Hello. I’m here to tell you a story. A story of love. This isn’t your regular romantic tale. It’s a story of me and my best friend. We were born within weeks of each other. Our mothers were best friends from their university days. They got married about the same time, and were surprised to find they were both pregnant within a month of each other. Our mothers, being best friends and quite girly and silly back then, decided they’d name their children after their favorite artist’s song. The artist… Prince. The song… Diamonds and Pearls. Since I came first, I was named Diamond. 29 days later, Pearl was born. We were destined to be soul mates. We grew up next to each other. We went to the same schools, played in our mothers’ closets, and sang the same songs. We liked the same cartoons, took turns playing one Disney princess or another. We had joint birthday parties with princess cakes – mine was pink, hers was purple. It was so bad that we finished each other’s sentences and people thought we were twins. Never mind that Pearl was tall, caramel-skinned and skinny; while I was short, chocolate-skinned and chubby. We were the ultimate best friends. We got through first periods, first boyfriends, first kisses, university, and first jobs together. We did everything together!
Every year since we turned 20, we made a pact to visit a new city annually. Paris, Venice, Johannesburg. Last year I walked into the travel agency to enquire about plans to visit Greece for Pearl’s and my birthday. After concluding the itinerary with my agent, I turned around to leave and bumped into him. Donald. Tall, dark and handsome David. His eyes, piercing. His smile, charming. His suit, dashing. His scent, alluring. His voice, mesmerizing. I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks! He was the most handsome man I’d ever met in my life. My Barbie-like dreams of a Prince Charming had materialized right in front of me. I can’t tell you what was said that day – I was in such a dreamy state – but I left there, knowing that I’d met the man of my dreams. He had asked for my number, and promised to call me later that evening. I was in such a trance that I forgot to call Pearl to let her know I had finalized our travel arrangements. I got home with butterflies in my tummy and eagerly awaited his call. He did call and I have to tell you, his voice is so deep and exciting, it made my heart flutter. We spoke for hours that evening and shared everything. And that was just the beginning. We became hooked on each other very quickly. He became my morning alarm. And I became his nightly lullaby. He was the yin to my yang. The cake to my ice cream. We fell hard and knew we’d spend the rest of our lives together.
In all this, I tried hard to balance my time between Pearl and David. But it was hard. Lunch dates with Pearl turned into being surprised with lunch delivered to me at work from David. Weekend movies with Pearl turned into dinner dates, walks on the beach, wining and dining with David. Remember our birthday Greece trip? David took the week off and joined us on the cruise. He even arranged fireworks with the ship’s captain especially for me. I wasn’t trying to make Pearl the third wheel. She had a boyfriend too, but things weren’t so rosy. In retrospect, I now see that it must have been hard for her to complain to me about Mark, when I had only wonderful things to say about David.
He proposed to me 4 months ago. It was magical, but I won’t bore you with the details. Of course, I was excited, elated, enamored and couldn’t wait to share my good news with Pearl. But she sounded down when I called her and she offered a feeble ‘Congratulations.’ I figured it was because the hour was so late and she was asleep, so I didn’t think much of it. I began planning the wedding in earnest, and invited Pearl over for wedding planning sessions – she was going to be the maid of honor. She wasn’t as available as I expected but I was too busy getting things in order that I didn’t notice. Pearl was beginning to withdraw from me. Phone calls dwindled. Gab sessions fizzled. It wasn’t until my mum asked about Pearl that I realized we hadn’t spoken in 3 whole weeks. I quickly made out time to visit her office, but the girl I saw wasn’t the same girl I knew. She’d lost weight; her eyes were sunken in, her words clipped. I asked what the matter was, and that’s when she lashed out at me! She was furious.
The night I got engaged was the night she found out that her boyfriend, Mark had been cheating on her, and was going to marry someone else. She had tried to tell me, she said, but I had been so wrapped up in loving David, that I’d neglected her. Of all people in the world, she never thought I would hurt her. It made her breakup even more painful than it should have been. When she needed her best friend by her side, holding her hand, wiping her tears, and dissing all men, I was twirling around in wedding magazines, looking at honeymoon packages and being completely in love. Something had shifted. She didn’t want to take part in my wedding anymore. She didn’t want our friendship anymore. She was bitter. She was so hurt, so angry and I couldn’t blame her. I tried to apologize, I tried to hug her but she pushed me away. I tried to tell her I was sorry, that she WAS, NO IS my soul mate! That we were BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. I begged and pleaded with her, but she shut me out. That was the last time she spoke to me.
It’s been over a month. I’ve tried to call her. I’ve tried showing up at her house unannounced. I’ve asked my godmother to help me speak to her daughter, Pearl. But it’s all no use. I miss our gossip sessions. I miss going shopping with her. I miss our girls’ night out, drinking kir royale and munching on small chops. I’m not sure what to do. I miss my best friend. I miss my soul mate. If you know my friend Pearl, please tell her that I’m sorry. Please tell her that I miss her. Please tell her that I’m here for her, forever. And most of all, that I love her.