It was recess time, I was in sixth grade. I was hanging out with my friends and then something bad happened. I don’t remember everything, but I do remember that I had gotten into a fight with the friend of my best friend. We were screaming at each other, and we had asked our mutual friend to decide who was right. She didn’t take my side though. She was mad at me. I was crushed because we did so much together. We hung out all the time, and we had sleepovers almost every weekend. I didn’t even want her to have to choose, it didn’t feel right putting her in that situation—I just wanted her to stay neutral in the argument. I really thought we were going to be best friends forever, but I had no one after that. Nobody wanted to be friends with me, they all gravitated toward her instead. To this day, I don’t know the reason. Was I mean or selfish? Was I just not friend material?
Losing the person you thought was your best and truest friend is like losing your other half. You feel hurt, desperate, and scared. The sadness eventually goes away, but the feeling of emptiness and loneliness does not. Soon enough it turns into rage and you push everybody that loves you away, and then you’re truly, and completely alone. I’ve been through this more than enough times. The heartbreak killed me, I felt dead inside, and not one person bothered to care.
Everybody around me had their friends. That’s all I wanted in life. To have someone care about me the same way I care about them.
Now, of course, in a story like this, where the central character is friendless, there’s one more thing to be expected: Bullying. Oh yes, that’s right, I’m talking about that. They say grade seven is the best year of school, but for me, it was a terrible year. During recess, one of the boys in my class would come up to me and call me the worst names he could possibly think of at the time. He would call me “prego” and “fat ass,” but I guess in a way he wasn’t wrong, I looked like a balloon. Even though now I can brush those words off my shoulder, it still hurts. It wasn’t physical bullying, just verbal. But in that moment, when he said those things to me, it was like I got punched in the throat. I had difficulty breathing and I couldn’t talk. I just wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I could never cry in front of people because it made me feel stupid.
In grade eight, I was called obese. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I stood in line waiting for the bell to ring so we could go outside for recess. I wanted to cry right there—maybe I did, I don’t remember much after that. That was really how people saw me, I was the ugly fatty in the class and there was nothing I could do about it. That’s just what people thought of me. It certainly wasn’t easy to get through every day with these labels hanging over my head, floating there like a target so people could take more shots at me. Why not though, I was just big old Tiff? I was the biggest target at that school, and I knew for a fact that nobody liked me, because they all whispered behind my back. I never wanted to look in the mirror. I couldn’t look at the disgusting lump staring back at me replaying the words over and over again. I would always beat myself up by telling myself that I wasn’t pretty and that no one would ever like me because I wasn’t skinny like all the other girls. My self-esteem was the lowest it could possibly be, and I had no friends to tell me that I was beautiful, or to encourage me.
Finding the right friends was always very hard for me. I remember one of the girls in my class decided to be my friend. I thought we were pretty good friends, until we got into a fight and she said to me, “I was pretending to be your friend because I felt bad for you because you didn’t have any.” I knew in that moment she wasn’t really my friend. I guess I should’ve known this when she got me in trouble:
We were outside on the playground. We were bossing around this kid who was a year younger than us, but she did most of the bullying. She was forcing him to make fun of some girl and kiss her, who then told the teacher on us. I owned up to what I did, but my so-called friend did not, and I took all the blame for it. A true friend would never throw me under the bus like that.
Finally, I made it to high school, and I thought that it was going to be a great experience. I thought the bullying would stop. I was going to meet new people and make new friends to last me a life time. Little did I know, high school was about to become my worst enemy.
In grade nine, I made new friends. However, it was hard to fit in because the group of girls I tried to be friends with were close and didn’t allow newcomers. Only one girl in high school liked me and gave me a chance. At the beginning, I thought the group of girls liked me, and I wanted to be friends with all of them. We all hung out, talked, and had fun together. Later, I found out that once again, they were only pretending to be my friends, except one. I couldn’t understand it. What was I doing wrong? Why don’t people like me? Am I really that bad of a person?
