Image taken here.
I don’t remember when we first met. We were young definitely, but outside of the faded images in my head of you running around the bright hallways of our school, I couldn’t remember much of anything else. You had hair then, I think, which resembled your mother’s: uncontrollably wavy, and a deep black. I also remember you being a bit of a snob. Even as a six year old, you had an amazing sense of your own self worth.
But I don’t think we were friends then, although we like to tell people we were. I was too shy and awkward and you were too confident and self-assured. Sure, we exchanged occasional smiles, and probably played a few games together, but we were never close. I don’t think we really had the chance to be. We were too different.
I grew up bookish and slightly unsure of myself, though cleverly masked by the insults I carelessly threw at people as a defense mechanism. (Even then, I had an extraordinary talent for insulting people). You, unsurprisingly, grew into a remarkably adept social butterfly.
I remember you coming out of the closet at the ripe, old age of twelve. Which was funny because by the time you came to terms with who you were as a person, I barely even understood who, or what, I was. I thought it was funny how you managed to shock the school, both teachers and students alike, into accepting, albeit grudgingly, who you were. I don’t know how you felt about it, but it was quite an achievement.
I remember feeling envious. I couldn’t admit it at the time, or I didn’t want to, because to admit it meant accepting a few truths about myself I wasn’t ready to accept yet. And I guess, looking back, I realize that that was precisely what I felt envious about. Your ability to both care and not care. And your ability to be happy.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, choosing to be happy. Sometimes it requires courage of the highest degree.
We became close at a difficult time in my life. I was struggling with bouts of depression, unsure of my place in the world, and you were, well, still yourself: confident, sure and happy. Exactly as you have always been.
I remember us spending long hours discussing, of all things, Foucault and Derrida and Marx and culture and politics and life, our raised voices disturbing what was otherwise a quiet and peaceful night. We rarely agreed on anything, except on the fact that we both enjoyed a healthy debate.
Our discussions turned into a weekly tradition; something I looked forward to at the end of an otherwise mundane week. And, in the course of those countless conversations, what casual relationship we had turned into a true and honest friendship.
But, like everything else in the world, we changed. Our values diverged, and what connection we had weakened over the years. The changes were minute, and the disintegration of our relationship barely perceptible, but it was happening, and it was very difficult for either of us to do anything about it.
Until that one moment our friendship was tested, and laid bare its weaknesses, and broke.
I can’t blame you for your decisions. They are yours, and as always, you cannot help but be who you are all the time. I hold no grudge. Know that I am still here, and that I am still your friend.
I wish things were simpler, where whatever problems we had could be solved by the simple act of picking up a phone and communicating. But our lives refuse to bend to my wishes don’t they?
I still hope that when the time is right for the both of us, when things settle down, or whatever complication we managed to make in our lives sort itself out, we can just continue the friendship right where we left off. But even if the time never becomes right, where silence and distance completely erase the possibility of the friendship we should have had, I can at least take comfort in the fact that in the twenty odd years I’ve spent in this life, I’ve met someone who left a huge indelible mark in my heart.