Friday, January 4, 2008

my favorite friend ...

rules did not apply to me when i was 20. i treated girl friend codes of conduct like parking restrictions, and metaphorically shimmied my chevy celebrity into the tow-away zone called my best friend's recent exboyfriend, oneniner.

i'm not sure how i rationalized the breach: i probably told myself, well she broke up with him, well she has a new boyfriend who is super cute, well oneniner's stoney good looks and flirty nature were too, too much for this little weakling to deny.


actually, we had all had a crush on oneniner while they were dating in high school. strong, athletic, funny. the kind of guy who could fireman carry you down the hall to the very same math class he was flunking. he always made you feel like he had a secret crush on you, and lo if not for fannie, we could be his harem.

fannie and i had been friends since the first day of first grade for a lot of conveninent reasons. mostly because we both were skinny freckle faced tots trapped in plaid jumpers under a mess of stringy straight red hair. there wasn't a priest, principal or music teacher in the school who could tell us apart. when i got kicked out of our group of friends for littering on the playground, she quit the group with me.

and i didn't mean to do it. one day i was hopped up on the twin, and creeping into my parent's house with my shirt on wrong side out. literally the very next day, oneniner was confessing that he [foot shuffle] kinda, sorta [shuffle, feigned shyness] liked someone and [gosh, christa, gee] it was me. really, my only criteria for boyfriends at that time was simple: must. like. me.

within three days we were madly in love. we had to be lanced apart at the end of each day.

i don't remember telling fannie, although i did. and she seemed fine. unemotional. she probably shrugged. i probably thought she meant the shrug and that she didn't care and that her new boyfriend was great enough to erase five plus years with oneniner. i probably told her that i would be respectful of the delicacy of the situation.

i failed 'respectful of the delicacy of the situation' by the end of the week. oneniner and i in a liplock during a barbeque. we had drank enough that we thought we were hidden in the trees; in the daylight i realized we were about 12 feet from fannie's lawn chair. things were a bit strained after that, and days before my 21st birthday my friends made me an ice cream cake and had a small party that i didn't attend. later, they showed me photos: each guest posed with my cake.

before fannie went back to school i gave her my clipped drivers liscense. she had a few months left of 20. she celebrated my birthday as her's in vermillion, south dakota; i celebrated my birthday with her exboyfriend in rochester, minnesota. and we talked very little.

fannie's boyfriend called me before christmas break my junior year. he was going to come to rochester for part of his vacation, and wanted me to help him organize a surprise party for fannie's 21st birthday.

"um," i hemmed. i remember pacing in the musty basement bedroom of my college house. "we aren't really, like, um ... talking?"
"but you're still best friends," todd coaxed.
i loved todd. sometimes i hoped he would be the second fannie castoff i'd procure. he liked depeche mode.

eventually i agreed.

todd and i organized a group of about eight people for a party at applebee's. he and her parents would pretend it was just the foursome for dinner. they would come around a corner and: surprise!

oneniner and i got to applebees about 15 minutes early and sat at our reserved table. balloons, streamers and a sign. soon semper fi arrived, then princess linda. princess linda decided to run down to edie bauer to look for a belt; semper fi had to make a phone call. fannie's dad's van pulled up in front of applebees and it was still just the two of us at the table.

nothing says "happy 21st birthday" like your exboyfriend and the gazelle who sunk her sharp, carnivorous fingernails into his fresh, barely single fontanelle. and at applebees, of all places. we cowered in the corner; we hid our eyes. and when she stood in front of us with a sort of 'i-smell-something' look on her face, we muttered a weak "surprise?"

eventually everyone else returned, princess linda with a new belt. the awkwardness was lost in the bottom of a few alabama slammers. and by the end of the night, we were friends again.

and when i eventually broke up with oneniner, i did it for the same reasons she did.

anyway, thursday was fannie's 32nd birthday and on fannie's birthday i like to write about fannie. happy birthday, bigfatfucker.

4 comments:

ps said...

i love it. happy birthday, fannie!

Whiskeymarie said...

Oh, the things we girls did to one another in our early 20's.
The "thou shalt not date exes or boys coveted by thine friends" was a rule my friends & I had.
And repeatedly broke.

Good thing we were a forgiving bunch.

Happy b-day Fannie!

Miss Kate said...

Hmmm. Now I feel like an unforgiving wench. Crap.

christina said...

kater: nah. fannie was probably happy that i saved her from having moody country songs dedicated to her nightly on K102 FM.