The high school friend, Amanda. We became best friends in sixth grade because we were both more interested in books and dolls than boys. She came from a long line of old oil money and had the nicest of everything. She didn’t work in junior high or high school but I did. I would treat us to McDonald’s, clothes, matching perfumes and lip balms, everything. I wanted the most fun possible for our friendship even at my own expense. As we grew older, I paid for concerts, dinners, and eventually overnight trips in neighboring cities when we wanted to get away. I have distinct memories of her father always asking her why she couldn’t work like I did to earn her own money. It ribbed her and I know it was a sore spot. She would explode on me sometimes, implying that I was somehow rubbing my employment in her parents’ faces. To be fair, I think I did sometimes. My own parents expected me to work at a young age without much commentary. I liked the validation from her family; that working at such a young age meant you were responsible and good. I didn’t really care that she didn’t work, just wanted the daughterly recognition that I wasn’t getting at my house.
Later when we went off to the same college, she maxed out credit cards over and over on designer clothing and her parents would yell at her but pay it off in full every time. She let me have access to her closet pretty often and I reveled in her nice high heels, designer denim, blazers, and blouses that actually lasted. We were (are?) the same size in everything from age eleven onward. She had a new car and let me drive it whenever I wanted.
We have grown pretty far apart in the decade since high school given the different social circles we ran in during college. She fell in with a film crowd and I built close friendships with the coffee baristas I worked with during school. At some point we stopped wanting to prioritize one another and I got fed up with her frequent absences, annoyed that she didn’t seem to need me anymore. She lives across the country now and goes to graduate school on her parents’ dime. I know that sounds wildly judgmental but I don’t mean it that way. I work full time, obviously, and have my sights set on financial freedom and career moves and eventually supporting my parents. We used to be so alike and we’re so different now. She was the first person I bought so much for, long before the boyfriends. I know my terrible habit of buying things for other people started with her but I still can’t determine the reason. I was more affectionate in our friendship than she was but I never felt I had to buy her love. I just did anyway.