Once, in middle school, I spent an entire lunch period walking away without saying anything every time a girl—Lindsey, I think her name was—approached me. I didn’t want her to join my group of friends, so I found a way to make her feel unwelcome.

Once, a friend I trusted had another girl hide in her closet and then prompted me to say bad things about the other girl.

Once, when I was really young, a friend, Katie, locked me in her parents’ trailer.

Once, on my twenty-first birthday, a group of friends sang You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling to me at karaoke. One guy got down on his knees and serenaded me.

Once, in high school, a girl—also a Katie—took a detention she didn’t deserve rather than turning me in. (She sat in the same seat I did the hour after me, and we used to write messages to each other on the desk.)

Once, a friend accused me of being the reason her parents fought at home.

Once, a friend told me about something horrible that had happened to her, and I didn’t know how to react, so I smiled.

Once, a friend stole my date to a high school dance before we even got to the restaurant.

Once, I met with a girl every week in the park to do homework and talk about class. It was my third term of grad school, and I think she realized I hadn’t made any friends yet.

Once, a friend moved to California without saying goodbye.

Once, a friend—Ashley—came over to my house and kidnapped this talking Stitch stuffed animal I had. She left a ransom note with directions to her house so that I would come see her, all because I’d been completely depressed lately.

Once, I had friends that could make all my problems go away—at least temporarily—just by taking me to IHOP.

Once, I had a friend that told me the reason he’d been so mean to me lately was because I was easy to take advantage of.

Once, I had a friend who drew up funny signs to leave on my dorm room door. A year later, she left me a wonderful good luck message on the day I tried out for the marching band.

I have a friend who still sends me a text message at exactly 7:12 a.m on my birthday each year to commemorate the exact moment I was born.

Once, I had a friend whom I drove away by always complaining about the problems in my life and never asking about hers.

Once, I had a friend who moved away. I found her years later on Facebook and added her, but she never responded to my friend request. I had another friend who moved away around the same time, and I’ve never been able to find her again.

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