We were inseparable when we were young; like two peas in a pod, as they say. We liked the same things, and we spoke the same way. And in those common instances where we fought and shouted that we will never speak to each other again, we both knew that those wouldn't last, and we'd make up right before the day ends. Mostly because we'd want to play tag or hide-and-seek, and playing tag with yourself is really just sad. We were the best of friends.
It was fun while it lasted.
We were in high school when things started to change. He started hanging out with other kids, and whenever we were alone, there was this palpable awkwardness that hung in the air during our conversations. At some point, we became strangers to each other, and each sentence we uttered ended with an unspoken prayer that someone come and save us from this torturous situation.
I never really understood what happened. You might say we drifted apart, but to drift implies a certain longevity; this was more like a quick and quiet annihilation of a friendship. It seemed as if the changes happened overnight. As if I was suddenly a new person, or he was, or we both were, and we suddenly had no idea how to interact with each other.
At some point, I thought we stopped being friends.
Until I met him again a few months ago, on a street in front of my parents' house. Though the conversation felt forced and awkward, I realized I still harbored a certain fondness for this man, who was my best friend until our lives got in the way. And I realized that even if we can barely relate to each other now, the fact that we shared a close childhood friendship will always bind us until the end.
I remember a scene on a rice field. There were five of us, tumbling on a stack of hay. The wind blowing gently. The sky a rich blue, barely spotted with clouds. The sun hot on our skin. Our faces sweating, our laughter carrying over to the few houses farther away. And an afternoon that we wanted to go on forever.
Photo taken here.