My best friend and I have known each other for thirteen years. We’ve been everywhere from here to across the country together and only fought twice in our lives. She knows me better than my younger sister ever could and has been there for me when I needed her the most.
We never did fight over a guy when we were growing up. In fact those two instances we did quarrel was over something so arbitrary such as accidentally kicking the other person a leaving a bruise. I guess we never really fought over guys because deep down my best friend has always only loved one boy.
My best friend had met this boy before she met me. They hit it off instantly and agreed at five or six years of age that they were in a relationship.
At seven years of age, my then new best friend and her boyfriend laughed at the possibility of getting married.
He told her, “If you married me, you wouldn’t have to change your last name because it would remain the same anyways,” because they both had shared the same surname, but were fortunately not related to one another.
Over the years my best friend, and the boy she had told me she fell in love with, kissed and held hands on the playground. They were ridiculed by all of the kids in our school because he was too hyper and didn’t fit in with the cool kids.
He had given her his mother’s earrings and told my friend that he had loved her in front of the whole school. Embarrassed, and sort of flattered, my friend decided to break up with him in junior high. She wanted to fit in, and he was never going to.
Within months after the break up her first love left the school and moved with his family to the state of Oregon.
The Ball Drop had taken place and everyone raised a glass of cheap sparkling Champagne to the New Year. We were dressed up in our marked down holiday sale sweaters, and our cheap dresses from “Forever 21,” feeling invincible and watching the illegal fireworks spark in the background.
I grabbed my phone to text everyone on my contact list “Happy New Year” when he said it—“I love you.”
“What?” I was generally shocked and surprised that my boyfriend, who I had been close friends with for years and then had casually dating for a little while, said those three words.
His face quickly went from a loving smile to a frown.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to say it.”
I felt awful for just standing there and ruining the moment, but as I thought about what had just happened I replied with an “I love you too.”
He quickly changed his pitiful sad face back to the original smile, and as we began reigning in the New Year I saw a glimpse of what my future with this man could be like. For a moment we were in love and ready to take on whatever came at us, but I promptly found that this may not have been the case.
Days later, my boyfriend and I returned to school and settled back into our apartments. As I was getting ready for my new quarter of classes, buying my parking permit and all of my terribly expensive books, I noticed that something had changed.
Stepping foot on campus after being separated from my boyfriend for a few days felt incredible different. I panicked.
What the hell am I doing? I had thought to myself. Needless to say, two weeks of awkward nights at my boyfriend’s apartment due to my evasive behavior made up my mind to abruptly dump him.
I met up with him outside of his apartment and told him that I wanted to break up. He stood there staring at me. It was the same stare that I had given him when he told me that he loved me only a couple of weeks ago.
It was a quick and simple break-up. He asked if we could remain friends and I said yes. We hugged, he walked back into his apartment and as soon as I started walking back to my apartment on that cold and wintry night, I felt the urge to run back and call the whole thing off.
That night on Facebook I changed my relationship status from “in a relationship” to “single.” His friends commented on the sudden change.
“I don’t know. I guess that’s it.”
To be honest, I didn’t know what had happened either.
They took turns catching up and eventually ended up exchanging cell phone numbers so they could text each other. About a month filled with the trading of fun stories and some flirty text messages went by before my best friend’s childhood lover told her that he was planning on visiting some family in California.
Miles away I could sense my friend’s eyes light up as she explained to me over the phone that her first love was returning to our hometown. I couldn’t help but think that this was destiny and that some sort of mysterious cosmic force was at work trying to reunite these two individuals again.
The time that brought together these two long lost lovers eventually came and went, but the effect from the meeting left a lasting impression on both of them.
My best friend told me that she had felt safe in the sturdy arms of this man’s embrace. She couldn’t help but let out a warm smile when all of their shared childhood memories came flooding back into her mind. It was incredibly obvious that they possessed mutual feelings of deep attraction between them.
He was the light of her dawn but he also, unfortunately, had to return to his life in Oregon as a firefighter while she was left to return to her life in the country as a vet-tech.
My friend ended up calling me a few weeks after the sad departure to tell me about a dream she had.
“I was standing in an amusement park on a cold and gloomy day, and out of the corner of my eye I saw him,” my friend had told me. “All of the sudden light burst out from behind the clouds and the sun emerged. Jasmine, I had forgotten everything else that was going on in the dream and I rushed over to him and leapt into his arms.”
