When I was going into the ninth grade, I knew I was not going to be very popular. First of all, I still drew cats wearing prom dresses in chalk on the sidewalks. Second of all, in middle school I had managed to finagle a couple of friends, but in the new school our classes didn’t line up. And so that first day of high school, I was a little anxious as I walked to the bus stop. I ran my clammy hands up and down the cloth strap of my brightly embroidered farmer’s market bag (seriously). Who would I hang out with now? (And, as I wrote in my diary, “what about boys? Don’t they get beards in high school? AHHHH!”)
So the most wonderful thing I could possibly see that morning under the stop sign was Melissa Machovsky, the sweetest girl from our fifth grade class.
“Annie?” she said.
“Oh, I go by Adrianne now,” I said.
“Okay. Want to sit next to each other on the bus?”
Melissa became that friend for me, that girls get. Hanging out after school every day. Sleepovers every weekend. Notes passed back and forth in French class. How is it we never ran out of things to talk about? We lived only a few blocks away from each other, which made the ties even easier. We joined theater together, worked on sets, got crushes on boys, got our licenses and drove each other around. The greatest thing in the world was laying on her family’s trampoline and eating Golden Grahams out of the box.
Our junior year, we started dating two guys who were also friends. I still distinctly remember the double date we went on to the lake, walking in couples to opposite ends of the dock. Immediately upon getting into the car for our ride home together I squealed at her. “Melissa! I got GROPED!” She jumped and clapped in her seat. “Me TOO!”
And a year ago she called me in Boston. I don’t answer my phone much: mostly because it’s been broken for a while, but also because I’m rarely in its vicinity, and also because I hate phones, but the fates conspired to show me her name on the caller ID and I jumped on it. Was she okay? We never talk on the phone! What’s going on?
“We’re engaged!” she said. “AHHHH!” I said. “I know you’re in Boston, and travel isn’t always possible . . . so if you can’t come I understand,” she said. “PFFFFT!” I said. “PFFT PFFT. PFFFFFFFFT!”