Best Friends Forever by Pam Avoledo

Megan had been my best friend since elementary school and the way she tells it, I was on the swing by myself, running my jelly shoes over the pebbles, my shoulders hunched and she sat next to me, and gave me the other half of her headphones and we listened to Spice Girls and whenever I went over her house she would have to be Posh even though she said I could be Posh but I ended up being Ginger and one day I shut off the stereo and said I didn’t want to be Ginger anymore and walked two blocks home and my mom said to let it go so I let it go and told her I was sorry and she invited me over for dinner again and we decided Amelia could be our best friend too and we skated in circles at Great Skate every weekend, spent half days at the corner booth at Taco Bell and burst out laughing after the manager told us to be quiet or we had to leave and we watched the R-rated movies with the lights off and the volume low as our parents slept and promised ourselves we wouldn’t love anyone like we did Brad Pitt and we planned a going-away party for Amelia when she moved away the beginning of sophomore year and we promised to stay in touch and hang out on the weekends and it was only a few miles away but Amelia started dating David and we didn’t see her ever again and sometimes we’d find photos of her and wonder out loud, “how she’s doing?” and we both liked Nick but Nick liked me as a friend and he took Megan to the movies, to dinners at the Greek diner in our neighborhood and to his bed and I swallow and swallow and the lump in my throat refuses to budge as Megan told me how he kissed her stomach, then her breasts and it hurt, oh my god did it hurt but it was love, it was love and we wrote inside jokes on the backs of our senior photos and cracked each other up as we sang Spice Girls at the school’s all night party with our arms around each other and winced as Nick tried to maintain his balance during a Sumo wrestling match and I had run into Nick sometime after graduation and over a whiskey sour, he told me “I only hung around with Megan to see you” but it was too late and I was with someone else but I let Nick take off my tank top and jeans in his apartment and he told me he never said he only liked me as a friend and we said it was our secret and Megan couldn’t ever find out and I wondered what else about Megan I didn’t know and Amelia liked one of my comments under Megan’s posts and they traveled with their husbands to Jamaica and Paris and captioned their photos with “making up for lost time!” as they sat in lounge chairs with tanned thighs, clinking their daiquiris and Amelia’s friend request hangs on top of my notifications and Madelyn sings along with the Spice Girls as we drive in my car, she says Daddy’s girlfriend, Renee wants to take her shopping and she isn’t sure what to tell her and I tell her it’s all right for her to go even though I don’t her want to her go and Madelyn calls out “Daddy” and runs on the driveway and Nick and Renee wait for her on the porch and Nick waves to me as Madelyn walks inside their home and it’s been years since. 

Biography: Pam Avoledo’s work can be found in ELJ Editions’ I <3 The Aughties anthology.