I don’t remember how we met. It was definitely in elementary school, but other than faded memories of you running around at school, but other than that, I don’t remember much else. You had long golden hair, much longer than it is now, which always seemed to get in your face when you ran from one classroom to the next. From what I remember, you were a bit arrogant. Even at five years old, you knew your self worth.
I don’t think we were friends back then, though we would tell people we were because our parents told us to be nice. I was extremely reserved, and you were extremely outgoing. Sure, we talked to each other occasionally, and probably played together, but we were never “friends”. At the time, I don’t think it could have worked anyway, we were too different.
I grew up nerdy and with extreme self-image issues, which were masked by self-deprecating jokes that I threw out as a defense mechanism. (Even then, I had a talent for insulting myself). It was unsurprising that you grew to be a social butterfly.
There was this one memory that I have, of you coming out at the ripe age of eleven. This was particularly funny now that I look back at it because when you had accepted who you were as a person, I had no idea of the person I was. I thought it was great that you managed to surprise the school, even the teachers, into accepting who you were. It was an achievement.
And this triggered something in me. I couldn’t exactly point to what it was at the time, or maybe I didn’t want to, because to admit the truth would mean facing truths that I was not ready to accept yet. Maybe it was envy, envy of your ability to not give a damn about what others thought of you. Your ability to be happy with who you were.
I remember feeling very envious of. I couldn’t admit it to myself 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 confront yet. And looking back, I realize that that was precisely what I felt envious about. Your ability to be happy with who you were.
It’s not as easy as people think it is, being happy. Sometimes it takes a lot of bravery.
We started talking more at a dark time in my life. I had just lost my friend, and I was struggling with self loathing and depression, and you were still yourself: outgoing, confident, and most importantly, happy. Just like you have always been.
Memories of us talking about life and how you had everything to look forward to, while I didn’t have faith in my future and where my life would go. It seemed like we disagreed on everything, but the fact of the matter was we felt comfortable talking to each other about things that mattered.
Our talks became an almost nightly tradition, sometimes I would look forward to it at the end of an otherwise boring day. And, in the midst of these conversations, what started as a casual friendship turned into a true friendship.
But, like most things, we changed. Our life values changed, and what relationship we had built weakened over time. The changes seemed small at first, and the gradual disintegration of our friendship barely noticeable, but it happened, and neither of us could have done anything about it.
This continued until the moment when our friendship was tested, and because of its weaknesses, it broke.
At the end of the day, I can’t blame you. Your decisions are yours, and being true to yourself is the best thing. I didn’t hold a grudge, just know that I am still your friend.
Sometimes I catch myself wishing that things were simpler, and that whatever problems we had can be solved by picking up our phones and talking to each other. But sometimes, it feels more complicated than that.
However, I still have hope that, given time, things will settle down and we can continue our friendship where we left off. Maybe in a few years, when our lives have progressed, we can still find space and time for each other. But even if, in this lifetime, there never comes a right time, when time and silence and growing distance erases the possibility of a friendship we could have had, the fact remains that in the twenty years that I’ve lived, I had met someone truly special in my life.