Jamie was my desk mate in 8th grade. She was vivacious, fearless, and funny. All of the adults called her a bad girl. Every kid wanted to be her friend.
In contrast, I was shy, quiet, and compliant. I concentrated most of my attention on not being noticed. It worked. I was invisible.
It surprised me when Jamie sat with me in the cafeteria one day and said, “Hey, New Best Friend! Can I have your pizza?”
I passed her the pizza slice on my lunch tray and offered her my chocolate pudding.
“You’re the best!” Jamie mumbled through a mouthful of pepperoni and cheese.
I worshipped her instantly.
Jamie loved to push me out of my comfort zone. We tasted every single icecream flavor, even the gross ones. We road the most dangerous ride in the carnival- twice. She pointed out interesting looking people and dared me to ask them questions like,
“What is your favorite memory?”
We did plenty of “bad girl” stuff, too. We sneaked through her bedroom window to meet boys, smoked, shop-lifted and raided her grandmother’s liquor cabinet.
Jamie had another friend at school named Victoria. I was jealous of her. Victoria was just a normal girl, but she had the audacity to say Jamie was her best friend!
Jamie assured me that Victoria wasn’t even her second best friend.
“She’s basically like a sister, so I can’t get rid of her. I wish I could. She’s such a bitch,” Jamie said.
I was shocked the first time I heard Jamie say “bitch”. I couldn’t even say “crap" without having a giggling fit. I didn’t feel comfortable with the name-calling, but I went along with it.
Any time Jamie spent the night with Victoria, she called and whispered, “I wish I could come over, but I already promised to…