By Alexis A. McCoy Gonzalez
Have you ever met a person that just understood you right away? That was me and my friend Mary we met during our first day of high school, we instantly connected. We both were complaining about having gym as our first period of the day. Our disgust for sweating in the morning brought us closer after that day we were always attached at the hip. Mary was outgoing and extremely determined to become this big Broadway actor her dream was to move to New York and became a big star. I always knew she had the talent to take on Broadway. High school ended, and it was time for us to follow our dreams. Mary was accepted into New York Acting School and I was accepted into Howard University School of Law. Our schools weren’t that far from one another, so visiting every weekend was an option. We saw each other through bad breakups, major accomplishments, and new beginnings. None of what we went through couldn’t stop life’s evolution from having her way. After we graduated for college, I decided to move back home to Atlanta to work for my father’s law firm and Mary chose to stay in New York. We continued to visit one another but as time went on our friendship changed. We had both moved forward and created new lives. When Mary had gotten engaged to her college boyfriend Nick she instantly called me and told me the big news. I was so excited for my sister! She had asked me to be her maid of honor and I quickly accepted the job. I was excited to be a part of another special moment in my sister’s life. I had planned to go to New York to help her pick out a wedding dress and I must have gotten the dates mixed up in my calendar. I received a call from her late one Friday night asking me what time my flight was getting in. Confused by the question I said “love, I’m not flying in until next weekend for the dress fitting”. She responded angrily “Tara, the dressing fitting is tomorrow!”. I quickly began to apologize and told her that I am going to do whatever it takes to get a flight out of Atlanta to be there for her fitting tomorrow. Her response was “do what you got to do” and hung up the phone. I spent all night trying to switch my flight. My next best option was to get a new plane ticket to New York but even that was no luck. When I called Mary back to deliver the bad news, she responded calmly “it’s okay, I’ll have Lisa send you pictures if I find anything”. I felt so horrible, I couldn’t believe I was missing such an important day in my sister’s life, especially since we never missed important moments. After that day our friendship had a stain on it. Since I was her maid of honor, it was my responsibility to plan the Bachelorette Party and I was planning a very festive weekend. Friday night I had planned a nice dinner at Mary’s favorite rooftop restaurant in New York. On Saturday we would spend the entire day at the spa , then that night we’d go out dancing at a nice club in the city. Closing out the weekend with a nice brunch at Mary’s condo. It was going to be festive weekend. I spent weeks planning and sending out invitations for me to arrived New York and not have some place to stay. The original plan was for me to stay at Mary’s condo in her guest room, but when I arrived, she had already offered the room to her friend Lisa. Lisa and Mary went to college together and became very close over the years. Lisa was always very nice. Sometimes all three of us would get together when I had the chance to visit New York. At the time she was living in Connecticut with her husband and didn’t want to commute back and forth that weekend, so Mary offered her guest room. To not cause any drama, I just booked a room at a hotel not too far from Mary’s condo building. That weekend we had a wonderful time. Mary was a little apprehensive towards me, but I figured she was still upset about me missing her dress fitting. So, that Sunday I arrived at Mary’s house a little early to set-up the table and to meet the private chef that was cooking the brunch. As I’m setting up Mary asked to speak with me for a moment. We stepped into her office, and she closed the door behind her. She had this nervous look on her face we took a sit on the couch and I asked “love, is everything okay?”. She quickly got up from the couch and started pacing back and forth. She said “T, I want to thank you so much for everything you did for me this weekend, it was amazing. I know you have a lot going on right now with work since your dad has been out sick and planning a wedding is very stressful. I need someone that’s able to commit fully to aiding me. So, I have decided that Lisa should be my maid of honor”. When she said that my heart dropped into my stomach. I was so hurt. She mentioned that Lisa lived closer and could be there to help her when she needs it. She went on to say it was hard for her to make the decision and that she appreciates me so much. I looked at her and said “I understand. you must do what’s best for you”. I got up from the couch, walked out the room, and finished setting up. At