To a teenage girl, friendships mean everything. We view our friends as an extension of ourselves, people we can confide in, laugh with, and cry with. We trust our friends with our deepest, darkest secrets; we trust our friends not to hurt us, and to share in our happiness with us. We never, in a million years think that a friend would be capable of betraying our trust. I remember the first time I met Sydney; it was my first day of seventh grade and I was a new student at Cypress Christian. She was the first girl I met, and the first new friend I made. We did everything together. We had sleepovers at each other’s houses just about every weekend, staying up late at night giggling about boys, talking about fashion, and discovering how many things we had in common. “We’re like two peas in a pod.” Sydney would say. “We’re like sisters from another misters.” I would reply. We both liked the color pink, we were both cheerleaders, and unfortunately, we both had the same taste in boys.
His name was Walker, and he was the cutest boy in seventh grade. Every girl in seventh grade at Cypress Christian went weak in the knees when Walker walked by. A simple smile from Walker made even the most sensible girl blush. Sydney and I were no exception. Our first fight was about Walker; Sydney thinking he should like her better because he had known her longer than me, and me thinking that he should like me better because, well, just because. I remember eating lunch with Sydney and my mom at Johnny Rockets, discussing my upcoming birthday party and whom I was going to invite. Obviously, I was going to invite Walker to the party, but Sydney and I actually got into a fight about who was going to dance with Walker first. “I’m going to ask Walker to be my date to the party,” I told Sydney. “You can’t ask him to be your date, I was going to ask him to be my date.” Sydney replied. To end the fight, I remember my mom telling us that we should leave that decision to Walker. We unhappily agreed. This was hard for me because with Sydney it’s always the battle for who wins the argument, and of coarse, I had to win. I remember thinking that it was MY birthday party, and I should be the special princess that day, not Sydney. She could feel special on her birthday. I was determined to win Walker’s heart; I didn’t care if Sydney also liked him.
The night of my party arrived, and yes, Walker was they’re looking like a movie star with his curly, blond hair falling down over his light, blue eyes. The moment arrived, the first slow dance, and YES, he asked me to dance! It was my birthday and I felt like a princess dancing with my prince. Needless to say, Sydney was not happy. “You can’t put your hand on her there,” she would say to Walker as she walked around us during our dance. “Quit dancing so close,” she continued, ruining the dance for me. She didn’t get any happier the next day either when Walker asked me, in a text message, if I would be his girlfriend. “I like you, will you be my girlfriend?” It said. I was officially Walker’s girlfriend, and I had never been happier in my whole life. I remember feeling like a rock star. How lucky I was to have the hottest guy in seventh grade as my boyfriend. I knew that Sydney would be upset, but honestly I didn’t care. I thought if she were truly my friend, she would be happy for me. Boy was I wrong!
Monday morning came and I couldn’t wait to tell all my friends about my new boyfriend. Everybody screamed, and shared in my excitement, everyone except Sydney. My best friend in the whole world was mad at me, and declared a personal war against me from that day on. To my face, she was still nice to me, but behind my back, she did everything she could think of to break up Walker and I. She called Walker and told him how much she loved him, how much she wanted to be his girlfriend. She told him how mean I was. She spread gossip about me. “Did you know Emily and Walker kissed on the Farris wheel at the rodeo.” She would tell our friends. “Emily is such a slut,” She would jealously add. And the icing on top of the cake was the day a group of us went to the mall. My best friend in the whole world took my boyfriend aside and told him a lie. She told him that I was planning on breaking up with him, and that he needed to hurry up and break up with me before I got the opportunity to do it first. Of course I didn’t know this. Just as Sydney had planned, Walker did break up with me that night. “Um, Emily,” Walker said as he sat me down, “I think we should break up, but I’d like to still stay friends.” I was crushed. Like the good friend that Sydney was, she actually lent me her shoulder to cry on that night, and many nights after that. I thought about how lucky I was to have a friend like Sydney. I remember spending the night at her house that night and how hard she tried to make me laugh.
