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Playing House

Story time:

I found something out last night and its been bothering me so I'm going to do what I do best and write it out...

When I was 5 a new family moved into the apartment just a couple doors down. The lady had a daughter. She was a little younger than me but it didn't matter, I had someone new to play with. Her mother and my mother became good friends so over the next couple years we played Barbies... well she played... I ripped their heads off, lol. We swam the complex pool together. Went shopping together, ran in the woods together, roller skated together. Sleepovers, horror movies, ill-advised self hair cuts and makeup... everything that little girls do together. She was my first best friend. And then she moved away.

A couple of years later, when she moved back to our apartment complex life, things were different. We'd both grown but she seemed to have outpaced everything I knew. Boys. Sneaking out. Stealing cigarettes. A first drink. And this was only the beginning of a path that led to some very bad, bad places...

Now, don't take this as a tale of the "innocent one" and the "bad one" No one held a gun to my head while I spent time trying to catch up... and believe me, I tried for a while. I take full responsibility for my own stupidity.

She began making choices and enemies, and deservedly so. At this point I stopped trying to catch her. All of the little girl I used played House with was gone, eaten up by her worst enemy: her own self.

She used people. She hurt people for fun. She used people for rides, for drugs, for sex, for things. And when a man... some were men, some were boys... stopped giving her what she wanted, she hopped right onto the next one. Someone would give her a new drug, more drinks, more attention and... wash/rinse/repeat.

By the time my family moved away, we barely saw each other. I was okay with it though. I knew enough at 14 years old to know I didn't want that life and she didn't want to change. This would have been the end of the tale if it weren't for a phone call 4 years later...

She was pregnant, the first she kept. I don't know why she called me but I think it was because she knew I'd come. And I did, I went to her shower. I bought her things she needed. I went to an appointment or two when the father wouldn't go. She asked me to be her coach and I said yes. I sat in the hospital room and held her hand. I helped her breath and yelled "Push!" I did my part in helping her bring a new life into this world.

In return for this amazing experience, a year later I asked her to be the maid of honor at my wedding. I had hoped against all odds that motherhood would settle her, give her purpose beyond men and drugs but it didn't. Her drama, her drug problems, her selfish attention needs would always be first. I had to make the hard decision to cut her from my life and I did.

I didn't even tell her, something I regret to this day. I should have. Maybe it would have impacted her in some way, but I doubt it. I have not seen her in 20 years, since the day of my wedding... well besides that one time I ran into her in Walmart. She was rail thin, eyes sunken, with the obvious signs of teeth rot... buying a pregnancy test.

Last night I found out she died of a heroin overdose over 3 weeks ago.

I don't know how I am supposed to feel. Are you supposed to mourn someone who was a stranger even before you cut ties? I think I'm going to be sad, sad for the child that let me watch horror movies at her house when I wasn't allowed to, for the girl who tried (in vain) to teach me how to dance, for the little girl that played House.


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