“Wow—that sounds pretty epic.”
“It was such a wonderful dream. His voice, his smile and his loving embrace was exactly as it was when he came and visited me. I wish we weren’t so far away right now. It all seems kind of unfai…”
“Let’s go to Oregon,” I muttered completely cutting her off in response.
“We should go to Oregon instead of you, the other two girls, and me going to the beach and camping this summer. We can turn it into a road trip and visit him along the way.”
At this point in the conversation I figured she thought that I was going crazy, but I couldn’t blame her for thinking so. I actually kind of believed that I was going crazy too.
I met one of my other best friends back in a kindergarten classroom on the outskirts of the small town where I grew up. Sadly, I ended up switching schools the next year, but by an incredible twist of fate, we ended up meeting again at the school where I had already met my first best friend in the second grade.
My friend from kindergarten and I didn’t really become close until we went off to separate high schools. We spoke more and deepened our bond with the writer/peer-critic relationship that I initiated after sending her some of my fictional pieces. As we connected and shared our stories, I noticed it was then that I began to realize how strict her parents really were.
It was as if she was doing time under house arrest. Her parents, devoutly religious individuals, never let her leave the house. She was home schooled during her high school years, and even though she’ll never blatantly come out and admit it, I know for a fact that she hated it.
She was stuck in an awful rut that prevented her from moving away. Without a completed college degree, no job experience due to her parents intentions to keep her from working, and an extremely over protective brother and father, who along with her stay at home mother, tagged along with her everywhere she went, she didn’t really even have a fair chance.
So naturally when I suddenly decided to take a road trip to Oregon instead of our bi-annual weekend sleepover, there were many problems faced. At the rightful age of 20 years old, a full weekend away from her family was already pushing the boundaries. A weeklong trip across state lines didn’t even seem like an option.
“I really want her to go,” said my best friend from second grade. “She never gets to go anywhere and this trip seems like it would be really fun…I came up with a plan, but it involves some tricky business though.”
“What is it?” I said.
“Well one of us will have to deliberately lie to her parents’ faces—and then we have to kidnap her.”
I was totally for this plan. If we got caught we would have to make up something to weasel our way out of the ditch we dug for ourselves, but it seemed do-able. I eventually told my best friend that I met in college about the situation.
“I don’t approve of lying,” she said. “She’s over 18 and can make her own decisions if she wants to. I’ll take it to court if there is an issue.”
At that moment my thoughts shot back to reality. I didn’t know how everything would work out, or better yet, if we were even going to make it to Oregon. We were low on funds, not every parent wanted their kid to go on this trip, and there weren’t any guaranteed happy endings.
I understood the setbacks, but being my usually incredibly stubborn self, I was going to make this trip happen. I was going to drive, we set aside a week in August that seemed reasonable for everyone’s schedules, we planned on kidnapping and working odd jobs in between classes for cash, but we were going to Oregon damn it!
If you keep looking around for a sign in life and you can’t find what you’re looking for, maybe the fact that you were even looking around for something in particular is the actual sign. This is at least what I thought up until a certain point.
I thought it was best to leave my ex-boyfriend alone when we split. After all, I did spontaneously break up with the guy. I avoided running into him by steering clear of certain areas where he would frequent, and I’m pretty sure he did the same. Of course this didn’t last forever though.
There he was walking in my direction. We hadn’t seen each other in months so it was a surprise for both of us when we did finally cross paths. There was no immediate awkwardness. We hugged each other and had to hurry off to our classes, but this encounter with my ex didn’t end after we scurried on to complete the rest of our day.
He was now in my thoughts again, and I wondered how everything would be if I had never broken up with him that night. I debated calling him and spent a period of time in an intense tug-o-war with my mind, and after the debate was over I picked up my phone and decided to text him.
At that moment when I began to grab my phone, I received a text. It wasn’t from my ex though. It was eerie and unintentionally timed by one of my best guy friends. Completely forgetting about the huge task that was I planning on engaging in, I began to have a conversation that ended up lasting an entire day with my friend.
