I can’t wait

by Jem

to spend the day with you.

Once upon a time–that is, a few years ago–I never would’ve thought I would be looking forward to a day out with you.

Once upon a time, I felt that we’ve drifted so far apart that we wouldn’t ever find our way back and be friends ever again. It was funny–a twisted kind of funny if you ask me–that so much could change in the course of one summer. Even one day. Even half that. That was how quick everything went downhill for us and the friendship I very much cherished and hoped you did too.

The thing about life is that everything about it, everything that happens gives us some sort of lesson. No matter how happy or sad or painful or exciting things are, there’s a moral at the end of it all. The moral of our painful experience? Friendship is fragile. It is very, very fragile. There was only so much our bond can take, even if it was the strongest of bonds. Even before what happened, it was breaking. I knew it. I believe you knew it as well. We could’ve frozen, we could’ve stayed where we were, it could’ve been good enough for us. But we still pushed it. And it broke. We fell apart.

And it was quick. So very quick that there was no room for any sort of attempt to patch it all up. No room to talk. No room to explain. No room to try to understand.

And once upon a time, there was only room for regrets.

But you know me. It wasn’t the what-could’ve-been kind of regret. It was more of the what-was one. And that’s just it. My thoughts were about what we used to do, what we used to have, what we used to be. I kept looking back. I wanted to go back and re-do things.

I wanted you back. I wanted my friend back. I wanted a part of my life back.

It was with all these wants, all the longing that I hurt myself further, little by little. I should’ve caught myself and left you and everything else alone. But I needed closure and you avoided me like a plague. (You even said so when we were ‘speaking’ again.)

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t suicidal or anything. My world didn’t revolve around you. I had lots of other things to think about. But you know how the most important thing in a burger is the patty yet it still doesn’t seem right without ketchup? You were the ketchup. (And I feel like the mood of this lengthy post is lost because of that metaphor and this comment.) I was also occupied with everything else that I really didn’t dwell on whatever was going on (or what was not) between us but it was the type of thing that catches you off guard. I’m laughing and then something suddenly reminds me of you and I stop but try to shake it off a second later. Or after a packed day, just before I drift off to sleep I am reminded of that day. And the days before that when we were happy. And I cry. Just a little.

That was how it was and once upon a time, I didn’t know how to deal with it. The whole thing felt like a secret. If everyone knew, it would’ve brought a much more damaging blow, I just knew it. So we had an unspoken consensus. We couldn’t tell anyone. Well, at least not just anyone. I think you told one or two of your friends if only to ask what you could do. I’m not sure. But I told a few people of course. Only a handful of the friends I trusted the most. And they didn’t fail me. It never leaked and it may have made it easier for us later on.

I thanked God each day for our friends who knew us before it happened and who knew what to do after I told them. It would’ve been so much harder if I didn’t. And I guess that was another good thing that came out of our situation: It became clear to me which friends I was willing to trust and I proved that I made the right choice.

Once upon a time, I thought that was it. We wouldn’t have to see each other in the hallways anymore in a few months’ time. It would be a lot easier to avoid, a lot easier to forget, a lot easier to go our separate ways.

But I am quite stubborn and so I finally, finally confronted you. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t know then if I was being stupid. Had I not any pride at all? But looking back, it was probably one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

I asked you what the problem was. I knew it, of course, but you had to learn to talk about it if we were to move on–as friends or otherwise. Did you really think I was going to let you go that easily? Well, I thought so too. But I considered you my best friend and I just felt like I couldn’t lose someone as important as that in my life. We needed to talk and we did.

As selfish as it sounds, I think I saved us. I’m not sure if you would’ve approached me to talk about it too and you were just waiting but the point is, I did it first. I am very patient with a lot of things but this was something different altogether. It was a matter of the rest of our lives and whether or not I had to go through it without you and if I could.

I figured I couldn’t so there, I talked to you. We tried our best to make it work and at first it didn’t seem to. I eventually just tried to accept that after we receive our diplomas it was goodbye for good. I tried my best, didn’t I? We both did. Thanks. Bye.

But the universe was with me on this one. I was meant to annoy you for life and I wouldn’t admit it to your face but I was pretty okay with you bugging me for the rest of my life too.

And now here I am, a couple of years later, excited to see you over the Christmas break and possibly spend a whole day with you, probably as an early birthday celebration for me. Possibly, probably. But for sure it would be a celebration of our friendship and the many years to come.

I know we’re not as close as we used to be. What happened is a topic we would rather not touch for now. Sometimes it feels like I still have to be very, very careful and maneuver my way through things that concern you. But we’re getting there and boy, do we have time.

I’m counting down the days until we finally bond over some ice cream. Even as close friends before all the drama, we never really went out on a friendly date. And now that we are, I feel we really have matured. How much we’ve grown, eh? I hope it goes well for both of us. I’m pretty sure that after that, I’ll stop counting. No more n years ago or n years later. Just you, me and the rest of our lives. It would be pretty tiring if I had to count all the days we would remain friends because I am pretty sure it would mean counting until we grow old.