Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding

You can imagine the scene--5 or 6 girls in their late twenties perched on couches and arm chairs, opening bottles of wine, snacking on chips, salsa and chocolate. Discussions of toe nail polish colors and seating arrangements float around the room. It's the week before your best friend's wedding. Your best friend of 16 years, the one with whom you shared all your high school secrets, college fears, and woes of adulthood. The woman you knew, knew, would ask you to be her Maid of Honor. It should be just like some Jennifer Aniston movie, but it's not.

That scene you can imagine? It's not going to happen. That Maid of Honor toast at the reception that you had planned for years? It will never be given. In its place is something different; something melancholy, poignant and empty.

Friendship between two woman can be extremely powerful and important. I hold my friends in high regard and no one was held higher or for longer than K. Our friendship transcended words and traditional definitions. We had grown to be as close as sisters, her family had truly become my own. I lived with her parents for 14 months straight out of college and they adopted me as a second daughter. Yet this weekend, at my best friend's wedding, I was not even asked to be in a family photo.

I cried at my best friend's wedding this weekend. Not the tears of joy that I had always imagined, not the tears you shed when someone you love finds happiness. I cried tears of regret, of sadness and of understanding that this event would mark the closing of a long, powerful chapter of my life. She made a choice that I am no longer important. I cried because I was not part of this event, I was no longer a friend, a confidante, or needed.

Like life, marriage and friendship must be balanced. You cannot isolate yourself in this world and hope to find joy. As I watched my best friend and her new partner sit alone at their wedding reception, without a wedding party, without their families nearby I wondered about the extent of their isolation. They are doing this because they think their love is enough, but you cannot thrive alone. Love cannot exist in a bubble, but they continue to insist that it must. I have been asked to step aside, and I believe that this weekend, at my best friend's wedding, that change was made permanent.

Yet the universe demands balance, and out of this great loss, has come a great gain. Our dreams rarely come true, but that does not mean we do not find peace and happiness in their place. I won't ever give that speech, I won't ever stand alongside the alter, crying tears of joy for my best friend, but I will define my own happiness and joy. The one person that I believed I could always count on is gone, pursuing her own idea of happiness in a way I cannot support. So I have stepped out to pursue my own and the future has never looked brighter. I cried this weekend because I said goodbye to K, but also because I said goodbye to the person I was when we became friends 16 years ago. That girl got me to where I am today, but the woman I am now can't wait to see what future holds.

It's too bad though, I would have made one hot Maid of Honor.

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