Not surprisingly, we ended up hanging out the next night. He, a mutual friend and I went out for ice cream, watched a late movie and then we headed back to their apartment for margaritas. It was about our third or fourth margarita in that our mutual friend decided to get up off of the couch and pass out in his bed.
Then it was two. He and I chatted until God knows when before he stopped the conversation, gently grabbed my chin, and kissed me.
I was surprised at first. I thought to myself, what about the guy that I was going to confess my love to before this?
The incredibly passionate kiss grew even more with fervor and so the next thought that came into my head was, screw that other guy, and after 30 minutes of intensity and him telling me that he has wanted to do this for a long time, it ended. I got up and walked out of the front door, confused and fixing my wildly savaged hair.
The next day I got a text saying that I had left my jacket behind at his place. Shit! I thought to myself. That meant that I had to face what had taken place that night fairly soon, but he instead managed to drop my jacket off without ever mentioning that night.
“Guys are jerks. Do you want me to kill him?” my friend from second grade said.
“No, it’s okay. You don’t have to kill anyone,” I said quietly chuckling.
“So it meant nothing?” my college friend asked.
“I guess so,” I said.
And as I ended the phone conversation with my friends I thought to myself, well that’s that.
During the chaos of planning for a trip to Oregon, dealing with my own Danielle Steel esque relationship drama, class work and my multiple jobs, my best friend from second grade managed to become someone’s girlfriend. I was obviously happy for her because she was my best friend, but I couldn’t help thinking that she had somehow screwed up my ongoing blog.
“Sooo, what about the guy in Oregon?” I said.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I kind of wondered if he would be sad and then I thought about it. Even if I were single what could really happen? We’re still pretty far away, he has a job in Oregon and I’m here working in California. I think that if it’s going to happen we’ll have another chance, but I just want to see what happens with his guy that I’m with now. He makes me soooo happy.”
Now what? I thought to myself. Do I have to change the title of my blog?
“I don’t mind seeing him though,” she said. “I mean, that’s not the initial reason why we were going right?”
Well of course it was. “I’m glad that you’re happy though,” I said. “Maybe we can go to Tahoe. It’s cheaper, and maybe we’ll be able to get everyone to go without kidnapping anyone and possibly receiving in jail time.”
“I just want to be with my friends,” my friend happily proclaimed behind the flash of a warm smile.
It was then that I realized what all this was really about. It was never supposed to be focused on some magnificent love story that I could write about, and it wasn’t supposed to be planned. This journey, that I randomly subjected myself to, wasn’t expected to spin into a cheap novel that you can grab while you’re on your way out of the grocery store.
This blog was about life, my friends and all of the unpredictable things that were to go along with them. “Oregon or Bust” was a journey that was—just that—a journey. It didn’t really matter where we actually ended up.
“You know what?” I said as I began to smile. “I just want to be with my friends too.”
“Yeah, the one that you wanted me to kill?” my friend from second grade responded.
“I never wan-whatever, yes.” I said. “Well, I guess the kiss kind of meant something because it happened again.”
“O.M.G.! Ahhh! I’m soooo happy for you!”
“So bizarre,” my friend from college said. “It’s crazy because I mentioned you two getting together last year, but nooooo, you didn’t do listen to me. Ha-ha.”
“Ha-ha, I know. Well we’re kind of casually dating now, so I did listen—just not right away.”
Then I thought about it. What if I had dated this guy when my college friend mentioned it? Would I have ever dated my ex?
Between the two make-out sessions that I recently had, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I was making the right decision in completely letting my ex go. I was literally about to text him and possibly get back together with him when I got one of the first of many texts from my new guy.
Was I some flip-flopping person who couldn’t make her mind up? Or was this all supposed to happen the way it did?
I left a door open with my ex a few months ago, though at the time I knew the relationship wasn’t going the way I wanted it too. The months in between the break-up and the make-out session did make me realize that I never sat down and resolved the problem by talking with my ex, and instead of doing so, I just broke it off.
It was after the second time I locked lips with my new guy that I realized what my friend from second grade was talking about with her new guy.
Even if I were completely single what could really happen? We were always on two separate wavelengths. He was ready for something far more serious than I was willing to get myself into and I obviously couldn’t bring myself to talk about it with him, which is something that’s completely the opposite about my new guy. I think that if it’s going to happen we’ll have another chance, but I just want to see what happens with this guy that I’m with now.
