Indianapolis, IN

I Searched For My Best Friend For 15 Years And When I Finally Found Her She Was Homeless And Addicted

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished
Best FriendsPhoto byThought CatalogonUnsplash

This story is based on true information as told to me and used with permission. All the names have been changed.

Mary J. Blige the My Life album. That is CD my best friend, Monica, and I had on repeat every day! If a Mary song wasn't already belting out my speakers when she came by, she would go put her on. Music, fashion, shopping, food, I mean, you name it, Monica and I had it in common. We liked so many of the same things we would joke and say one of our dads had to cheat with one of our moms and that we were real sisters. Although we looked nothing alike, we shared several commonalities.

We were in our mid-twenties, young, and enjoying life. Monica was originally from New Jersey and she moved to Indianapolis, Indiana for a change. We were both working for the same company when we struck up a conversation one day on break. We immediately became friends and she felt more like a sister.

For the next few years, we were close friends, spending time together almost daily. We did so much together including shopping, going to nightclubs, celebrating holidays, working out, traveling, and more. Although Monica did not have family in Indiana, my family embraced her and everyone liked her. She's down to earth, funny, and just a cool, laid-back person, but a lot of fun.

Eventually, the company we worked for downsized and laid a bunch of us off. It was tough finding work in Indianapolis at that time and we both had bills due. I was going through a breakup, and Monica was having some financial issues. She decided to move back home to New Jersey and I decided to pack up and head south. We kept in touch every day and kept each other up on what was going on in our lives. I think we both just thought we would be living in the same city again someday and the miles between us didn't change our bond.

One day, Monica called me from a different phone number and said her cell phone was turned off because she couldn't afford to pay the bill. She was saying that life back in Jersey was harder than in Indianapolis and it was tough getting on her feet. I was planning on moving back to Indianapolis the next week and told her she should come back, live with me and we would find jobs and split the bills 50/50. She agreed and I sent her a bus ticket for the following week.

A couple of days went by and Monica didn't call me. I tried her cellphone number but it was disconnected. I called the number she called me from and some guy told me he just let her use his phone that day and had no idea who or where she was. The next week, I tried calling her cell again, and it was still disconnected. That Saturday, I checked with the bus company to see if she used her ticket, but they told me I had to wait until Monday. When I called Monday morning, they told me the ticket had not been used or cashed in.

It was complete silence. I called every person we knew and no one heard from her. I started trying to remember the names of her family members, friends, and just any information that I could use to find her. I searched the internet, called phone numbers, and reached out to hospitals, jails, and coroner's offices. Whatever or whoever I could think of.

This went on for 15 years.

Then one day, I typed her name into Google and some volunteer information from a homeless shelter in New Jersey popped up. I thought, "What could it hurt?" and called the number. A woman answered and I told her who I was and why I was calling. I said, "I've been looking for my best friend for 15 years."

She knew Monica. She took my information and told me that she would give it to Monica and ask her to call me.

24 hours later, she did just that.

I cried so hard when I heard her voice. She told that she was homeless and had been homeless since the last time we spoke. She told me that she was in an abusive relationship and trying to get out of that. I asked her if she wanted to come to Indianapolis for a visit and time to get away for a week. I told her I had a house with plenty of room so she wouldn't have to pay for a hotel. Monica took me up on the offer with no hesitation. I sent her a bus ticket, again, and this time she made the trip from New Jersey to Indiana.

The night before picking her up, I absolutely could not sleep. I was excited, curious, and still a little in shock that I finally found her. When I arrived at the bus station, I walked through looking at every face, searching for any familiar sign that it was Monica. After about 35 minutes, I went to the counter to verify her bus arrived on time. The representative told me the bus had arrived on time, about 40 minutes ago. I went back to looking through the crowd when I heard a voice say, "Angie?"

I turned around and could not believe my eyes. A woman was standing there in dirty clothing with a scarf on her head. She looked underweight, with dark circles around her eyes and she was carrying a backpack. It was her. It was my best friend, Monica.

I hugged her as tight as I could and cried like a baby. We walked out to the car and she told me how I still looked the same and joked that I got taller. Inside, I was in shock. I couldn't believe this was the same woman who, years ago, would not come outside if her hair wasn't done.

When we got to my house, she complimented me on the place, I showed her her room where she took a shower, came down and we got a bottle of wine and some food to sit and catch up.

This is where it takes a turn. My friend told me that she was addicted to crack, lived with her crack-addicted, abusive boyfriend, and they were evicted regularly. As I sat traumatized, she went on to tell me how crack was the best thing to ever come into her life because it gave her power and how I should try it. Crack? "Was she crazy?" I thought. We never used drugs, other than smoking some pot and we both know what crack does to people. We grew up in that drug era.

I had to get up, go into my bathroom and cry. I knew two things, she had to leave and we had taken different directions in the past 15 years.

I went back out there and held my friend's hands. I told her that I loved her, that I looked for her for 15 years, that I hurt for her, and that I'm disappointed this is where her life has ended up. I told her that if she wanted help and to go to a recovery place, I would take her and be there for her.

She refused and became very offended that I offered help. We stayed up that entire night talking. By morning, I called the bus station to change her ticket and get her back to Jersey that day. She didn't want to stay. She wanted to get high. I guess she thought she would come to Indiana, convince me to try crack and we would use drugs all week.

I cried for two weeks straight after I dropped her back off at that bus station. She called me a couple of times in the months after that less than a 24-hour visit, but it's been five years now and I haven't heard from her since then. I spent 15 years typing her name in Google and now, I never check. I still pray for her and hope she found her way to recovery, but I don't search for her anymore.

I now think of life as a book. Some people are a sentence, some a paragraph, some get an entire chapter, and some are part of the entire novel. Monica got her chapter in my book and I have mine in hers.

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