Best Friends Forever, Jennifer Weiner

Best Friends Forever

Excerpt from Jennifer Weiner’s BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, Chapter 2 (from Simon and Schuster website)

Looking back, the knock on the door should have scared me. It should at least have come as a surprise. My house — the same one I grew up in — is set at the farthest curve of a culde- sac in Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, a Chicago suburb of fourteen thousand souls with quiet streets, neatly kept lawns, and well-regarded public schools. There are rarely pedestrians or passersby on Crescent Drive. Most weeks, the only signs of life after ten p.m. are the flash of headlights on my bedroom wall on the nights that my next-door neighbor Mrs. Bass has her Shakespeare Society meeting. I live alone, and I’m generally asleep by ten-thirty. But even so. When I heard the knock, my heartbeat didn’t quicken; my palms did not sweat. At some level underneath conscious thought, a place down in my cells where, the scientists tell us, memories reside, I’d been waiting years for that knock, waiting for the feel of my feet moving across the floor and my hand on the cool brass knob.

I pulled open the door and felt my eyes get big and my breath catch in my chest. There was my old best friend, Valerie Adler, whom I hadn’t spoken to since I was seventeen and hadn’t seen in person since high school ended, standing underneath the porch light; Valerie with her heart-shaped face and Cupid’s-bow lips and lashes heavy and dark as moth’s wings. She stood with her hands clasped at her waist, as if in prayer. There was something dark staining the sleeve of her belted trench coat.

For a minute, we stood in the cold, in the cone of light, staring at each other, and the thought that rose to my mind had the warmth of sunshine and the sweet density of honey. My friend, I thought as I looked at Val. My friend has come back to me.

I opened my mouth — to say what, I wasn’t sure — but it was Val who spoke first. “Addie,” she said. Her teeth were gleaming, perfect and even; her voice was the same as I remembered from all those years ago, husky, confiding, an I’ve-got-a-secret kind of voice that she currently deployed to great effect, delivering the weather on the nightly newscasts on Chicago’s third-rated TV station. She’d been hired six months ago, to great fanfare and a number of billboards along the interstate announcing her new gig. (“Look who just blew into town!” the billboards read, underneath a picture of Val, all windswept hair and crimson, smiling lips.) “Listen. Something…something really bad happened,” she said. “Can you help me? Please?”

I kept my mouth shut. Val rocked back on high heels that seemed no thicker than pins, gulping as she raked both hands through her hair, then brought them to waist level and began twisting her belt. Had I known she had that haircut, that buttercup-yellow color, that shoulder-length style, with layers that curled into ringlets in the rain, when I’d given my hairdresser the goahead? I made a point of not watching her station, but maybe I’d caught a glimpse of her as I changed channels or the billboards had made an impression, because somehow here I was, in flannel pajamas and thick wool socks, with my ex-best-friend’s hair on my head.

“Look at you,” she said, her voice low and full of wonder. “Look at you,” said Valerie. “You got thin.”

“Come in, Val,” I said. If time was a dimension, and not a straight line, if you could look down through it like you were looking through water and it could ripple and shift, I was already opening the door. This had all already happened, the way it always did; the way it always would. For More…  Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Weiner, Inc.

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There Are 16 Responses So Far. »

  1. I have 4 best friends. We get together every other week for margaritas, and girl time. We just got back from our 3rd annual getaway to Lake Geneva. We drink, eat, rent a speed boat and drool over the cute boat boys! Always the highlight of the summer! I’m so lucky to have them in my life.

  2. Ohhh, I wanna come–room for five ;-)?

  3. Ahh, Best Friends…
    my best friend/s and I try to get together at quilting themed retreats at least twice a year. Girls only with lots of laughter, fun, and sharing our dreams which include: 1. A fantasy life of what we would be or do *if only ….* and 2. reasonable dreams of our current lives and goals for he future.
    It is surprising how many times some elements of those “fantasy dreams” have crossed over into a dream come true.
    Hooraaay… for a best friend/s! They help to cheer-lead us on and inspire us to find our creative self…and go for it!

  4. Don’t you love Jennifer Weiner?! My best friend and I have known each other since birth…literally! Our parents lived a few doors down and we were born two weeks apart. They moved out of state, then back to our state but a different county, and now we live two hours away but have kept in touch the entire time. We both have our own husbands and children now and still see each other. Very special friendship indeed!

  5. My best friend is my sister-in-law. She lives 2000 miles away from me and I miss her every day. Our kids are the same age and it’s wonderful knowing that they are going to have just as special a relationship as we do.

  6. Reading Jennifer Weiner stories is like always being able to turn to your best girlfriend whenever you want! Even better it can create some great friendships..A couple of years ago, I was reading a J.W book on the treadmill and the woman on the next treadmill over stopped in mid sprint to ask me wich JW book I was reading..For the next hour we had such a great coversation about books,we decided to keep in touch &have our own book club of sorts. For the past two years we have exchanged books via the membership desk @the gym..we correspond the old fashioned way..through simple notes affixed to the top of the book..just a simple line like, “you will LOVE this one” is enough for me to want to race home and do nothing but escape into a new and exciting adventure.

