I hung out with an old friend tonight. This month is her one-year wedding anniversary. When she started dating her now husband, I saw less of her than usual. It’s kind of an unspoken rule among single girls of a certain age that once there’s a significant other in the picture, that “other” will take your place at the movies, at restaurants, on trips, and on the couch — at least temporarily.
They moved in together, bought a car, and purchased a dog all within that first year. It all moved so fast, at least for me. (Who was this person that was taking away my girlfriend? I have lots of friends, but each one offers something unique and special in my life that I deem irreplaceable; I get weary of outsiders.) Then they were engaged and then there was a wedding to plan and with each new chapter in her story, I told myself it was only temporary — this friend had just lost her mind; she was experiencing an interlude of insanity. Happens to the best of us, I rationalized, especially as we approach the ZOMG30s when pressure is on and clocks are ticking. She would be back at the singles table next to me in no time.
But then when I did see her, it always involved the new dog and the new man — we rarely got to spend a minute alone together. And then we drifted apart. The sacred conversations we once had during which secrets were exchanged and shame turned into something to laugh about, would now include a third person, or not happen at all. And tonight, on the anniversary of their marriage, I bought them a bottle of wine, toasted to their milestone, asked them about the moments in which they knew the other person was “the one,” and wished them love. This is what it means to no longer be a girl.
My friend and I met at 19 and now we’re on the verge of 32. Somehow her life has accelerated in a direction that mine has not and that I’m not sure I want to follow. I’ve lost something and she’s gained something. But still I worry: Did she choose the right person? Did she make the right decision? Is he the best thing to happen to her? The truth is I may never really know because I can’t even make these decisions for myself in my own relationships; and because we don’t share secrets anymore.