Wednesday, October 26, 1988 was a big day for me. It was the first concert I had ever attended without a parent. It was the night the boy who I had dated since 1985 and I broke up. It was the night I met the boy I would moon after for the following four years. And, it was the night when I met Trinette.
That was my senior year, which was godawful in so many ways, I’m surprised I made it out with most of my sanity. Trinette was one of the reasons I did.
She was a freshman at the local university, and already an expert on Soviet and Eastern European history and culture. I had a dabbling interest in the USSR at the time, and she provided a catalyst that would propel me into Soviet Studies during my own time at the university. We also shared very similar tastes in music, and would sit in her apartment listening to Berlin and Erasure ad nauseum.
We were inseparable almost from the moment we met. I spent all the free time with her that I could, and we would write each other pages of notes during the day to exchange at our next meeting. I had forgotten about the notes until just now. Teenaged girls are exhausting, aren’t they? Especially the drama kids. I’m tired just thinking of how much emotional energy it took to be me. I’ll take wrinkles, saggy tatas and 40, over 17 any day of the week.
We were friend-soulmates and I adored her. Only we understood the depth of each other’s feelings. Only we knew how it felt to be such special, unique snowflakes. Every word we spoke was heavy with the honied angst that leaks from teenaged pores. We were serious artists, and serious lovers of history, and serious about fashion and style, and Trinette was very serious about hating brown eyeshadow and Christian Dior. “Brown looks like you’ve rubbed dirt on your eyes,” she told me.
She was my lifeline out of high school, the light at the end of the tunnel that said things were going to be okay. Her presence in my life meant that one day I could get out of the world I was living in, that I would survive my parents and algebra, and maybe I could even grow out my hair to be as pretty as hers.
Trinette had beautiful hair. Just saying.
Our friendship flamed out spectacularly in the summer between my senior year of high school, and freshman year of college. One day we were still thick as thieves, and the next? Poof. Gone. There were plenty of reasons for it, all silly, all sad, and all very 18-years-old. I think I was mostly to blame. I usually think I am mostly to blame, but in this case, I really do believe I was.
I went through formal Rush that August, having to face Trinette and her sorority sisters in a ballroom full of hurt for me. Hilariously (now, 20 years later, not so much then), my high school guidance counselor, the ditzy Mrs. Moneybags, had forgotten to add back into my GPA two courses she had removed to change to Advanced Placement status, leaving me with the 1.8 she mailed in as transcript for my Rush application. I was cut from the Rush process after the first day of parties, and had no idea why. All I knew was that I had faced Trinette in that ballroom, she hadn’t spoken a word to me, and the next morning my Rho Chi was phoning to tell me that she had never had anything like this happen, but that I was no longer welcome to any parties. Not even Phi Mu wanted me.
Mass rejection. Mass humiliation.
I pestered people about it, and someone finally came back with the story that Trinette may have said I had committed a Rush infraction. Of course she hadn’t, but it was enough to embitter me for a couple of semesters. It would be a couple of years, after I pledged Delta Zeta, before I found out exactly what had happened. Thanks a lot, Mrs. Moneybags!
Trinette and I ran into each other in the Bursar’s office in my senior year. She was working on her graduate degree, and had just come back from Romania. I happened to be wearing a pair of amethyst earrings she had left in my car prior to our flameout. When she hadn’t returned my phone calls, I had kept the trinkets left in the little plastic soap container she’d used for her overnight jewelry box. Those earrings were the only thing of value, having been a gift from her grandmother.
I realized it as soon as she looked at me, and started taking them out to hand them over. I will never forget the look on her face. She bade me keep them, but I insisted, pressing them on her.
It had been five years since we had last spoken, and I asked for her phone number. I wanted to apologize to her for having been 18 and dramatic. She let me do that, but then no more.
I regret a few things in my life. Losing Trinette’s friendship is one. She was an interesting, driven girl, and my Google-stalking tells me that she has overachieved what she set out to do. I found her on Facebook and have been hesitating pulling the trigger on requesting friendship there. I guess it couldn’t hurt anything but my pride.