Waiting for my doorbell to ring the day after New Year’s, I anxiously anticipated the arrival of one of my dearest best friends, M. We were ordering cheap Chinese, exchanging Christmas presents and catching up about the 10-plus days we spent apart – something we never, ever do except during the holidays.
She’s a girl who is as much fun as she’s dependable and honest – always giving you the support you want with a side of healthy reality that you need. We’ve been through the trenches together, had a knockdown, drag-out, three-hour-long fight in my bathroom — telling each other what we really think — helped each other move and build furniture, pick the other one up when they couldn’t walk home (whoops) and brought pizza when a breakup was enough to break us. New York has always felt like home to me, but it wasn’t until I found my partner in crime – and for sharing margs and guac weekly – that I really felt like I could settle into my city. There’s something about having a best friend that lets you let down your guard and know that even if the guys suck, the job is tough or the tummies pooch – you have someone who will love you unconditionally, make sure you get over yourself and remember how great you are, too.
Maybe it’s my hidden jealous side that I try to keep at bay or just the fear of losing something that’s precious to me – but I was nervous about M coming over that night. I knew we’d have a great time because we always do – yet I also knew I was about to receive a piece of news that I didn’t quite want to hear. And not because it was bad news (it was in fact exciting and amazing) but because I knew it would change things.
You see, M has always been my single friend.
The gal who encouraged me to dance a little more, stay out a little longer, give that short guy a chance or walk out of a date if it was bad (and meet her for martinis after). The one who would let me analyze everything to death and talk it into the ground, and then match my stories with ones as terrible as my own. If not more awful at times. The one who was there to swap our silly dating troubles, edit each other’s online dating profiles and talk about how weird it’d be when one of us got a boyfriend.
And weird it is.
I haven’t met her new beau — we’ll call him Mr. Bear — but I’ve never seen her so bubbly and giggly, and yes, because it’s M, a little uncomfortable with the whole thing. Since I knew it was coming (something in my gut just told me so), when she arrived — grinning from ear to ear — I went for it head on:
Do you have a boyfriend? I quizzed directly. Coyly, she tucked her hair behind her ear and nodded, Yes, I have a boyfriend. He asked if it was for real — and it is!
A real relationship is exactly what she needed and though she’ll hate me for saying it on this blog – something she’s been wanting for a while. She’s flown solo for a long time – five years! – and I knew her bright, shining “one day” would come along sooner than later. I also knew it’d take a special guy who could be tender with her while also challenging her in the way that keeps her intrigued. When we were tipsy off of wine one time – we made predictions about the guy we’d date next: she said my guy would be one of those goofy, slightly nerdy, but handsome and tall and unbearably kind kind of guys. I said she wouldn’t like her guy right away (she didn’t care for Mr. Bear at first), but that his charm, his sweetness and the way they connected would bring them together. And make her eventually give in.
I like being right – but I can’t lie that when my suspicions of her new relationship were confirmed, I felt a little disappointed. Maybe disappointed isn’t the right word per se – maybe more like: Oh god! I’m the last single girl standing! What if she disappears into the couple nook and I don’t see her for months because she spends so much time with him? What if she changes from the outgoing, fun girl that makes me a better, more relaxed person into a girl I don’t even recognize? What if she starts doing double dates with all of our friends with boyfriends and I’m forever the third wheel?
What if I lose my best friend?!
But when I looked at her – blushing and probably a little nervous to tell me about her new beau –considering I’ve been in the market for one of my own for a while, too – I swallowed my pride. And instead of seeing my fears and the envy I felt boiling – I felt something different: happiness. This man has brought her something that I can’t, that I wouldn’t want to bring – and for the first time in a long time, she looked at ease. She looked like she was bursting with stories to tell, incredible new experiences to tell me about, romantic encounters that of course, she has to share with her best friend. (Especially a friend who loves love to a disturbing, addicted degree.) I saw in her what I miss feeling myself: hope. Anticipation. Excitement. Wishful thinking. Love.
And so, I stopped thinking about what I don’t have (yet) to be a great listener to someone who has always listened to me. Because though she’s my best friend, her relationship isn’t about me and the choices she makes because of it aren’t up to me, either – it’s a new unchartered territory for her to explore with someone she could one day really, truly care about. And while I may wish for something similar of my own, I more so wish for continued glee – and a very long honeymoon stage – for M and Mr. Bear.
So when do I get to meet him?? I asked, matching her smile and giving her a much-delayed hug.
I may be the last single gal standing of my group of gals – but I’m proud to stand by them. And – I guess — their boyfriends, too.