Seems a certain someone finally got around to reading my journal after being prodded to on occasion. My apologies to Heather for not mentioning her more often in my journal. Being my best friend, I really ought to mention her existence more often than I do. In my defense, I don't mention the existence of most humans in my journal. Not much of a defense, but it's the best I can offer. In an attempt to change that fact, let me relate to you, fair readers, the tale of Heather. Those of you that already know the story can just refrain from hitting the link...
Heather and I became friends our freshman year of high school. At the time, we were just "school friends", those friends you had in school that you didn't really hang out with outside of school, but you were amicable with while in class or on school grounds. Freshman year was pretty uneventful and there really isn't much to say about our friendship during that time.
Sometime during the summer between freshman and sophomore year (actually, I'm pretty sure the date was July 10th because I recall calling her for the first time on my mother's birthday from the house we lived in briefly the first time my parents separated) I got this wild hair to call up Heather and start talking with her over the summer. We started to become pretty good friends and this continued as school started back up again. I don't know if it was because she was the first female friend of mine that really showed an interest in being friends with me on a one-on-one level or if it was because the two of us related so well with one another, but we soon became close friends.
This is the point in the story where I must stop and make a note that I'm about to make mention of something that most people that I know IRL have heard, but I don't think Heather's ever been told or had an inkling of. She should have been told eons ago, but in my standard fashion, I've neglected to mention it to her. There just never seemed to be an appropriate time to mention it. Now is as good as any I suppose.
Anyway, so our friendship continued to blossom. At some point early sophomore year, I'd begun to develop a bit of a crush for her. Standard high school stuff, become friends with a girl, realize that you really like her, become confused about how you feel for her, worry that it's all hormonal, never have the nerve to say something.
Wait, high school stuff? I still have that problem now...crap!
So I work up the nerve to consider asking her to homecoming that year, knowing full well that she's probably already gotten a legion of requests from other much more worthy males than myself. I finally find the conviction to do it one day when I find out that another good friend of mine was planning to do the same thing. As I had (and have) a lot of respect for this friend, I decided to just hold off and not get in the way. Something in my head told me that was the noble thing to do. Hindsight tells me I was probably right, but it still bugs me that I chickened out. So he takes her to homecoming, then before I could get up the nerve to tell her I had feelings for her, she was dating another friend of mine. I'd lost the nerve entirely and had decided to just put it on the shelf.
I've never told her this. It's an important part of the tale, from my side of things. It explains a bit about my character and is an interesting lead in to the next part of the story, which is also integral to the entire tale.
Flash forward to Christmas of that year (this was 1997). We're talking, one night at the beginning of our Christmas break and she asks me to name off who I'd have an interest in dating from our school. Panic set in as I realized I was in a life altering position here. There wasn't anyone else that I'd rather date than her. I'm sure she knew that or had an inkling of it, but I had no way of knowing and revealing my hand was an insane thought. So I made her answer first. Her list of 5 was typical, or at least the 4 that she'd reveal were. Your standard "girls at school swoon over these guys" guys. I finally managed to weasel the last one out of her. Me. It was long and cute and awkward and nervous and if I were to go into long detail about it, there would be much with the "awws". I bit the bullet and told her that I liked her too, it was all very cute in hindsight. And then I was an idiot. She didn't want to get involved because we were such good friends that she was afraid to ruin that. I understood at the time, but I was a stupid hormonal teenage boy who had just found out that the girl he'd pined over liked him to but was afraid to lose their friendship. I was brash and stupid and ended up not talking to her for the next 6 - 9 months (we tried narrowing down when we started talking again one night, but I don't think a definite conclusion was found). I won't go into great lengths about it. Suffice to say that I became the jerk she was afraid I'd become if we dated and I've regretted it every day since. I threw away a friendship because I wasn't able to get over my own insecurities and didn't even realize it until recently.
Fall of 1998, she somehow managed to accept me in her life again and we began to rebuild our friendship. It's been a long road uphill. We had a few stumbling points here and there, but by time we graduated in 2000, it was as though nothing had ever happened. Mostly. I've always felt like there was this cloud hanging overhead but I could never figure out what it was. Looking back, I'm thinking it was that I never knew how to apologize to her for how I'd treated her or how to express to her how much I missed her. The simplest of things that it's taken me years to figure out. Sometimes those are the hardest to figure out. I still don't know how to properly express to her my regret, but I don't know if I ever could. But I digress. We've maintained our friendship while she's been off at school, taking advantage of what time we happen to be in the same city to hang out as much as possible. A better best friend could not be found. :) Sure, this chapter has more detail to it and I could go on for hours about why she's a great friend and the good times that have been had. But we all know I ramble for far too long as it is. Suffice to say I'm glad to have her in my life and that I've never had as true a friend as her.
As an aside that might as well be added at the end of this post, I must also mention that Heather bought me the new Orson Scott Card book Shadow Puppets for an early birthday gift Monday night. I've gotten a few chapters into it so far, and I'm enjoying it muchly. She shouldn't have, but then again friends are supposed to do things for one another that they shouldn't. I'd meant to mention it yesterday (partially because it was far too nice of her, and partially to inform Brandon that he can borrow it at Christmas as I'm sure he'll want to), but forgot to add it to my brief posts. Enough babbling from me now. I'm going to get some work done. :)