On New Friends // Letters to October (14)
Before I started my final year of university, I started praying for friends again. What was the worst that could happen, I reasoned.
At some point, I started having plans again. I explored life as I wouldn’t have dared to by myself. I found myself with more hands to support me than in many years. In the meantime, further precarious fixtures in my life fell away. Most had been fading since high school years — unanswered messages on both sides, conversations abandoned midway, as if we had gone out of breath from running around the same track. It was a long time coming. Others went abruptly and loudly, leaving scars that will keep opening before they heal.
Either way, it hurts when ‘is’ becomes ‘was’. And it’s even harder to leave those rotting relationships behind when they keep reappearing, when your guard is down, through threads of social media. Keeping someone around like that, labelling them friend even when the word is empty of meaning, makes it easier to leave a window ajar in case the real thing is ever revived.
It’s easy to scroll through moments of their life and sink deeper into the what ifs. To wonder if they think of the past at all.
Sometimes I want to tell them the words I never got to, of regret, frustration and disappointment, of nostalgia. I want to catch them by the shoulders and ask if they want to forget it all and be friends again. I write words in message boxes and delete them. I write letters I’ll never send.
Other times, I never want to see their faces again. I want to put thoughts of them in a box, shove it onto the highest shelf, and move on. I want to remove every present trace of theirs on my life. But hesitation takes over. Because I don’t know what I could be ending and what I may end up regretting. Relationships don’t come with a clear expiration date, and if we do have one, what if I’m prematurely cutting us off? What if we still have a chance? These are people I thought I would see growing with me. People whose weddings I thought I would attend.
I’ve stop praying for friends for now. I’ve learnt that even getting what I want has consequences. Tenuous threads connect me to others and I can’t help but wait for something — distance, difference, or just time — to cut us apart. Regardless of when or how it happens, though, I want to try and at least enjoy the journey there.
The path seems to become shorter when you know it will end. But you have to shut that part of your mind down and listen to the gravel beneath your feet. Feel the sunshine on your face and breathe in the fresh air. As long as you’re here, you might as well make the most of it.
Thank you for reading. This topic is important to me, and is one I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Writing this mini series has helped me sort through some of my tangled thoughts and I appreciate you taking the time to work through them with me. If you have anything to add, please do so. I would love to chat with you. If you would like to read them, part 1 is here and part 2, here.
I’m blogging every day this month. Take a look at the introduction to the series here.
Until next time, friends.