“Big news! No, it’s huge!” My friend from second grade said.
“What happened?” I replied.
“He’s coming to California for a month during the summer.” My friend was obviously concerned about how this was all going to work out. She had already moved on from her first love, living in Oregon, to a new guy she met in town.
“Umm—well that throws a wrench into the equation.”
“Does he know that you’re dating someone?” I asked almost hesitatingly.
“My relationship status is right there on Facebook so I’m sure he knows. Jazz, I think he’s gradually planning on moving back here.”
“Well I guess we’ll just have to deal with that when it comes.”
And it was true. There was nothing that we could really do about that situation until he got here. In the mean time though, I had my own bout with awkward timing to consider.
It all took place when I was just surfing the internet one morning. I happened to falter onto an unfamiliar site decorated with dark colors and intense graphics plastered onto the background. I went on to check who had put the site together and found the face of my ex staring back at me.
For some odd twist of fate, I had accidentally stumbled onto my ex’s personal blog, and being the curious person that I was, I started reading all of his random posts and viewing the artwork that he displayed.
It was all very interesting, but the experience didn’t shock me until I ran into a self written poem,
“…It scares me that I still have these feelings. It terrifies me because I am sure they are not mutual…Until I have that one that makes me forget about it all. Forget that any of that ever happened. Someone that will truly make me happy…”
Was he talking about me? What if I had found this post just a few days before—before the guy that I’m with now and I had made out? Why did I find this? I had a thousand different questions running through my head.
Terrible timing—or did it all just work out perfectly?
The summer was nearing and all of my classes were coming to an end when I noticed all of the changes going on around me. The past 10 weeks went by in such a blur that the annoying crick in my neck could have been blamed on some major whiplash.
My best friend from second grade had called me the other day about everything that was going on with her. She mentioned that the guy from Oregon had initiated a conversation about the month that he set aside to come and visit her and the town that he had once lived in.
“So how’s your new boo?” the guy from Oregon asked.
“You mean my boyfriend? Um, I guess everything’s fine,” my friend had replied.
“Oh—well, I can’t wait to hang out with you when I come and visit this summer.”
“You’re going to hang out with your other friends too right? I don’t want to take up all of your time.”
“I haven’t kept in contact with any of my other friends in town—only you.”
“Oh. Well—I can bring my other good friend along and we can all hang out. It will be fun.”
Awkward and weird was just the descriptive tip of the drama filled iceberg that had altered this summer’s voyage.
“Jaz, I don’t know how not to make this whole situation awkward. I told him that I would bring along our friend from high school. I mean— I like him as a friend and I still want to hang out, but I’m kind of in a serious relationship and he sounded sort of jealous because of it,” my friend said.
“I don’t know about that situation. That’s—kind of awkward,” I said.
I was happy that I didn’t have to deal with all of that relationship drama anymore. Life was good. My good friend from college who had been gone all year came by to hang out, I had a really nice internship set up for the summer, and I had this really awesome guy that I was seeing.
It was perfect… too perfect.
I realized again that the summer was approaching. For three months I would be separated from the guy that I was currently dating. I started to hyperventilate. Why was I hyperventilating? I thought about my last relationship. Ahhh! I have to end this! No! I can’t do that again. Why was I arguing with myself?! I’m still yelling at myself!!
I felt as though I had lost my mind, so I called my friend back.
“Haha, I’m beginning to think that anytime you like a guy and take a risk you panic because you begin to like them a lot,” my friend from second grade said.
She was absolutely right. I should get a gold medal for the most dramatic freak outs and the quickest cases of running away from anything. But was I right this time to panic? I had about a week (including final exams and what not) with a guy that was going to be gone for three months. Anything could happen.
Again—the terrible timing.
“Hey. Is everything ok?” I asked my friend.
While, with my own guy the night before, I had received a drunken call from my friend who I met in second grade, but being hundreds of miles away from her I just had to wait there and let her boyfriend (who was also drunk at the time) take care of the situation.
“I broke up with my boyfriend,” my friend said.
“I really got to see another side of him last night that I don’t really want to see again.”
The night of drunk behavior and a morning reflection of everything that has taken place over the past month led my best friend to realize that she and her (now ex-boyfriend) weren’t nearly as compatible as she had previously thought. Her (now ex) agreed and, for the most part, it was a normal and clean break up—that is until I got another call from my friend a couple days later.
