from this incident. We stayed friends for another two years, but kept growing further and further apart. It didn’t help that her home situation worsened and that, looking back, she had a lot of problems with her self-image. In the end, I sat down with J. and told her I thought our friendship as it stood wasn’t working any longer. That I needed more space than she was giving me and that maybe it was best if we stopped being friends. She wasn’t happy about it, but she did agree. We parted ways amicably, still talked to each other once in a while, and greeted each other when we saw one another. Two years later, we graduated high school and I never saw her again. I do not miss our friendship, but I do hope that she’s in a better place than she was when we were friends.