In high school, I was friends with a girl named Melody. She was my best friend for a very brief period in ninth grade. Not only was she smart and beautiful, she had this voice- it was amazing! I loved listening to her sing in choir and was kind of jealous because she was in the mixed choir that school year which was usually reserved for eleventh and twelfth graders. I was only in the women’s choir- anyone could be in that.
The best part about Melody, though, was her love for Dax. Because I loved Matt. And they were friends. The four of us were in geometry together (Aaahhh! Freshmen in a sophomore class!). Melody and I nicknamed them Barney and… oh, I can’t remember! I don’t even remember which one was Barney. But we nicknamed them because we were constantly passing notes back and forth about those two boys and we thought it best if we didn’t write their actual names, just in case.
Melody and I went to a lot of Dax’s soccer games. He was good and I remember thinking he had cute legs. Matt didn’t play but he was always at the games, too, so it was a win-win situation. It’s a lot easier to stare, whisper and giggle about boys you love at a soccer game than in geometry class. Neither of us understood soccer, but that didn’t stop us from begging to go to every home game that some parent or another would take us to.
Early in the school year, a few months after our friendship started, Melody told me she had a secret. But she couldn’t tell me for a couple of months. Oh, the things that ran through my mind! Did she know that Matt did like me? Well, why couldn’t she tell me? Were she and Dax secretly dating? No, she couldn’t even talk to him. Most of my speculations on this secret centered around boys. For months, I begged and pleaded with her to tell me the secret. I would wait a few days and then ask, “Can you tell me yet?” and then wait a few days more and ask again each time she said no. It was killing me!
Finally, sometime in the spring, she told me her secret. She and her family were moving away. Her dad, a minister of music, had gotten a job in a church down South. They would move that summer. Melody would be gone.
I remember her being excited about this- telling me this secret as if it weren’t the worst thing in the world. Meanwhile, I was crushed. In my anger and hurt, all I could do was push Melody away. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until years later. We still hung out, but I was always mean to her. I was snippy and sassy and got angry with her for no reason. At one point, I think I went a couple of days without even talking to her. That sweet girl, though, she kept coming around. I doubt she realized what I was doing or why, but she didn’t give up on me. She was my friend, right on until the day she left.
After she moved, pre-email, we wrote letters to each other for a long time. I still have them somewhere… maybe. Melody was enjoying her new life and making new friends. I was making friends, too. She asked about Dax and Matt occassionally and told me about boys she met. I told her when I started dating Eddie and what plays I was doing. Eventually, we both went to college. She got married and invited me to the wedding. My sister and I drove all the way to Jasper, GA just to say hey and give her a hug. Then we drove all the way back. I kind of wanted to tell her I was sorry for how I treated her. Her wedding probably wasn’t the right time to do that, though, so I didn’t.
We’re friends now on Facebook, but we haven’t talked much. She’s married with a couple of kiddos. I live in Guatemala. I don’t know what we’d have in common now.
Why am I thinking about this? Because the goodbyes have started here and it always makes me a little sad. I’m glad I can handle myself better, not push people away because they’re leaving. But being a grown-up doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye. Facebook and email do…