Jordan and I lived in the same apartment complex. It was welfare housing, where they stuck all the poor people in the shittiest part of town. Camoflauging the yard with a pretty green picket fence, and a playground for the kids. Make it look nice, make them feel nice, but always remind them of where they are from.
She lived in 2, and I lived in 9. We became friends because we were the only ones around the same age, me being a year older. We stayed friends because we were both poor, even though I was more so than her, and it was a harsh reminder when other students mocked where we lived, drawling out, "fa-mu-lee housing," with a sneer. Even if they were living in a one bedroom apartment with their three siblings, anything was better than letting welfare find your house, at least in middle school.
We had no bikes. Couldn't afford them. We had no money to go bowling or to the movies. Instead we walked. We would walk for miles each afternoon, our heads drawn to the sunshine and our jeans rolled up so our legs could feel the heat of the air. We walked through neighborhoods that were better than ours, brick houses and paved driveways, expensive cars, garages, and happy kids who didn't have to share their playground. We would go through the "Free Stuff," boxes and wonder why people threw such expensive things out.
We had very little in common, just our matching incomes. Jordan was rambunctions and loud, I was quiet and angry. We fought excessively, exploding like fireworks and never coming down completely. Through circumstances and not knowing anyone else, we came to know intimate details about each other. She knew about Leroy, my mother's abusive ex, and how he was torturing us. I knew how her father had passed, and how she shaved her head as a child because her friend had cancer. She was my first real friend in the area.
We had a picture, one of those selfies that people take now, before they were called selfies. We're both smiling at the camera with big grins, and squinty eyes, like kids do. I ripped it in half.
When we weren't walking, I was at her house or she was at mine. I played in her room and we played with the wii. She would come to my house and we would stand in my small kitchen. She used to come to my bedroom window and knock rapidly until I opened it and we would talk, or I would climb out and we would play games or gossip about people. We even had a few inside jokes about people we went to school with.
We eventually started integrating our friends, once I started high school. We would all walk the sidewalks and hang out, go to dances together, spend evenings at someones house. The first dance we all attended together was an 80s dance. I spent the day running back and forth between my apartment, her apartment, and our friends house. The dance itself is fuzzy in my mind. I just remember getting ready for it with everyone.
Things started changing, slowly. Sometimes people fall apart no matter how much you don't want them too. It didn't help that I was a bitch.
She kept calling herself ugly and I would reassure her she wasn't (she wasn't ugly) and she would compare herself to all of her "prettier friends." I got so tired of it I finally said, "Fine Jordan, if you want to be ugly, you're ugly. I'm tired of telling you that you aren't because you aren't!" Then I stomped away.
All of our friends came to my doorstep. I answered the door and my mother stood behind me as they all screamed at me, I held my ground and told them all exactly what happened, and my mother took my side. They left in a huff and a day later Jordan came to me and hugged me, and we were friends again.
It seemed that whenever she wanted to end a fight she would come to me and press me close to her. She was taller than I was, and back then I was just starting to reach my permanent height. I remember she was bigger and taller and never quite agreed with me.
When I came out as bisexual, we were racing down a slide and we fell out of it, I ended up on top of her, before scrambling off because she asked, "Did you come out as bi to Porsche?" and in that moment I felt so awkward. I didn't like her in that way, but it was still weird.
It all came to an end in the middle of my sophomore year. The summer had been weird, as I made new friends and so did she. They were not the same people, and our mutual friends just weren't involved in our new friend groups. We had stopped walking because I got a bike and was exploring the town with someone else... I didn't want to walk the same old hills and look at rich houses, she didn't want to get a bike and ride around those rich houses.
We started fighting more.
Then the last straw.
See, she insulted my sister.
Right now my sister is a beautiful person. She is the epitome of cool, and flawless looking. But she was an awkward child with very little friends, and a temper to boot. She didn't like to shower and she smelled sometimes. She was just fucking weird.
My sister didn't get along with the other kids, and often fought with Jordan's younger brother who was a couple years older than my sister. Jordan's brother often was in charge of all the bullying my sister endured when we lived in these apartments, and the reason some of the kids refused to play with her.
