Confession.. I don't have a ton of close friends. It's a long story, I'll explain. I grew up in Maryland, and in middle and high school, I had a core group of friends, one of whom, Lauren, was my best friend since 5th grade. We all went through our middle school drama, but we all remained friends throughout high school. Lauren and I did everything together. Sleepovers every weekend, talked on the phone everyday (house phones baby, I didn't get a cell til halfway through 10th grade), you know the high-school-best-friend drill.. That is, until June of 2006, a few weeks after high school graduation. In Maryland, all high-school graduates pretty much venture down to Ocean City for Senior Week. Me? I was not interested. Seriously. I was an angel child throughout high school and never did anything wrong. I was too scared and I also felt no desire to drink at age 17. Lauren, however, was different.
During our senior year, we'd had some issues. The summer before senior year, her on-off boyfriend of like 2 years got increasingly stalkerish and violent (as in, stole her house key-made a copy-broke into her house while she was away- kind of creepy). Finally after he'd looked in the windows of my house when my parents were away and Lauren was spending the night, I'd had enough of it and told her so (it's more complicated than that but I'm not trying to write a novel here) and we got into a fight and didn't talk for a few months. During that time, she started falling in with a bad crowd (dun dun dun). She stopped playing soccer which she'd always loved and started hanging out with people who, let's just put it this way, I wouldn't want to even leave my purse sitting around.
Anyways, halfway through senior year, she apologized for everything, mea culpa, mea culpa, and everything pretty much went back to normal, so I thought. So Lauren begged me (and some other acquaintances) to come stay for senior week at her uncle's house in Bethany (about 25 min up the road from Ocean City). I'd been to her uncle's house many times before and it was extremely nice, I wouldn't have to spend much money, it wasn't in OC, and she promised it'd be a fun girls beach week. We even signed a contract with her uncle and our parents saying that we wouldn't drink. OH man was I in for a surprise. Within an hour of showing up to the house, Lauren had like 20 people over playing beer pong and drinking. I was horrified and wanted to leave, but I'd driven us the 3 hours down to OC and didn't want to get Lauren in trouble (if I'd only known!!) if I showed up back at my parents' house. So I pretty much hung out in my bedroom a lot. It sucked. She was a crier when she drank and it became increasingly annoying being the sober-mom. So I stayed at the house when they went down to OC to party every night. Woo, this vacay was so much freaking fun. Little did I know it was going to get worse.
One morning, I walked down to get breakfast and I saw that two of the girls we were staying with had underage drinking citations sitting on their beds. I asked about it, and Lauren said she wasn't there when it happened. I was a little suspicious, but I thought "hey, this is my best friend, she's never lied to me before.. oh wait." Either way, when the week was over and we finally got to go home, I was SO relieved. It's not fun sitting all alone in a house by yourself, in case you were wondering (other fun highlights from that week include my debit card getting stolen, and also a guy I like asking me a do him a "favor"-- woo boy was I pissed-- I yelled at him, told him to get in the car, and I drove him straight back to his hotel without even stopping (just slowing down slightly) to let him out of the car-- don't mess with me when I'm mad).
Anyways, I started working full-time that summer and Lauren and I started drifting apart. Then she started acting really weird-- like, constantly texting me asking me to do things (which she hadn't done in almost a year) and asking my address (which she damn well knew). I blew her off since I was busy working, and then one night, my mom got a letter in the mail from the police department in Ocean City, Maryland, saying that I had been caught underage drinking at someone’s house, and had received a citation from the police. When confronted by my parents about it, I was shocked and did not know what they were talking about. I had never been stopped or talked to by the police while in Ocean City, let alone given an underage drinking citation. After calling the police department listed on the letter, my parents found out the address where this citation had occurred, and I recognized it as a place where my former "best friend" had attended a party.
After doing a little investigative work of my own, I knew it was Lauren who had written down my information instead of her own at this party, and then forged my signature. The police apparently did not check ID when giving all of the party-goers citations. I didn't want to confront her about it though until I had undeniable proof.
A few weeks later, my parents and I had to go to the courthouse in the county where I lived to clear the whole matter up. Upon arrival in someone’s office at the courthouse (the details are kind of foggy now; this was 7 years ago), my parents immediately asked to see the citation, since we never saw it before.
As soon as we looked at it, my mom and I gasped, and I knew for sure that it was Lauren who had given my information to the officer and forged my signature, because the handwriting, and especially the signature, were clearly recognizable as her handwriting. We brought many samples of her handwriting with us (she was an avid note writer in school), and only Lauren, my "best friend since age 10" would know some of the information provided on the citation. We explained the situation to the county employee and he agreed with us. He told us that this kind of situation probably happens frequently because Ocean City tends to hire a lot of what he referred to as “Rent-a-Cops” during the summer, and many probably do not check ID.
Lauren had the nerve to text and ask how my court date went, and kept texting me for weeks to no avail. I finally responded that I knew it was her who forged my name, and denied it. So ridiculous, I'm no dummy. Plus, if it hadn't been her, she was the kind of person who'd bad mouth you up and down if you wronged her, and she was nothing but "nice" to me, even sending me a birthday card.
In hindsight, our friendship wouldn't have lasted much longer anyways, what with her lack of motivation, her constant comparison of us (you're so pale, you look so young, blah blah), and the group she hung out with, but it stung all the same. The person I trusted with my innermost secrets since I was 10 years old just sold me out. I am still dealing with it to this day, as I had to disclose it to my law school and the bar association for character and fitness purposes (you have to disclose any time you ever were cited for anything in your entire life). If it wasn't for her, I would literally have had nothing to report. But them's the breaks, huh?
So now, I truly try to choose my friends more wisely. I've kept only 2 friends from high school that I talk to on a semi-regular basis (I live in PA now and it's harder to see each other), and honestly, I kept none from college. I again had a group of friends in college, one of whom was my best. I lived at home my sophomore through senior years though, and though it was difficult to share friendship when we had such different college experiences, we made it work until senior year (Déjà vu, huh) when they lived next to these raunchy, disgusting guys (I can't call them men because they certainly were nothing close).
We were all leaving a bar one night (the guys were kind of with us, I had kinda been texting with one of them who I thought wasn't such a loser) when one of the guys who got angry drunk, started screaming at me for no reason. Seriously, I had never even spoken a word to him, I was walking 15 feet in front of him, and he started calling me names and saying some of the most heinous things to me I have ever heard. I know he was drunk and I was just his target for the night (he was constantly in fights and yelling at people), and so I held my head high, but later I cried the rest of the night. Not one of those friends stood up for me. In fact, they scolded me for having texted with one of his roommates. These were "their neighbors" and I was not to be associating with them, so maybe it was my fault that this random guy started screaming at me. I know this must not make much sense and I am probably explaining it terribly and I know I am rambling, but it hurt so much. The next day, I broke off my friendship with everyone in that house. I am proud of myself, but I did what I needed to do. I wasn't going to let anyone treat me that way ever again.
I found a few friends in law school who would never do to me what Lauren and my college "friends" did, still have a few high school friends, as well as my family and boyfriend who love me. Anyways, I guess the point of all this rambling is (if you're still reading this far, more power to ya!) I am glad I finally realized that I don't have to keep friends around who condescend, treat me badly, or don't defend me when I am being attacked. I deserve better.
Whew, glad I got all that off my chest. Sometimes it feels good to "just write." Back to our regularly scheduled light reading on Monday :-)