The bullying stopped for a while at the beginning of high school, but in grade 11 it started happening again. I should have known. It was in religion class, where these guys threw chewed gum, pen caps, and the little springs from inside the pens at me. Then, they would throw bits of eraser at my head. I would just stare at the chalk board and write my notes, until I couldn’t take it anymore and broke down in class. I didn’t have an outburst but I started crying my eyes out. “Hey, don’t cry. They’re not worth it,” said the one good friend I had at that time to help me through it.
Ironically, I met her in grade nine religion class. She and a friend of hers sat a couple of seats behind me, and we eventually started talking. She has blonde hair and blue eyes just like me, but that definitely wasn’t the reason we were friends. She was my best friend. We did so much together. We had most of the same classes, we hung out all the time, even outside of school. We talked and laughed a lot—we did everything together. Most of the time we were inseparable; sometimes we got in fights about stupid things, but eventually, we would forgive each other. She was the only person in my life who understood me; the only person I could talk to about anything. I thought we were going to be best friends for life, but a couple of wrong moves can cause it all to come crashing down and blow up in my face.
That is exactly what happened to me, because all good things must come to an end. Especially to those who are good and have the biggest hearts. This was the most heart-wrenching moment of my life, the moment I realized I was losing the best person in the world. We had lots of fights in our four years of friendship, but nothing like this. This one was all out war. It all began in grade 12 when I started to date a guy who she used to be friends with. She got mad at me because I didn’t tell her right away. The guy had asked me out on a Sunday night and I was going to tell her about it the next day at school. I wanted to tell her in person, not over text message. She was furious with me and didn’t understand my motives at all. We got in a huge argument and it wasn’t pretty.
About a month later, that guy and I broke up, and my friend forgave me. I was so happy to have her back. One day in mid-April, out of nowhere, she wouldn’t talk to me. I had no idea what was going on. I would try asking her something, but she would just ignore me. I kept trying to get through to her. I asked her what was wrong but she wouldn’t answer. By the end of the day, we were talking again, but our words cut each other like knives. I can’t remember the exact words we used, but I knew we were officially no longer friends. I still had no idea what happened, or what I had done to deserve the silent treatment in the first place. I couldn’t help but cry to myself. I had no one, she took all of our friends away from me, and I was left all alone again. It was like my life wasn’t worth living.
Months went by and I was slowly getting over it. Even though I kept wondering what I had done to possibly deserve this, I didn’t care as much. She wasn’t my friend anymore and I just had to come to terms with that. Even though we got in fights, I knew she was a true friend because she was always there for me, she stood up for me, and she made me feel important.
Soon enough, it was time for college, and I was ready to get out and explore. I needed to meet new people and make some real life-long friends. After a couple of months into my first-year program, the girl who didn’t want to be my friend anymore contacted me. “I forgive you and I’m sorry,” she said. We talked for a bit, I asked her why she did what she did, and then I decided to forgive her. The reason doesn’t matter, I could tell her apology was sincere. Also, let’s face it, I cannot hold a grudge. Now, to this day we are inseparable once again, and it feels good having my best friend back.
During the first few days of college I made a great friend. After getting to know each other in class, we started to hang out a lot outside of school. We would eat lunch together, walk to class together, sit together—he was my best friend. When second semester rolled around, I gained many unexpected, but awesome friendships. They are the most amazing people in the world. They care about me, and love me for who I am. I’m all sorts of crazy and stupid but they love me for it. They are the best people I know. I couldn’t have asked for better friends and now I can’t even imagine what life would be like without them.
If I’ve learned anything from my experiences, it’s to know when to let go of someone, and when to move on, but also to cherish the friendships blooming in your life and grab onto them while you can. Trust me when I say this, things happen for a reason, and you can’t force fate. Fate will fall in your lap when you least expect it, and that’s when you know it’s real. I don’t think anything in life is more important than the relationships you form, except for the people you form them with. These people, this life—this is my bliss. Someday, you’ll get your bliss too, you just have to wait for the right people to come around.
Tiffany Cuddy is a second year Professional Writing student at Algonquin College. Writing realistic creative fiction stories is her passion whether it’s short stories or someday a novel. She loves watching TV and movies whenever she gets the chance. She doesn’t like watching documentaries; she finds them boring to watch and will fall asleep (also loves sleeping).