The two of you coordinated matching looks; every Tuesday and Thursday you wore purple and white. At lunch, you pulled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of your matching Strawberry Shortcake lunchboxes. You traded the extra-pulp orange juice your mother packed you every day, even though you hated it for her wild berry Capri Sun. You gave your green apple for her banana. After school on the yellow bus, you sang SWV’s “Weak.’ She took the first verse, and you the last. You met in the middle for the bridge and belted, “Cause my hearts starts beating triple time…” The two of you were tight from jump.

But as time moved on, and training bras changed to 34Bs, hips widened naturally, and forehead acne was concealed with bowler bangs, the two of you strangely grew apart. Today in your quarter-life retrospect, the reasons are no longer so mysterious.

She had a baby at 17, and you went away to college. While you were pledging DST, she got married at City Hall. You convinced her to sign up to AOL to chat with you from time to time. You didn’t realize that she logged on from her local library because between the baby formula and Huggies, she couldn’t afford a home computer, much less your swanky first-gen iBook. The intricacies of rent, and baby daddy were non-existent in your on-campus life. You were worlds apart, and didn’t even know it. All you knew was that she slowly but surely stop being the friend you called when you had something crazy to tell. The friend you were once connected to at the hip became lower to non-existent on your recent call list.

Nearly five years after undergrad you look around at your impressive social network. You rub shoulders daily with folks with no less than 3 initials behind the names—professors to pharmaceuticals reps—and suddenly you miss the time when you became unmasked, and simply were yourself. You search for her on Facebook, and there she is. Her profile picture is an image of three boys, her sons, DeShawn Jr, DeMar, and Devon. Almost instinctively you feel a sting of guilt. In your so-called busy New York life, you haven’t managed to buy them so much as a bib.

You want to message her but you can’t find the words. That guilt sting sustains, and the juxtaposition of your own profile picture, a semi-”Glamour Shot” with Veronica Webb front row at some fashion week show, makes it all the worst. You think, “I’ll just say, ‘It’s been too long, how are you?’ “No,” you reasoned. “That’s so typical and slightly fake.” You conclude, “Well, let me just request her, and then we can connect from there.” Just moments after returning to your office from your lunch run to Spice Thai, you see a message from her.

“I’m so proud of you. How you been girl?”

The tears just won’t stop.

  • meek

    i enjoyed reading this post because it hits close to home.I had friends that i have out grown. And at first i felt guily, then i heard how they were talking behind my back and i got over it.

  • Gabrielle

    Thank you for this. I got teary eyed myself. Its crazy how certain personal experiences are so commonly shared.

  • shaw

    SOOOOOOOOOO true! This story is felt by all of us. I know there were times when I would see pics of my friends single, with no kids and degrees and be jealous but I look at my life and I realize I am successful too, just in my own rite. I have a son I am married and I am a soldier in the US army who will be completing her degree soon. We are all successful we can’t waste time comparing our successes to anothers. This article had my eyes well up, Thank you.

  • http://twiter.com/amberyum Amber-yum

    damn.. I got teary eyed.. found out my old roomie is pregnant and unwed. i wouldnt call myself successful and I have a few “status” pics on my facebook, but hey I guess we all grow apart for a reason.

  • EFW

    I think there is a reason why Less Successful is in single quotes. It’s not necessarily true but that is often how society labels these young women. An as college grads without babies we may not necessarily see our friends that way. My best friend and I ARE these two young women. We however make a conscious effort to stay in touch because we have been friends since before we can remember. I am a college grad with a wonderful career. She not a college grad, is pregnant with a boyfriend, and works retail. We live very far away from each other now. However she is always telling me how proud she is of me and how much I inspire her. And I CANT WAIT until my god-daughter gets here.

    we make a conscious effort not to leave each others lives. And although we don’t talk nearly as much as we used to, she knows I always got her back….

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