“You know that night before I broke up with my ex?” my friend said.
“Yeah, of course.”
“Well, I called HIM that night too—“
Hundreds of miles away in Oregon, my friend’s childhood crush had been spoon-fed a whole lot of drama about my friend and her current dating situation at the time. She confided in him and opened up a slightly different can of worms.
“—He told me that he’s driving down here tomorrow.”
“I thought he was supposed to come later,” I said in total confusion.
“Yeah he was, ha-ha, but I’m happy anyways.”
Ha-ha, it’s funny now that I think about it. All this time we were trying to go to Oregon when, in the end, Oregon came to us.
Within days after breaking up with her previous boyfriend, my friend was found hanging out with her time long time love from her past, and it was unlike anything the two had ever felt before. It was like they both picked up where they left off, both transfixed in each other’s presence. And to tell you the truth—I still think that it’s the real thing, if you catch my drift.
That weekend, my guy and I added to the whole romantic atmosphere circling around in the lower half of California. Somewhere, in-between his gentle embrace one night, the guy I was seeing told me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I looked at him directly in his kind eyes and told him that I wanted him to be my boyfriend.
For a moment, I forgot all about the hundreds of miles that were just about to be wedged in-between us that summer, just as my best friend let the whole the-love-of-my-life-is-going-back-to-Oregon-after-a-month thing slip her mind—but only for a moment.
I’ve been here before a few times
And I’m quite aware we’re dying
And your hands they shake with goodbyes
And I’ll take you back if you’d have me
So here I am I’m trying
So here I am are you ready
Come on let me hold you touch you feel you
Kiss you taste you all night
“Need a drink. There’s something about you that I just can’t let go of…”
My friend from second grade’s ex wasn’t handling their break-up as well as everyone had thought, but it was too late to make things work now after my friend and her long lost lover from Oregon reunited in our hometown. Instead—we let the poor guy put a sappy Blink-182 music video up on his wall and complain about how he missed my best friend.
A few weeks with her childhood love had shifted my best friend’s thoughts from slightly upset about the break-up to walking on sunshine with their rekindled love. She was really happy about her life and all that was going on it, but something about the post her ex had left on his Facebook wall made her feel terrible.
“I don’t want to get back with him but I feel so horrible,” my friend said in regards to her ex. “I never wanted to hurt him, and I can’t even really imagine how he must feel because it looks like he seriously liked me and I mean, I liked guys but never really like that, and it always ended badly so I was always angry and got over them like that.” She snapped her fingers. “I feel so bad. I always wanted all the other assholes to feel like crap, but he was the best boyfriend I ever had and he treated me so well. He doesn’t deserve this. I want him to be happy. He deserves to be immensely happy.”
Where have I heard that one before? I thought in my head after listening to my friend talk about her situation.
“My ex did the same thing after I broke up with him, but now we’re both totally moved on,” I said to my friend. “He was a great boyfriend and I felt bad about how he felt after we broke up too. Recently he’s found a sweet girl in his home town, and I have a boyfriend now. Eventually he will get over you and you won’t feel as sorry for him as you do now. Time really does heal all wounds—he just needs a little more of it.”
“F#ck! The cookies are burning!” I had leapt into action and ran toward the kitchen when the pungent smell really hit me. I managed to turn the oven off as I simultaneously opened its door to a wall of billowing smoke.
“Oh God why?! I can’t do anything right! Maybe I should just give up.”
“Yeah, maybe you should just jump into a ditch,” my sister said jokingly.
“You’re not helping.”
It’s been a month since I left school and my new boyfriend behind, and I wanted to make everything perfect for when I came to visit him for his birthday. I spent the day looking for the perfect present and creating the perfect card only to realize that Murphy’s Law was only in full effect.
I just couldn’t catch a break. I messed up a few times with the handmade card and when it was finally finished my sister told me that it was a stupid idea. I tried editing, printing out, and framing a picture I took while away on vacation only to have it take a few hours longer than I thought it would have. I walked around the mall and the electronic stores all day with my whining sister only to apprehend that I couldn’t pick a present out for someone if my life depended on it, and which in the end, led to the flaming cookies.
