Feb 1, 2019 – Rachel Vorona Cote
The summer before my senior year of high school, I spent three weeks at a French immersion sleepaway camp. While enrolled, we were contractually bound to speak and read only French, and we consumed exclusively French media. Only one leniency forestalled total cultural isolation: We were permitted to write and receive letters in English. I had forgotten to make note of my best friend’s home address, but assumed the issue would be resolved when she sent her first letter to me. In the meantime, I dutifully wrote to her each day, my first letter swelling into a lengthy diaristic account of my Francophile experiences. Yet she never wrote to me once over those three weeks, and so I never sent her that roving, tome-like epistle. I suspect that I reread it later in the summer and, in a fit of embarrassment, threw it away.
Love her though I did, my best friend oftentimes baffled and vexed me, and I’m certain that she felt similarly about me. I tracked evidence that pointed to her reciprocated affection—the number of weekends spent together, the fond remarks, the articulated assurance that I was her best friend. I was her confidant, but I often worried that my disposition condemned me to need her more than she would ever need me. And like My Brilliant Friend’s Elena—who, in despair, awaits letters from her own best friend, Lila—I grew increasingly agitated that my friend’s silence confirmed my fear.