Thursday, April 13

That's Cool



I have a love-hate relationship with couple puns. You've probably heard them before or maybe seen them printed onto the novelty t's at your local Target. "You are my butter half", "olive you", "you'll always have a pizza of my heart!" Sure, they're cute, but they're also pretty corny. As I've gotten a little older, I've learned to appreciate a little corny, but there was a time when it was all about the cool.

You know the days, I'm sure you suffered them too. The teenage years when rolling up your pants the wrong way could have a detrimental impact on the complexities of the fragile teen-popularity hierarchy. Other than making sure your hair was parted the right way, your eyeliner was drawn on perfectly, and your sarcasm was pitched in the correct tone exuding the appropriate blend of mock and contempt, it was elemental for you to associate yourself with the right kinds of people if you had any chance of being considered to be anywhere even near to a degree of cool. Luckily, being a member of my high school marching band gave me a head start to this sacrosanct achievement as it opened up the door to becoming friends with the sort of people who had just the right amount of cool and swagger to elevate me above the social pariah stratum. Come on, you know the band geeks were the best!

One friend, in particular, really helped lift my "cool" levels up. Andrea was an upperclassman and yet she spoke to me. Better yet, she asked me to hang out with her, at her house, with her cool older sister and sister's friends who were in- college! Can you imagine a pimple-faced high-schooler shooting the breeze with some sexy intellectuals sipping rum and coke? I tossed my hair a bit while Andrea stood, leaning on the kitchen counter at just enough of an angle to convey that cool feigned disinterest that made her look wiser and more sophisticated than what you'd expect from a 17 year old girl.

Andrea let me into her world and for a time we were inseparable- two peas in a pod, you might say.

It was Andrea who I turned to whenever high school love broke my heart. It was Andrea who I called whenever I had a great idea and needed a sounding board. She was my peanut to my butter, my star to my burst, my flip to my flop. And the feeling was mutual. Andrea opened her heart to me. She shared her deepest fears and greatest secrets.  At this point, cool had nothing to do with it. We had seen the best and worst of each other. There's nothing cool about snot and boogers running out of  your nose when you're sobbing about your parents' divorce. You abandon cool when you're scared and afraid of the future and all you want is a friend who'll be there and tell you "it's gonna be ok," We lifted each other up in genuine sisterhood and friendship, but then it all stopped.

Andrea dropped out of my life like a rat fleeing a sinking ship. She graduated high-school, moved on to college, and didn't want to hear from me ever again. I guess I wasn't cool enough for her anymore? At first, I made excuses. "She's just really busy". "She'll come around". But then I'd run into her and the amount of awkward in the air was enough to suffocate the elephant that was surely standing in the room silently laughing at my attempt to bring things back.

Eventually, I let it go. Things change and you move on. You accept rejection to avoid humiliation. A friendship that had seemed so cool, cooled to the point of suffering frostbite, breaking off, and leaving nothing but a painful memory in its wake.

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