“Natasha!” Britney whined in her squeaky baby voice. “What am I going to do about this boy?”
“Brit, he asked you on a date. Just be excited!” I said, somewhat exasperated. We’d been on this topic for the past two days and she wouldn’t let up no matter what I said. At this point, I’d resigned myself to laying on her bedroom floor and looking up at the ceiling as she paced back in forth in front of her closet. I was desperately trying to be empathetic- after all, I was just as depressed as she was, albeit for different reasons. But, there was only so much of her crises I could take. All she ever did lately was dump her burdens onto my shoulders, knowing full well I could barely hold the weight of my own.
“But what if he wants something serious? I’m not ready, not after all the heartbreak I’ve been through with John.”
“He thought you were cute and he asked you out. That’s normal- you and John’s situation is totally different.” I glanced over to see her contemplating the same boring t-shirt dress she always wore.
“What do you think of this?” she asked me for the second time.
“You know what I think-it’s too plain and gives you no shape. If you wear it, you at least have to add an accessory. Like the necklace I just got you!” I said enthusiastically, proud of myself for thinking of the idea.
“Oh, I think that it’s still in my mom’s car, sorry” she said disinterestedly as she stared at herself in the mirror.
You think it’s in your mom’s car from three days ago? You can’t even pretend to like something I get you enough to bring it into your fucking house? Ten years of friendship and you’re up to the same shit…
I peered back up at the ceiling, doing my best to casually brush off what she’d just said. “What about the pretty, strapless, floral dress from before?”
“It makes me look too girly. I go for the nun-look so that creepy guys won’t hit on me. You can thank all the players I’ve had to deal with for that.”
I closed my eyes and rolled them so that she wouldn’t see. I knew that by ‘players’ she meant friendly strangers that had hit on her in college and John, the boy she never actually dated. It was true that John led her on and what he did was awful. But, she constantly acted as if they’d gotten a divorce when all they ever were was friends.
“You shouldn’t let guys hitting on you prevent you from wanting to look a certain way,” I told her. “You deserve to feel beautiful in whatever way makes you comfortable.”
“I like my t-shirt dress!” she exclaimed.
“If you say so,” I replied.
What she failed to remember-as she always did- was that I knew her better than she knew herself. I knew she liked John before she admitted to herself that she did. And I knew this ‘nun’ look of hers was just a shield she chose to hide behind because she was afraid this new guy was going to be another ‘player’.
Yet, for all of my knowing there’s things I didn’t see coming. I failed to see how she would cast our plans aside in exchange for something and someone else. I failed to see how she would try to make up for it with the lame excuse of being ‘too overwhelmed by it all’. I failed to see how she would expect me to stand by and act unaffected. I don’t know how I could’ve been so foolish, she’d done it all before. And she’d do it again if she could.
That’s why I made damn sure it’d be the last time.