  7. I just losted my best friend 3wks ago, she had breast cance twice, the last time I saw her she was feeling wonderful and like always made you feel welcome in her home. We would talk for hours, I couldn’t visit with her for I lived 7hrs. away but even when she didn’t feel like talking she’d listen. I’m going to miss Tina alot, but she’ll always willbe in my heart. I’m going to tell her daughter about this website.

  8. I met my BFF’s through my Ipod!! okay let me explain… When I received my first Ipod I had to, of course, find something to put on it. Podcasts turned out to be my repository for BFF’s. Right away I discovered five,fun,fabulous forty-something women who welcomed me into their group and included me in their conversations like I had been their friend forever. This was great for me because they had to do all the relationship work… I was just a lucky recipient!!

    At this same time I also discovered another welcoming group for “mom’s trying to do it all, and then some!!” and eagerly joined them on their adventures as well.

    I did realize that these amazing 7 woman had no idea who I was and I was just a fan, but they were still warm, welcoming and funny. They even invited me to play with them!!So off I went, to Miami, and with stars in my eyes, not really believing I was going to meet at least some of these amazing women… these stars, I boarded a boat and met my idols.

    The friendship goddess must have been smiling on me, because not only were these idols the most talented, smart, funny and beautiful women, they were genuinely friendly, warm and welcoming in person. They have all become real friends. I would not dain to suggest I am in their circle of BFF’s as in the beginning our friendship has been very one-sided (I know a whole lot about them, and they know very little about me), but I include them in my BFF Circle.

    The goddess was not satisfied with just connecting me to my idols, she also placed several other very important people in my life who instantly became BFFs and have time and time again stood by me and with me and supported me in that role. You gals know who you are and I thank you (in alpha order as there is no other way to rank them!!):Alane, Angela, Kristin, Molly and Rosa Linda. You and MM’s and Divas have created a wonderful network of amazing women and I am blessed. Thank you.

  9. Carole & Kim ~ I’m so sorry…somehow your comments got hung up in “pending purgatory.” Thank you so much for sharing.

    Carole, your story is heart-wrenching and my heart goes out to you. Tina sounds like a friend I have who I just walk and talk with for hours–whether it be on a beach or in separate neighborhoods/states, walking solo with out friend’s ear coming through the cell phone. Take gentle care–that’s tough tough stuff. Be sure to reach out and get support from other girlfriends–won’t replace, but sure to help heal.

    Kim, you are WONDERFUL. I love the words you’ve weaved to share your treasured experience and girlfriends with us all…could I be one of them?? I hope life is treating you well and I’m so glad that the Diva efforts have encouraged female friendships. We’ve all been challenged and blessed in return–such is life, eh? Much love to you.

  10. My very best friend broke my heart during our college days and now I have friends but not a very best friend. We were close and did everything together. Even when we didn’t live close we called, wrote and stayed in touch. Haven’t been able to have another BFF since her.

    Would love to win this book. Thanks

  11. My best friend and I have been friends for over 20 years but things are changing. It is lately that we both notice how very different we are. It is sad to realize that we don’t agree or see eye to eye anymore. I remember all the fun and laughs we had and now all I see are the differences. No matter, she will always be my friend.

    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

  12. My oldest best friend, Gretchen passed away years ago and I miss her so much. Since then I have found several new best friends, who also happen to be readers and its a joy to have them in my life. We get together often…our own “coffee klatche/book discussions, and so much more. I also include my wonderful sister-in-law, Sue, who never fails to make me laugh when I’m blue, as well as my “partner in crime” going to book sales, garage sales, etc. lol No matter what, we are always there for each other and I cherish each one as my best friend.
    Please add my name to your giveaway…I’d love to read Jennifer’s new book. Thank you!

    Sandy

  13. Kim’s note made me cry…. I cannot help but echo her sentiments. Can’t wait for November!

    I too opened my world with my Ipod and while not all my BFFs have come to me through it, I credit the Divas and Erin and Kristin for leading me to find such wonderful women. I have meal time BFFs in the Meal Makeover Moms Janice and Liz and regret that all the Satellite Sisters have not been able to continue in podcast world, but treasure Lian and her big sister like BFFness (I know, not a word)for continuing in the Chaos Chronicles.

    As a former, less than a year, military spouse, I treasure my friends who are now all over the world. Many are my BFFs even if I ever so rarely see them. And I LOVE Jennifer’s books. Have read and reread them all!

    Will miss seeing you in November, Carrie.

  14. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. I’d love to win it. My BFF is a male, tabby named, Moose. I told him about the contest but he said he’d rather play ‘cap’ instead. I spend huge amounts of money on cat toys but his favorite is a cap off any soda or water bottle. *g*

  15. My best friend and I have been friends for 23 years. She has moved away and I have moved away. We always email, text or talk on the phone. I finally got to go see her last year after 15 years of not seeing her. It was an amazing time. I can not wait to read this book.

  16. My only sister is my best friend. She is ten years older than me
    and we have been there for each other for the good times and the not so good times. I was ten when my first niece was born and 15 when
    her second daughter was born. I was not only their aunt, but their nanny. I went on vacations with them, babysat them and we are still the best of friends. Many thanks, Cindi

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