Dear Nate –

I know it seems weird to hear from me, your best friend’s mom. Even weirder than the time I sang “Watch Me Whip” in public or came to school in my Griffindor bathrobe. But something happened today, and I didn’t know where else to turn.

Today was a terrible day, Nate. I didn’t know this day would come so soon.

Today there was a hole in the world.

Where were you, Nate? You were my rock. You are the kid who showed me that my son could make friends, after all. Real friends. I had nearly given up hope, and you proved that not everyone would always recoil in horror at his various musical bodily functions. You just laughed. Like, a lot. You laughed so much you sounded a little like a squirrel on acid but I didn’t mind. I knew you were a keeper.

You were his first sleepover guest. Always his science project partner. You both made straight A’s and always had each other’s back. You spent hours playing Minecraft and GTA and using fake swears like “Fudge!” and “Mother Russia!” so you wouldn’t get in trouble.

Remember the last week of summer in 4th grade? I drove us all to that giant water park, and you both had so much fun on that trip. Singing and belching fragrantly and shooting nerf darts at each other in the back seat. Back when the only thing I had to worry about was that one of you might make me turn this car around.

You’ve been inseparable, these last four years.

Where were you today, Nate?

When my son asked me if I would drive him to the movies today, I thought we were giving you a ride too, like always, but when he gave me directions to pick up some new friend – his name is Trevor – I started to get nervous. What about Nate? I asked. Isn’t he coming?

“I don’t have to do everything with Nate, mom. I can have other friends.” He rolled his eyes, Nate.

Rolled. His. Eyes.

I tried to play it cool, but he knew. Don’t worry – we aren’t going down without a fight, Nate. You can count on me.

What do you mean? Of course you can, but what’s wrong with Nate? He’s so smart, and funny, and he always does his homework —

“I know. I still like him, mom, but I think we might be growing apart.”

WHAT???

“It’s like…he hasn’t even hit PUBERTY, mom. He says the dumbest things out loud in class….he doesn’t talk to girls, all he wants to do is play video games.”

WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT, NATE?

I couldn’t let him talk about you like that, Nate. Not talking to girls? THAT’S MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOU! That, and how you like AC/DC and Zeppelin. Is it because of that time I made you listen to Dexys Midnight Runners and you looked me in the eye and said “That song is stupid,” when we both knew you meant “Amazing?” That doesn’t mean we couldn’t get along. That doesn’t mean it has to be over.

Say it’s not over, Nate. Say you aren’t giving up.

I don’t like this Trevor person. He doesn’t smile at me. He doesn’t talk to me and he has stupid hair. He doesn’t care what music I listen to and he thinks he invented Snapchat. But that’s not all.

They went to see Passengers. Sure, it’s a movie with spaceships and robots but it’s got…romance. ROMANCE! And…they were meeting girls, Nate. Him and Trevor. Actual girls, not the kind you met at camp that no one ever sees.

It’s like they didn’t want to include me, Nate. I had to listen to them all they way to the movie: “Dude!” “Cash me ousside! Howbowdah?” “Dude!” “Bruh!” And I would say something, try to join the conversation and they would laugh like I had just said the stupidest thing in the history of stupid things ever said.

You never said “Bruh,” Nate. And you wouldn’t have minded if I came to the movie too. I know you wouldn’t have. You are a nice boy. Not like Trevor. You are growing up just like you are supposed to, and you don’t have to like girls, or anyone, ever, if you don’t want to – and you and my son can be best friends forever, and shoot nerf guns and play Minecraft and I won’t ever have to worry! Nothing ever has to change! Doesn’t that sound fun?

There was a boy-shaped hole in the world today, Nate. I put on a brave face, and I didn’t say anything mean to Trevor, not even once, but I wanted to. When they started shipping (I had to look that up to see what it meant) Jim and Aurora, and Trevor asked if “Jimora” made him “feel all the feels” I couldn’t stop myself.

“You know who would have hated that movie? NATE, that’s who!”

It was like they couldn’t hear me.

You know what rhymes with Nate? GREAT rhymes with Nate.

You know what rhymes with Trevor? NEVER, that’s what.

Can’t we fix this? Is there some way I can turn back the clock, and we can all be friends again?

I don’t like Trevor. Please don’t leave me here all alone, Nate. I’m not ready.

Renee Robbins

Renee Robbins

Writer. Kamikaze Mom. Participation Trophywife. Trying to achieve a balance of principal and practice without shouting obscenities at too many people.

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