…but sometimes they don’t. I learned that the hard way in third grade when I confessed my crush to my “best” friend.
Truthfully it had been two years since I could call her a best friend, ever since Farrah Hopewell repeated first grade and became our classmate. Over thirty years passed before I realized Farrah wasn’t left back because she didn’t make the grade (even if she did have a lisp to grow out of). No, Farrah got straight As. But she was on the young side and showed early promise in sports, and as I myself became an adult, I realized her parents were exactly the type to exercise every competitive advantage at their disposal.
Besides stealing my best friend, Farrah wasn’t guilty of any social crimes. No, that distinction belonged to one Celeste Marie Stanley, who was whispering in the ear of Chuck DiNatale and looking in my direction. The worst part was I didn’t even like Chuck; she did. I just said I liked him too, so we could have something in common. I liked Joey Cataldo, but he was a year younger, and nobody would understand that.
“You never swore me to secrecy,” she later told me. I thought back on the conversation and she was right; only Celeste had said, “you have to promise not to tell anyone.” I was too inexperienced to realize NDAs don’t go two ways.
In high school I met a new best friend, the kind that feature in Nickelodeon shows or they write about in baby-sitting club books. I found out I plundered her from another girl, just like had happened to me. I didn’t mean to.
I trusted Liv with all my secrets, which were pretty average for a fourteen year old girl: who I liked, who I didn’t like, the fact that my first period/her fifth period teacher had a stalker, etc.
After what happened with Celeste, I knew to pinky promise Liv if I intended to keep confidential my crush on Tom Larkin.
“He’s on the soccer team with Chris, ya know.” Her older brother. I knew.
“If you want I can mention it…” She let her voice trail off.
I thought about it and decided the risk was worth it. A few days later, Tom had my phone number, we got dismissed early from field hockey, and I watched him score two goals in his soccer game. It was the best day of my life.
A few weeks after that I suffered the worst day of my life when Tom broke up with me inexplicably.
I had too much pride to cry about it in front of Liv, but she knew I had privately. She was my best friend. I told her everything.
That’s why it broke my heart late one night when, exasperated, she said to me, “I like people all the time. I just don’t tell you.”
Girls keep secrets… That’s why I let Liv find out through the grapevine the next time I had a juicy one.