I’ve Had Enough of Tough Love

Be nice and talk kindly to me or leave me alone

Zita Fontaine

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Photo by Artur Voznenko on Unsplash

I had a best friend during and after high school. We were inseparable, we talked a lot, we shared everything with each other. We were spending so much time together that people thought we were sisters — even though we looked nothing alike, for our movements and gestures were synced to each other. For years, I couldn’t have imagined my life without her. She was such an integral part of me that it was just impossible to think of a time when we are not that close.

After university, I got a scholarship to a French school, to add an extra year to my studies — the opportunity of my life, with everything paid for and arranged. I was sad to leave my best friend behind, but the pull of that adventure was bigger — and after all, she is my best friend, she’ll be there when I come back.

The year in France was epic. I missed being home and I missed my friends but it was brilliant. And I lived my best life. New friends and parties and going out, and dates and some classes, and then some more friends and parties. I was 21, of course, I loved it all.

And of course, I wanted to share everything with my best friend even when I was away, but it wasn’t possible. Please note, it was in 2000 — and international calls were extremely expensive, so our connection was limited to short calls and a few postcards.

When I moved back home and we started to meet again, hang out, go out to parties and talk about everything, I realized one thing that I had never noticed before. She was the same person, but I wasn’t anymore. And she was talking to me exactly the same way as she had done for years before — only now I didn’t like it. Because she was always spilling her tough love on me.

She was commenting on my clothes. On my choice of words. On what I was about to eat. On my decisions. On the dates I had or I wanted to have. On the music I started to listen to while I was away. On the movies I was supposed to like.

And suddenly, I realized that she has been doing this all the time — and that I had loved her too much so I had never even noticed. In France I made other friends. Different ones. Not the friends that we used to be, (or so I thought) but very valuable connections…

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Zita Fontaine

Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail