Tabby is leaving me! She broke the news to me last night when we went out for drinks and I’ve been crying on the inside and maybe on the outside (ssshhh— don’t tell!) ever since. She’s moving to New York and she decided to break the news to me over our third Jack and Coke. I had to get up to go the bathroom after she told me because I wanted to use the walk from my bar stool to the bathroom to gauge how drunk I was. I was really hoping that I was just so drunk that I had misheard her and made the whole thing up.
As I excused myself and got up from my seat, the woman next to me got up simultaneously. It was a crowded bar and there was no way we weren’t going to bump into each other. I didn’t think an apology was necessary from either of us since we both bumped into each other so I brushed it off and was about to head to the bathroom when I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Excuse me!” exclaimed the angry 7-foot behemoth as she towered over me. Momentarily, I felt outraged. After all, she had bumped into me just as much as I had bumped into her. Did she feel disrespected just because my shoulder had lightly brushed hers in a crowded bar? In which case, didn’t I have the same right to feel disrespected? It had obviously been an accident. What business did I have pushing someone a lot bigger than me on purpose?
I stared at her in disbelief that she felt I owed her an apology. As I scanned her face I discovered two filled-in teardrop tattoos below her left eye. I did not feel like having my existence reduced to another filled-in teardrop tattoo on an angry woman’s cheek— and a sad third-string teardrop, at that— so I conjured up the most earnest looking Bambi eyes that I possibly could and exclaimed “I’m SO sorry!” with a repentant hand over my chest.
Maybe I had been sobered up by that near-death experience or maybe I had just been that unintoxicated to begin with (watered down drinks are a fool’s gold), but on my walk from the bar stool to the bathroom I realized that I wasn’t making it up. My best friend, the one constant in my life for the last 14 years and the only person in the world I never don’t want to talk to, is moving thousands of miles away, possibly for good. Tabby Cat and I have been best friends since 3rd grade except for one time in 7th grade when we both fought over a boy. He ended up choosing her over me and we didn’t speak for two months. Given the fact that Tabitha now exclusively dates women and the boy we fought over now exclusively dates men, I’d say I lost that battle on multiple fronts.
During this time I made up a rumor that she had a tail, which a surprising amount of 13 year-olds believed. We eventually got called into the office because our feud was “disrupting our learning environment, as well as that of our peers.” It was at this time that they brought in the on-campus peer mediation club to help us resolve our differences. The club tried to get us to talk out our feelings and partake in lame trust exercises. We had to make “I” statements (I feel… when you… because) and we could only talk if we had the “talking stick,” which was really just a dodgeball because someone had stolen their real talking stick the week before. We were both incredibly uncooperative, admittedly mean and just ended up making fun of the club the entire time which led to Tabitha and I spouting gems directed towards them including: “No one wants to touch your ball, Steve!” and “I feel disturbed when you breathe so heavily through your nose because it makes you sound like a predator.” Poor Steve.
Ironically, mocking the club was what led us to patch things up and resume our friendship. We resolved nothing that lunchtime with the peer mediation club but we decided to skip 6th period and hide out in the girl’s locker room to talk things out. Making fun of the peer mediation club reminded us of the fun we used to have together and made us realize how much we missed each other. Tabby apologized for pursuing a guy she knew I had liked in the first place and I apologized for not being more understanding about the fact that, in any case, Tabby was the person the boy liked and there was no reason for them not to be together other than to spare my pride. I also apologized about the tail rumor but we both agreed that no one should have believed that in the first place. We resumed our friendship and Tabby dated the boy for another month until he broke up with her citing “irreconcilable differences.” I’ll say.
Tabitha got a job offer in New York and she’s taking it. It’s not only a great opportunity for her career-wise but it would also allow her to be closer to her long-distance girlfriend, who started grad school there last year. She starts her new job in March but she wants to get in a few weeks early to settle in. She’ll be staying with her girlfriend until she can find a place of her own. She encourages me to feel free to visit her as often as I’d like but, at this rate, soon I won’t even be able to afford to visit the next town over. I’m already mourning her loss. We went to the same college together and we moved back home at the same time after graduation. I have other friends but none of them compare to Tabby. As a career woman she’s an inspiration to me—she’s like the Melanie Griffith to my Joan Cusack—and as a friend she always knows exactly how to react to everything. She’s always been there. She’s like one of my limbs!
After we left the bar, Tabby Cat and I went to get food. We ended our night eating burritos and imagining our futures as we sat on a walkway bridge with our feet dangling over the railroad below— the exact same way we ended our night nearly 5 years ago after a disastrous prom.