|Melissa & Heather, circa 1989|
When Jennifer introduced the topic of best friends, I knew I’d be telling you about my bestie, Heather. That’s a no-brainer. What I didn’t know was specifically what I’d tell you. We go way back, people. I’ve got more than twenty years of material to choose from! Do I share the tale of our epic—and semi-nude—adventures backpacking through Italy and Greece? Nah. Who wants to see topless photos of eighteen-year-old girls? Perverts, that’s who. And our readers aren’t perverts.
So, instead, I decided to tie in the topic of friendship with something every writer (and BFF) knows well—and that’s conflict.
All friends fight. I maintain you’re a freak of nature if you don’t. But many years ago, Heather and I quarreled over something stupid, and we didn’t speak for nearly three years afterwards. Yeah, you heard that right. Three years. I’ll woman up and claim responsibility—it was my fault.
I’d been dating Heather’s older brother, and when the relationship ended and she sent me an email asking why, I lost my shit and got defensive. I told her it was none of her business, or something equally rude and un-BFF-like. She did the logical thing and backed off, and then it began: The Silence.
Nothing suffocates friendship like The Silence. Because each day you don’t speak, the “what if’s” grow louder, planting doubts in your mind like, What if I reach out and she snubs me? What if she hates me now? And after years have gone by, What if it’s awkward between us? What if we can’t get it back?
I was an emotional wussy, choosing silence instead of growing a pair and apologizing. But luckily for me, Heather’s got some serious brass berries. One day, she sent me an email, basically saying, “Look. I don’t remember why we’re fighting, but this is stupid, and I miss you.” I snatched that olive branch with both hands and never looked back.
Now we’re like this again ::crosses fingers:: separated by time zones, not conflict. In fact, my husband complains that Heather and I sound like a pair of lovers when we post Miss you! or Love you! on each other’s Facebook pages. We stay in touch and get together once a year, usually each spring, for a BFF getaway. Speaking of which, I could use that vacation right about now!
|Posing with our anatomically-correct snow couple. (1990)|
As for my writing, I’ve noticed themes of fractured friendships in both my books. In OUTWORLDERS, my YA sci-fi, the main character and her best friend don’t speak for months. And when they finally make up, they’re quickly separated again…by galaxies. In my adult romance, the main character is reunited with her best friend after a ten-year rift…and that best friend happens to be her super-sexy first love!
(I should probably disclose that my BFF is super-sexy, but I don’t swing that way. Love ‘ya, Heather!)
|Melissa & Heather, circa 2009|
Now it’s your turn! Tell me about a time you fought with a good friend. Or better yet, tell me how you reconnected with one!