I had met my best friend the day I moved into my university residence. I could hear giggling around the corner and went to investigate. We immediately connected when we saw each other; I liked her vibe and she liked mine. I was in school for Politics and she was taking Criminal Law. I was fully English speaking and her first language was French. We learned our favourite meal was spaghetti and mixing ground beef to with Kraft Dinner. We quickly learned we could spend hours together just chatting and hanging out. She was the first person I texted and the last person I saw at the end of day. She was the epitome of what a university roommate turned best friend was supposed to be, and I was so happy I got to meet her!
My high school had heavily prepared us for university. Every project or assignment from grades 9-12 emphasized us being university prepared. I was fairly academic and could write research papers till the cows came home. My best friend didn’t get that same education growing up. Very quickly I could see the struggle she had with keeping up with the workload of uOttawa, so I often helped her complete her work. I didn’t mind as our topics related and she was able to help me with my French when needed. She always said quirky things like, “When I’m rich and famous I promise I won’t forget how much you helped me”. I always said the same.
I got really involved in the university experience. I volunteered at events like Walk for the Cure, Shine, Model Parliament, Model UN, Sports Rec etc. I made friends and often was invited to hangouts, parties and events. My best friend couldn’t really balance volunteering and the workload. I knew she didn’t create social circles so I often invited her to join me. She was always so grateful and again would say “When I’m rich and famous, I promise to take you to meet all my famous friends”.
I was very blessed when I attended University. I had maintained high academics and volunteering helped me earn multiple scholarships. Finances was not something that I had to worry about while attending school. My best friend on the other hand had to support herself the whole way through. I knew she was tight on funds… almost all the time. I often bought groceries with her in mind. I would bring home her favourite snacks that I knew she couldn’t normally indulge in because of her budget. I didn’t mind helping where I could because I knew if I was in that situation I would be so grateful for someone to invest in me. Plus I knew when “she is rich and famous she’ll take me to the nicest restaurants.”
We stayed best friends even after the first year of University was completed. After the second year she had decided University wasn’t for her and she attended the local French college. I visited when I could and still helped her when needed. Our friendship started to get rough when she would ask for money for things like her nails and hair when she needed food in the fridge. I was not her parent and I knew I had no right telling anyone how to live their life. I had mentioned it lightly one day when she had asked for money for the movies when I knew she still hadn’t bought her course book. That conversation didn’t go well and we didn’t speak for about two months.
One day I had reached out letting her know I missed her and that I really wanted to catch up. She agreed and we had made plans for the following weekend. The Wednesday before we were going to hangout I could see four messages from her that seemed urgent. I called her right away!
“Hey, can you promise to keep a secret for at least two weeks for me?”
Of course, I said yes. In my mind I was thinking maybe she’s pregnant? Maybe she dropped out of school and needed to tell her parents? Maybe she was dating someone and they didn’t want it to go public? I knew we had been best friends for the past three years, and that a little secret I had to keep for 2 weeks wasn’t going to be a big deal at all.
“Guess what?! I won the Lottery, like not millions but I won! Just last night I won the 50/50 draw!!! It’s the biggest NHL 50/50 draw in history! I just won $150,000!!!”
When someone I know wins anything I am beyond excited for them. I love when people win and when good things happen for people. That energy is so contagious and I just get filled with positive light from them. I was so overjoyed for my best friend. She had spent the last 3 years struggling daily financially and she was finally blessed to start her career and get a good start at it. I kept her secret and each day she would update me when she would finally be able to pick up the cheque. Our friendship was stronger than ever!
The day she drove to Toronto and got the cheque, she posted it on Facebook. That was also the last day we spoke. She stopped texting and calling completely. She didn’t text me happy birthday, or text me on holidays. We still liked each others photos and commented on posts here and there. Soon after she won she moved to a different province, but two years later she moved back to Ontario and in with her parents.
I believe if she hadn’t won the Lottery (even if it wasn’t millions), our friendship would look a lot different today. I’ve mulled it over time and time again. I don’t think she meant to cut off a lot of her friends when she won, but she did. A part of me believed she felt she owed a lot of people for what we did for her when she was struggling. She didn’t technically become rich or famous, but she did forget me. I would never expect her to pay me back for anything I did for her during our friendship, but a night of chats and Kraft dinner with ground beef didn’t seem like a lot to ask.