“Don’t give your boyfriend those f#cked up cookies. The poor guy’s going to choke on them,” my sister yelled with a mocking snicker.
“F#ck! I’ll buy some then.”
I went to the mall right before it closed and ran into an off brand cookie place where the locals buy their tasty treats and ordered a freshly baked assortment of fluffy cookies.
There. Now all I have to do is get these lame gifts to him tomorrow and hope he doesn’t want to break up with me.
I drove three hours south to the county of San Bernardino to get to where my boyfriend was staying for the summer, and about two and a half hours into my traffic congested ride, my car started to shake uncontrollably.
“God dammit, why can’t anything go my way?!”
But when I pulled up into a parking space in front of the house I forgot about the two day span of terrible troubles. I saw my boyfriend walk out of the door and when he smiled and greeted me with a kiss all of my balled up frustration melted away.
I spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with some of my friends from college and my wonderful boyfriend. It was a few days of pleasant bliss and a break from all that was falling apart with my life back at home.
It eventually came to a sudden halt when it was time for me to leave though. I kissed him goodbye and spent the next two hours crying on the road for no reason. I was going to see him again in less than a week to watch the final installment of Harry Potter with him and some of our friends, but for some reason something else got a hold of me.
Then all of a sudden I heard a loud bang. I quickly pulled over to the far right shoulder of a nearly vacant long stretch of highway thirty miles away from my destination in the middle of nowhere. I took a quick walk around my car and noticed that my tire had completely blown out damaging the side panel of my door and leaving me momentarily stranded under the wrath of the hot sun.
After calling AAA for assistance with changing my spare, I sat with my feet dangling out of the front passenger seat. I knew that if I wasn’t driving unusually slowly from my random breakdown and that if I hadn’t have acted quickly and already had both hands on the steering wheel, that I could have easily spun out of control and possibly have died. I thought about life and all that has led up till now while I waited for help in the gradually setting sun.
I’m glad that this didn’t happen on the trip we planned to Oregon.
After fixing my poor car and returning to my own town, I immediately found myself back at my boyfriend’s place.
When I had left his place the last time I had spent nearly two hours sobbing about nothing, but things were definitely turning around when I decided to visit him a week later. I had spent only about a day with him, but when I left his place I wasn’t really sad at all. I mean, I knew that I was going to miss him and all, but it felt nothing like the time before.
A day of talking and just enticingly gazing into each other’s eyes eased the manic depressive emotions that spilled out the weekend before. I hated to admit it, but I really never felt like that about any other guy before.
I never visited other boyfriends who lived hours away like I do with my current boyfriend. I never cried about possibly leaving anyone, or actually felt guilty about other guys trying to talk to me. It was weird for me to move from being a serial dater to someone who was actually invested in a relationship.
“I don’t know, this is definitely a different situation this time around,” I told my friend from second grade.
My friend softly chuckled behind a smile and then sighed.
“He told me that there’s something about you I just can’t let you go,” my friend from second grade told me about her Oregon crush. “He really liked me Jas, and after all these years we still like each other.”
My friend and her guy from Oregon had spent only a month with each other under the blazing summer heat. Every second that they shared brought them closer to each other and strengthened the foundational bond that they had when they were children.
“Jas, I always dreamt of winning that cheesy teddy bear from the county fair and it all came true that night.” And after a whimsical ride on the Farris Wheel, her guy even won her three fish for her.
“Those fish are going to last a month because I got them for you,” her guy from Oregon said. It was the last time that they were probably going to see each other for a while, and the two of them were not too keen on long distance relationships.
“If he lived here we would be dating,” my friend said.
“What’s so bad about long distance relationships?” I asked.
“It’s too hard—and I don’t really want to be alone. But you know what? That night at the fair was such a beautiful memory to add to all the other beautiful memories. I may or may not love him, but my cup runneth over. He definitely knows how to make everything perfect.”
I felt the deep pain welling up inside her aching heart as she spoke to me. Tears nearly fell from her eyes before she caught them with her gently shaking hands, and I knew right then that there was something magnificent between those two.
A little piece of my best friend’s heart was taken away to Oregon after that. I didn’t know if they would ever get married, or if they would even get the chance to date again, but I knew that in the end that all it was worth it—and that it wasn’t a bust.
The continuation: “A Little Mulch of Letters.”