On New Friends // Letters to October (14)

Dear October,

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.

Continue reading “On New Friends // Letters to October (14)”

On Losing Friends // Letters to October (10)

Dear October,

Some moments in life happen within a heartbeat. Others take their time, crawling at first within the edge and rooting into your life while you’re looking the other way. Losing the first of my best friends happened so gradually that I was surprised when the word ‘friends’ didn’t really fit with their names anymore. Why did it happen? Physical distance, to some extent. Something shifts when the rhythms of a friendship aren’t dictated by the regularity of school schedules and shared experiences within classroom walls.

Suddenly you don’t know detailed aspects of the other person’s life. The names and faces they embrace in familiarity are foreign to you. Doubt emerges. Where do you fit into their new life? Will your continued presence bother them? Will they read your words and care about what you say? And the childish speculation of whether new, immediate friendships take precedence over those steadily growing distant. After all, there’s only so much that can fit in the palm of the hand before the excess starts to slip away.

Continue reading “On Losing Friends // Letters to October (10)”

On Making Friends // Letters to October (6)

Dear October,

When I was younger, I used to pray for a friend. I would clasp my hands and shut my eyes at night, muttering the request before bed. I’m lucky — as I know now — that I have best friends in my closest family. But I couldn’t help feeling that a piece of the puzzle was missing as I saw around me people who had become family by choice. Friends close enough to share not only moments of lung-shattering laughter, but also the quieter, darker moments. A best friend to fall asleep next to, mid-conversation, talking about everything and nothing.

The closest thing I had ever encountered to that was broken by physical distance, when I moved away from my childhood home at six years old. A few muffled phone calls and many imagined conversations later, those friendships fizzled like Diwali sparklers. They became safely ensconced in the warm, sweet haze of memory. Thoughts of those times were all I had when my new but hollow friendships came and went like the passing seasons. I wanted something more. Something for life.

Continue reading “On Making Friends // Letters to October (6)”