Of course over the next couple of days, the truth came out. When I asked Walker why he had broken up with me, his reply was, “I thought you wanted to break up with me.” “Why would you think that?” I asked. Sadly, he responded, “Because that’s what Sydney told me when we were at the mall. She said you were going to break up with me, and I needed to hurry up and break up with you.” I was devastated. I felt like not only had I just lost my boyfriend, but I had also just lost my best friend, my “BFF”, the one person I felt I could trust more than anyone else. My awesome seventh grade year officially tanked. I was miserable, school was terrible, and I couldn’t wait for the school year to end. I had nobody to talk to or help me get through this hard time. Everybody thought that I was the bad guy because of all the rumors Sydney had spread. I couldn’t believe it when people were actually feeling sorry for Sydney. There was so much drama involved with the whole thing; people were sick and tired of hearing about our fight. Frankly, so was I.
Over the summer Sydney and I did pick up the broken pieces of our friendship. We hung out at each other’s houses again, we took vacations together, we went shopping, and I worked on trusting Sydney again. I was confused by this new emotion of betrayal. I had never experienced anything like it before, and it was hard for me to understand. Eventually, during our eight-grade year, I found that things were never going to be the same. I tried to love her, I tried to forgive her, but things were different between us now. We fought more over little things. We resented each other. I felt she had betrayed me, and she justified her behavior by thinking that I had betrayed her by going out with Walker in the first place. What had started out as a wonderful, beautiful friendship, ended because of betrayal. Another year has now gone by. Sydney and I go to different schools now, we email each other from time to time, but we have grown apart. She has her new friends, and I have mine. I wouldn’t say that I have a new “best” friend, and I doubt that she does either. Maybe one day, we will be able to put this behind up and allow our friendship to grow again. Or, maybe that one-day will never come, only time will tell.
I often ask myself what I have learned from this experience. I believe that because of how Sydney treated me, I have become a better friend. I have learned how NOT to treat other people. I have learned that if a girl likes a boy, I should probably stay away from that boy. And most importantly I have learned that girls are capable of betrayal, and friends should not necessarily be chosen on what you have in common, but on how they treat you.
Betrayed by my best friend, the more I thought about the title the more I decided that it was time to write about the betrayal that cost me so very dearly. She entered my life in August of 1978 with her three children, she rented the apartment on the other side of the old farm house my former husband and I had purchased. I was still young and naive then, and overly trusting. I thought she and her sons would be a blessing instead she used that friendship to betray me and my daughters. My former husband was cheating on me: I knew that much I just had no idea that he was cheating with two different women at the same time. One woman he got pregnant and married the other was my best friend or so I thought. I first became suspicious when I discovered she knew exactly where my former husband hid his cigarettes and alcohol. I ignored those clues; I just could not bring myself to believe she was having sex with my former husband.
She knew we were having problems and even told me at one point she would gladly testify in the divorce trial if she were needed. I told her of coarse she was needed; I had to prove he was cheating on me and that he was continually abusive to me and my daughters. Imagine my surprise when she reneged and refused to testify. She had been dating a friend of mine and while I was visiting she was also there. She could not even look me in the eye but still being as naive as I was I pursued the subject with my friend who finally told me that she had indeed been having an affair with my former husband. I remember sitting and crying all I wanted was to know why, what had I done to deserve this? She never did answer me but my daughter recently told me what happened after I finally left.
Apparently she was supposed to be cleaning the house and doing the grocery shopping since my former husband did not think that his children needed food. When the divorce trial became a reality, she not only would not testify on my behalf, she would not answer her phone. My attorney told me that if she was called to testify, she would be a hostile witness and possibly harm my case more than it was already harmed. My former husband’s attorney was the assistant District Attorney who happened to play golf with the presiding Judge. On the advice from my attorney she was not called, I lost my daughters to my former husband; he was working and had a good income.
I was working at a minimum wage job, so the Judge decided that my daughters would be better off with their father. The girls were abused by their step mother; their father knew what was happening to them but ignored them. My best friend’s betrayal not only cost me my daughters, it cost me precious time with my daughters that I can never regain. I am no longer bitter where she is concerned, she is not worth it. Betrayal is the hardest thing to deal with because it involves not just friendship but trust. I sometimes wonder what happened to her after the trial, I would like to see her again one day and ask: “why did you betray me?”