How does this story end? What is this story about? Did I turn off my curling iron?

How does this story end? What is this story about? Did I turn off my curling iron?

When last we left broken-hearted, betrayed, and boo-hoo-hooing Lorna, she was…well…broken-hearted, betrayed, and…you get the picture. Would she ever cross paths with her former, and totally selfish, best-friend ever again?

Michele asked me to be the maid of honor in her wedding.

I agreed for two reasons:

1. We took pinky-swear oaths to be each others maid/matrons of honor at our respective weddings, and everyone knows pinky-swears can’t be broken.

2. I could never say “no” when asked to do something, which got me in more trouble than you could imagine depending on who was doing the asking.

Sure. And I can totally wear this dress to other functions. I could be a one-woman float in a 4th of July parade...just as an example.

Sure. And I can totally wear this dress to other functions. Sure. I’ll be a one-woman float in your 4th of July parade.

3. I was drunk almost all the time and my judgement was drunk, too.

Okay, there were three reasons.

I felt like a hypocrite at the wedding because:

1. I knew she was a floozy and didn’t tell her fiancé before he became her husband. It’s not like we were auditioning for the Jerry Springer Show or anything.

2. I didn’t feel like her friend, let alone best friend, and she didn’t have a clue because she was so focused on herself during the wedding. Totally self-absorbed.

Hey! Look at me, Everybody. It's all about me!

Hey! Look at me, Everybody. It’s all about me!

3. I knew if and when I got married, she was not going to be my matron of honor, pinky-swear or not.

After the wedding, she sent holiday photo cards–always the happy couple, then the happy family (she eventually had three slender, pretty girls).

I invited her to my wedding, which was totally awkward because she came and was nowhere near the altar.

Time passed and, except for those darned holiday photo cards, I didn’t hear from Michele.

Until I did. She called me. She got my number from my mom, whose phone number never changed in, like, 50 years.

Really, Michele, you should keep in better contact with Lorna. I know she changes phone numbers like most people change underwear.

Really, Michele, you should keep in better contact with Lorna. I know she changes phone numbers like most people change underwear.

Michele and Scott were getting divorced and she needed a not-so-boney shoulder to cry on.

I felt sorry for her and listened to her story (he cheated on her, go figure). She wanted to see me, but my life had gotten complicated with a young son, perpetual construction to the Broken House, a demanding job, and more demanding husband. But I took a trip to see her, believing that there’s nothing like a hug to soothe a bruised heart. I thought maybe our friendship deserved another chance, especially since she didn’t know there was anything wrong with it. Our friendship, that is.

She quickly found her center (which is to say she found a replacement guy). Michele was out of my life again. I was happy for her. The holiday cards continued minus the happy husband.

More time passed. It was my turn again. I got sick and found out I had a brain tumor. When I had to retire from teaching due to my illness, I took inventory of my life. I decided there was no room for grudges. Maybe I had been too hard on Michele (and others) in the past.

I gave Michele a call, thinking she might come to visit me. She was terribly concerned about me and invited me down to visit her. Since one of my major symptoms was dizziness, driving for hours to see her wasn’t possible, so my family came to the rescue. We all took a nostalgia-trip to Connecticut (to the place we lived for several years) so I could see Michele and she could, theoretically, be my friend.

I’d say we had more of a reunion–sharing memories and a meal. Then we left. Michele talked a lot about the newest man in her life and needing to find a new place to live. My health only came up when she said we all looked really great. That was 2002. I classified Michele as a “foul-weather friend” and gave up on her.

This year, it was her turn again. She called me on a Thursday out of the blue (again, my mother gave her my new phone number). She called to tell me that she was dying of cancer. She was 58. We spoke for nearly two hours. I never told her I felt betrayed by her all those times. I focused on the good memories and apologized for not keeping in better touch. She did the same. Things were right between us.

I made plans to go down to visit her early the following week. The night before I was supposed to leave, I got another call. Her brother told me she was near the end. All of her family was there. When they asked if she wanted to say “goodbye” to anyone else, she whispered, “Lorna.” Her brother put the receiver to her ear and I spoke to her from my heart. I can’t remember what I said. I remember her pitiful groans–attempts to say something? Pain?

She died a few hours after that phone call.

Our friendship was a living thing: ever changing and full of contradictions, yet enduring against all odds. For all of its ups and downs, I had a friend named Michele and we never forgot each other. We just kept losing and finding each other.

Seems that being friends with certain people may require a specialized skill set.

Seems that being friends with certain people may require a specialized skill set.