I was in my senior year of high school, counting the days until I turned 18 and could move out of my extremely toxic home environment with my abusive parents. My best friend Amy was also very eager to move out of her crowded home with her mother, stepfather, and two younger brothers. I was not 18 yet, so I could not sign a lease….Amy was of age but she didn’t have enough money for a security deposit or furniture. I had a better job and I wanted to move out immediately after my birthday so we started looking for apartments a few months before. We found a great one….I paid most of the first month’s rent and security. Amy’s mother was annoyed and would not allow her to take any furniture from her home so we browsed some estate sales and I bought her a bed, kitchen things, and living room furniture. Amy moved into our apartment and I continued to pay half of the rent and utilities for the next few months, planning to move in at the end of February. At the end of January, Amy told me that we had lost the apartment, and that she had stored our things and moved back in with her family. I don’t remember the reason that she gave, but we had encountered enough landlords that were hesitant to rent to two teenage girls that it didn’t seem implausible. I was devastated. As I said, Amy was my best friend, so we talked on the phone every day and she heard first hand about how bad things were at home. As is often the case with bullies, my controlling and abusive father was really ramping things up in anticipation of losing control of my life once I graduated and left for college.
Shortly before my graduation, I was talking to a mutual friend who suddenly said “listen, it’s not my business and I feel really bad about being the one to tell you this but Amy lied to you. She is still living in that apartment. She just didn’t want you to move in because you were graduating and she was afraid you would have a lot of parties.”
At first I didn’t believe her. The reason itself was absurd. I went to a fancy prep school, where the parties were usually held at the houses of the kids who had indoor/outdoor pools, tennis courts, game rooms, and full bars of free alcohol that no one would miss. No one other than my closest friends would even want to come to my cramped apartment where they would have to find street parking and BYOB. But as I thought about it, I realized that for months whenever I called Amy’s house, her mother said she wasn’t home and then she would call me back (caller ID existed but we didn’t have it, and this was in the 90’s before everyone had a cellphone). I didn’t want to believe it but I investigated further with some light stalking and eventually I was forced to reconcile myself with the truth: my best friend had totally screwed me over. She screwed me out of a few thousand dollars (a lot of money in high school in the 90’s!) and even worse she had callously screwed me out of my escape plan from my awful situation.
I had made certain of the truth on my own so there was no need to confront her. I just completely severed ties with her and eventually when she was calling and apologizing and writing me letters she admitted everything herself. I never spoke with her again. I took Maya Angelou’s advice and when she showed me who she really was, I believed her the first time.