Time to Let Go
By Grace Cuddihy
A piece about letting go of an unhealthy friendship.
“Happy Birthday!!!” I handed Emily the tickets.
She looked at the paper, confused.
“It’s a Glow in the Dark 5k!” I said, “I thought that we could do it together!”
Her face lit up as she processed my words.
“Oh my god! Thank you!” She flung her arms around me. “This is so fun!”
Scrolling through Snapchat, I saw a photo of Lizzie and Emily together. They’re hanging out without me? My stomach twisted. I swiped up.
Grace: You guys are hanging out?
Emily: Yeah we’re going to a party with Erin 🙂
Grace: That makes me kinda uncomfortable
Grace: Well you and Lizzie didn’t tell me that you were going
Emily: I’m sorry but i thought u and Erin aren’t friends I get why you’re upset I’m just not rly sure what to do
Grace: Not go? I already directly discussed with you that I don’t feel comfortable with you hanging out with Erin, because she was racist to Malik and me. If you’re going to ignore that at least be honest about it
Emily: Can we talk abt this later?
Emily left the conversation.
Grace? left the conversation.
I stopped short, leaning against the wall of a bakery in the middle of Boston’s Chinatown.
“Are you okay?” Jenna asked me.
“Yeah, I’m fi—” The words caught in my throat.
“Okay… we’re gonna get some food, see you guys later.” Jenna gestured to her boyfriend Ben, and they wandered off.
Malik put his arm around me. “Are you okay?”
I burst into tears. “I just—” I paused, searching for the words. Why am I crying? “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m crying. Just—why did they leave the group chat?”
“I don’t know baby,” Malik said softly, stroking my hair. “We don’t really use it, anyways.”
I know that. Of course, I know that.
“But now we aren’t going to talk at all!” I replied like a toddler. I’d been holding onto a hope that our group chat would someday be active again, and we’d talk like we used to. Those hopes slipped through my fingers like sand.
“Hey Grace, are you okay about Lizzie and Emily?” Jenna rolled over in their bed from across the room. They had been nice enough not to ask me about it earlier that day.
“Oh, yeah. I’m okay.” I hoped I sounded more confident in my answer than I felt. “What about you?”
“Oh, I literally don’t care,” Jenna laughed. “We haven’t been friends in a long time, and they were pretty terrible to us.”
I looked up to the ceiling. Here I was, on an amazing spring break trip with my best friends, and I was crying about a friendship that ended a long time ago.
“Hey, do you want to do s’mores?” Jenna crept up behind me with a grin on their face.
“I really do,” I replied eagerly. I made my way over to the fire pit, where my baby cousin and Malik were play swordfighting. Laughing, I pulled out my phone, snapped a picture of the two of them, and put it on my Snapchat story.
I clicked through the stories that popped up in my feed. Emily had posted a photo of Lizzie at the beach, smiling and looking towards the water.
“S’mores time!” Annie cheered, poking a marshmallow-loaded stick over the fire. I put my phone down, and stood up to join my friends around the flame.
This piece originated through a daily writing prompt, “A Difficult Goodbye.” I immediately thought of a recent experience that I have had of letting go of a dysfunctional friendship that I had been holding onto for an unreasonably long time. My mentor and I worked together to develop this writing from essentially a diary entry to something more exploratory and relatable.
Grace Cuddihy is a writer, an activist, foster dog parent, baking enthusiast, and high school junior. She loves writing personal essays and writes frequently about her experience living with chronic illness. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching Survivor and phone banking. Grace’s favorite book is The Perks of Being a Wallflower and her favorite book series is Percy Jackson: Heroes of Olympus. Her favorite authors are James Baldwin and Toni Morrison.