Jordan, one of our friends, and myself were all walking home from the bus stop. We were talking about the rest of the kids in the apartment complex and I said my sister was trying hard to make friends.
Jordan looked right at me and said, "Well maybe if your sister wasn't so weird, she would make friends,"
I looked right at her and said, "Excuse me?"
"She's freaking weird, that's why no one likes her," Jordan replied. At this point our mutual friend stopped and looked between us, sensing the tension.
"She's a fucking kid, that's why she's weird, why the hell are you insulting a kid?" My voice was raised and the mutual friend looked at me for a minute.
"I don't think she meant it like that," the friend said quickly.
"I did, she's weird," Jordan crossed her arms and that's when I snapped.
"Well, fuck you then," I said, and I brushed past them and ran home. Jordan shouted sorry after me and I just locked myself in the apartment.
It was the last moment we were ever friends. She even had her brother deliver me some dandilions with the hopes that I would be swayed by her sweetness, and take them. Instead I said no. She tried to get me outside to go puddle jumping after it rained, a tradition we had started, and once again I said no. She tried apologizing so many times and each time I put up a wall. All because of my sister, and how weird she kept being, and how I was so livid.
Our mutual friends tried their hardest to get us back together, but eventually we both refused to talk to each other. I started to have other problems in my life anyway, and had other friends who were there. They didn't know much about my ongoing fued with my ex friend, why would they?
It finally got to the point where our mutual friend group dissolved, and we both got swept up in our newer, shinier friends. I entered junior year and went to Stafford, she became friends with other people. It got to the point where we would exchange a friendly, sad smile if we ran into each other. Most people we knew stopped mentioning we were ever friends, in fact if you asked any of us in that group, we probably would have just said we knew each other from various classes. It was like the fued between Jordan and I dissolved the whole group.
The only one who kept insisting through the rest of our high school careers that we should be friends again was Porsche. The only person from the old group I was still friends with. I finally told her to stop talking about it, because we had moved on, and we had.
Jordan went to Castleton and I went to Gmc. We would see each other on the bus occasionally going back and forth and would be polite. We even talked on Facebook once or twice, carefully avoiding our previous friendship.
I regret it sometimes you know. She was my first real friend, and part of my first friend group. She knows things about me, she might not remember them though. She was my closest friend until I made other ones. But she crossed the line when she brought up my sister, and no matter what, I couldn't forget the way she said it, not that year anway.
I can remember the time Leroy came to get my sister and Jordan saw him. She was mad, she knew about all the things he did because I told her. She threw a football at his head... then she went and got it, staring him down the whole time. In that moment, I wanted to be brave like that, stand up and say things instead of drowning myself in the background. I wanted to be fun, spontaneous, adventorous, explosive, and confident. I wanted to stop being the quiet friend.
Just the fact that the first time we went puddle jumping she had to drag me out by my wrist as I squealed about water stains proved that I was a stick in the mud and she was the person pulling me out. I thank her for that, our friendship molded me into someone who went out in the rain instead of waiting til after.
People leave these imprints on our lives, even if we only knew them for a short while. Sometimes they were not meant to stay in our lives. I don't think about her often. But today, with the hot sun and it being ten years since I met her, but eight since we were friends, I feel slightly nostalgic.
I've got other friends now. Ironically from around the same time frame. Friends that managed to stick around even if they committed something even more henious then insulting my sister to my face. (Khylie once said my sisters feet smelled, but then again she always let my sister come along with us with only that complaint) Even if they stole a prom date, talked trash about me to someone else, abandoned me in a parking lot, called my girlfriend a forgetful elephant, called my mother a bitch, or even ME a bitch, these friends managed to ride through it with me. All of us barely hanging on and me always remembering the one fight that broke it all, the one fight that lasted so long even ten years later it remains unresolved. And the girl attached to it who changed who I am today.
I just wanted to say thanks to Jordan, for sticking by me and always making me feel a little better about life when things were low. I wish you nothing but the best.