brunch all of the ladies were having a good time. I just sat with this pleasant look on my face and a horrible feeling on the inside. All I could tell myself was it’s her wedding and if that’s what she wanted to do, that I had to accept it. After the weekend was over, Mary and I really didn’t speak too often. We would text one another to check in, but other than that, we really didn’t have much to talk about. A month passed and Mary’s wedding had arrived. She looked beautiful in her dress. I stood behind Lisa with tears in my eyes watching my sister marry the love of her life. After the wedding, I went back to Atlanta and continued living my life. Our friendship was still tainted but we still stayed connected. Surprisingly things took a major turn when my father passed away the following year. I was really broken up about it. I called Mary multiple times that day and she didn’t answer. A couple of days later she texted me and said “I’m sorry to hear about your dad”. Not once did I get “call me and let me know if you need anything”. I was so hurt this was my best friend. I definitely deserved more than a text. After that day I didn’t reach out to her again. A few weeks later she and her family showed up at my father’s funeral. I sat in the front row with my eyes full of tears as I listened to people share the wonderful moments they had with my father. After the funeral, everyone was invited over to my parents house. I didn’t feel like talking, so I went into my father’s office and sat at his desk chair looking at old pictures. Mary knocks on the door and enters with a plate of food. She said “your mom asked me to come in and bring you a plate”. I said “thanks, just sit it there and I’ll get”. She sat the plate on the table and began to walk around the office. Softly she said “his office hasn’t changed one bit”. She noticed a picture of us when we won the talent show our freshman year. Out of excitement she said “oh my goodness! I haven’t seen this picture in years!”. She instantly grabbed it off the shelf and showed it to me. She spoke about how we practiced for hours on that dance routine, and how much of a hot miss outfits were. I sat ignoring her rambling on about the past. After moments of letting her jabber on, I stopped her and asked “Mary what do you want?!”. She took a deep breath and said “I’m coming to see if you’re okay”. I asked “now you want to know if I’m okay?”. She replied “what is that supposed to mean!?”. I said “my father died a three weeks ago and I haven’t heard a word from you!. I called you multiple times the day he died and you didn’t even answer, but you had the audacity to just send me text. A text?!”. Taken back by my outburst, She said “I thought that would be okay because that’s how we have been communicating for the past year and a half. All I could say was “wow Mary I suspected things had changed between us, but that statement just confirmed it”. Mary placed the picture on the desk and walked towards the door to leave. She stopped and said “T, when you’re ready to talk I’m here” and she walked away, closing the door behind her. I sat there as tears filled up my eyes. Mary and I didn’t speak or seen one another for a year. That following year I had gotten engaged to my high school boyfriend, Lance. my friends had thrown me an engagement party at this restaurant in downtown Atlanta. My fiancé made it his business to invite Mary and Nick. When they walked in, Mary and I instantly made eye contact and awkwardly smiled at one another. For a majority of that night, we avoided each other. Mary was standing at the bar ordering another drink and I decided to join her. I walked over to bar and stood beside her. I said “hey”. She smiled and said “hey, congratulations”. I said “thanks who would have thought me and Lance would ever get married” She said to me, “I always knew Lance was the one for you”.?I said “that’s right! I forgot Lance was always your favorite”. She laughed and said “he is! you two are perfect for one another”. I said “thanks”. We sat in silence for a moment. After a few second I said “look I’m sorry for the way I acted the last time we saw one another”. She said “please don’t, I should be apologizing. I should have been there for you,I just didn’t know how. Things between us had changed so much that I didn’t know how to be a part of your life”. I said “yeah, I felt the same way. It’s like our friendship lost its foundation. She said “I missed you so much friend!. Tears came to my eyes as I said “I missed you too friend!”. We hugged one another tightly. I said “let’s start over!”. She asked “okay, but what does that mean?”. I told her “let’s start by talking on the phone again and getting to know one another as the women we are today”. She screamed “I love it!”. That night we drank, laughed and danced like old times. Mary and I speak almost every day now. We had to grow apart to discover ourselves and now we are able to be true friends to one another. True friendship takes work on both sides. I am excited to grow old with my sister.