I used to work with a woman who hated me.
There’s an expression in the online world, B*tch Eating Crackers. BEC for short because life is much too busy to be insulting people in full actual words.
Anyway what it means is that you dislike a person so much that they could be minding their own business and doing something totally inane, like eating crackers, and still it irritates the crap out of you. You’re all “look at her over there, eating those crackers. Ugh. What a b*tch.”
I was her BEC.
Now the reality is I am probably a whole lot of people’s BEC, because I am socially awkward and write stories on the internet about my lady parts and complain about almost every single thing that was ever invented ever.
Take, for example, this interaction I had recently when I was out with a group of lovely women I had never met but live near so I was trying extra hard not to say anything truly stupid:
Lovely Lady 1, talking to Lovely Lady 2: “yeah, so I was out walking Herman…”
Me (WHO WAS NOT EVEN BEING SPOKEN TO): “Aw, is Herman your dog?”
LL1: “Um. Hi. Yes.”
Me: “Cool. That’s my hemorrhoids’ name.”
This kind of thing happens again and again when I leave my house and sometimes even if I don’t if I am texting after a cocktail or two, so you would totally understand why I am a good candidate for someone’s (maybe yours!) BEC.
But with this particular coworker it stung, a lot, because we had once been friends. Aided by the proximity that working together brings we had made it a few steps past awkward small talk about body parts and into that territory where you have started to bare little tiny pieces of your soul, like appetizers, served up to gauge the other person’s reaction so you can decide when and if they will be ready for the main course of your particular flavor of crazy.
And then one day she hated me. Always quick on the uptake, it took me a while to realize the tides had turned. I followed her around the restaurant where we worked for a few more days like a sweet puppy dog with a name we won’t mention again, until eventually she turned around in frustration and maybe a little malice and made it plain: she did not like me.
Not one bit.
And I was devastated. All of the sudden I just knew with instant clarity that she was probably my favorite friend ever and I wondered how I would ever be able to get married to the fiancé I didn’t have in the wedding that was not scheduled if she wasn’t my maid of honor.
How would I have the kids that wouldn’t appear for years and years if she couldn’t be their godmother?
How would I someday watch that iconic episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Christina names Meredith her person if I didn’t have THIS EXACT WOMAN (who couldn’t stand me) as my person?
Did I mention I can’t remember her last name? Or what she looked like? Or if her first name started with a J or a G? Or how she was kind of mean even when we were friends and I was always a little unsure if I could trust her and some part of me was always concerned that maybe I should have run away as fast as I could in the opposite direction before she stabbed me while I was looking away?
But none of that matters when we get rejected. None of that matters when someone you think is on your team reveals themselves to be rooting against you. None of that matters when you put yourself out there only to have someone sample and say “yeah, no thanks actually I’m all set” as they back away slowly and carefully.
None of it mattered, no, but none of it was about her either, which is the part that took longer to realize.
Like, until this week. Until something similar happened and I started to go all puppy dog and sappy and had to stop myself and physically take a step back and remember that the world gives and the world takes away and some people have cute dogs and some people have hemorrhoids and sometimes, if you are really lucky, you get just exactly who you need just exactly when you need them.
And then when it’s time to, you let them go.
To all of my ladies by blood and by proximity and by bond and by choice, the ones who have come and gone and the few who have stayed, much love. Always.
Life’s too short for anything else.
And If you need me I will be over here with my crackers.