When I was twelve my family moved from a large city to a very small one, and in the process of making me make new friends, my mother decided I would have a slumber party. If you've been that age, you know the politics of adolescence can make Congress look like a Disney Movie, happy ending included.
Among the gaggle of girls who spent that night at my house were, among others Abby and Dana. Abby was sweet, quiet, thirteen, and I want to use the word poor, but her family was always dressed well, had plenty of food and her family didn't seem much different from mine other than the fact that they all shared one bathroom and didn't have air conditioning. Dana's life was closer to mine in socioeconomic status but was she standoff-ish to the point of being cool and she already had a close friend, another girl named Dana. They spent the weekend glued to each other.
I don't remember anything particularly interesting happening at the slumber party, other than the fact that Dana the First seemed to be in a bad mood the whole time, as if she'd been forced to come to this party, but I could hardly blame her for that since I'd been forced to have it.
Several months later, we were all at a large party, a church social really, together with our parents, parents in one part of the building, the kids, as they do, drifting/running as far as way from their parents as they were allowed to be and I found myself having a very good time dancing with Abby to something with a beat. Not long into this goofy gangling, Dana&Dana walked into the room, Dana the First with her sour face plastered perfectly in place and I remember her giving either Abby or me the head to toe scan, at which point she sneered. The look was facial "buzz kill."
Abby and I stopped bouncing around like insane people and waited as they walked up to us and then Dana said something to me which would effect the rest of my teenage years. She said,
"If you want to be my friend, you can't be her friend."
I laughed. I don't remember exactly what I said, but the net effect was,
Dana the First began a rather serious campaign of making both Abby's and my lives a living hell, when ever the opportunity afforded itself. Since her parents became friends with my parents, the opportunity afforded itself often. Not a big deal. Those years would have been a pain in the ass even without her help. I grew up. I married. I moved. I got smarter. I got divorced. I moved. I got remarried. I got smarter. I forgot Dana the First, and to tell you the truth, I forgot Abby.
Today, I'm looking back on that time because I'm in the middle of a situation that makes me feel like I'm standing there in that room looking at Dana the First telling me I can't be friends with Abby if I'm going to be friends with her and I asked myself this morning what I would have said had I been as smart/age wizened as I am now.
I would have asked her,
To be continued...