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DMCs: Freedom Trail

As told to Leah Greenburg

I wasn’t her best friend or only friend and that bothered me. Ruchi was my closest friend, but for her, I was one of many

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

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I don’t know how it happened. I guess if I really want to analyze my feelings, I would say that I felt a bit lonely. Most girls in my class had paired off into best friends and while I had friends, I didn’t have that one special friend who would save me a seat on the bus or wait for me after class or grab an extra anything for me. In retrospect, I now also recognize that I suffered from low self-esteem and a sense of insecurity… again, I suppose I could analyze it and blame my family, my past, but there’s no point, really.

I am who I am — I’m always working on myself, and I’m fine with that now. And that’s not really part of this story, anyhow.

We were a class of 25 girls. I’d been friends since fifth grade with a girl I’ll call Ruchi, and we always got along great. By eighth grade, we were very good friends and life was good. We got together often, in either her place or mine, went on walks, did homework together. She was my closest friend, no doubt about that.

Although… it was very unsettling for me to spend an entire weekend with her, sleeping at her house, staying up all night, confiding in each other, playing games, laughing… and then get to school on Monday and see her laughing and talking with another classmate.

Was she telling anyone the things I told her in private?

Honestly, it wasn’t just that. For example, once, when I saw Ruchi and Shoshi laughing in the back of the classroom — they’d seen a spider and were clearly trying to catch it together to let it outside, so I knew they weren’t discussing me — but I felt indignant. You spent all weekend with me and now you’re just dumping me? I’m your best friend, aren’t I?

 

The problem was that it was clear I wasn’t her best friend or only friend and that bothered me. Ruchi was my closest friend but for her, I was one of many. Clearly dispensable. It just made me want to hold on tighter.

I remember early on in our close friendship, Ruchi shared a personal family story with me and asked me not to tell anyone. When I came home, I almost felt gloating, like I had been given a currency or something. I carefully wrote down her story in a notebook and stuck it in my desk drawer, with the thought in the back of my mind that I could use it as leverage if she ever tried to “dump” me or treat me in a way I didn’t like. I’m so embarrassed when I think of that, although I thank my lucky stars that, no matter how bad our relationship dipped, to my great relief, I never shared that secret… (Excerpted from Mishpacha’s Teen Pages, Issue 37)

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