This note is from my friend Megan*. Megan and I had a very serious, very intense, very brief (8th to 9th grade - probably shouldn't count the summer) friendship, and after that it faded until we were simply acquaintances whose only ties were based on mutual interests and some social group crossover.
I can't speak for her, but I'd say that the basis of our friendship from 1998 to 1999 was probably the following things:
- the art of letter-writing
- classical music, theater; doing anything related to those
- feeling superior to other people because we liked classical music, theater, letter-writing and tea
And that's pretty much it. That's a friendship that doesn't last when you're 14, but when you're 14, it's a friendship that looks like what you think must be an adult friendship, which everyone tells you will last forever. So you think it's going to last forever. It's telling that I don't remember much of the actual things we did together - I remember the things we imagined together.
I imagined Megan and I swapping out our tea for martinis and her performing classical music and theater and my writing about classical music and theater, but the letter-writing would remain the same, because that's just what the civilized world does. Megan had, like most of the girls I loved being friends with, a rich verbal and imaginative life - we could talk and pantomime and dress up and use props to our hearts content to create any scenario and fulfill any fantasy or "future self" we wanted without much effort. We fed off of each other, making crystal palaces out of our suburban homes; intelligent, sophisticated, confident women out of our impatient adolescent selves.
Megan wrote me in her beautiful handwriting most often during science class; there must have been some sort of health or physiology section that February, or maybe we actually had a health class - I don't remember. Either way, I bet I was also depressed and intrigued by the alcoholism stories. In junior high, if you're still a little sheltered (like we were) and you're not drinking, or know anyone who is drinking, or know any alcoholics - alcoholism is something that sounds incredibly exciting, disturbing and adult. Even as a kid, I liked to pull down the crystal decanter and put cream soda in it, pretending it was whiskey. We were obsessed with getting there, getting to adulthood, getting to where we thought our lives were going to begin; watching videos on how people finally - finally! - got to drink and then were apparently so overwhelmed by it they "threw their lives away" as the announcers would gravely pronounce - WAS depressing. Was it possible that we'd get just that far to screw it up and never get to really live? Were we to be left wanting forever?
By the time the lecture got to hormones, I'm not surprised she was tired of it. Learning about how our bodies were changing because of them, and that they had their own timetable, and that we had to go through all these changes to get through where we were to where we wanted to be - only to find out maybe we didn't really want it - or maybe we couldn't handle it - might be a bit much for one class period.
*Name changed to protect people from other people finding out they wrote me letters I now put on the internet please don't kill me.