This week is probably THE most important week in your life and out of nowhere, I find myself thinking about you today, after all these days. I imagine your excitement, your tears and your immeasurable joy, and then quickly go on to ponder over the text message I will be sending you when I get the news. I have pretty much decided on – ‘Hey! Congratulations & God Bless. Love always – Aditi.’Nice, crisp and apt, but not exactly a note you’d send a friend, right?
We were really good friends, weren’t we? Or should I call you an ex-friend, now that we don’t speak anymore?
It’s funny how we always tend to use the word ‘ex’ for boyfriends alone. ‘My ex’ almost always means a past boyfriend, and never a friendship that was.
I wonder why.
Both are relationships that are important, in fact friendships, in my opinion, are far more important that boys etc – than why does the ex-boyfriend gets so much more importance over a lost friendship? I wonder why we cry and mourn so much at the end of a relationship with a supposed ‘lover’ or an entirely phoney ‘The One’, and not feel a thing when a friendship dies. Okay, maybe we do feel a thing, a prick in the heart, or a faint disappointment – but we are experts in suppressing and ignoring it completely. Because hey, random not-so-old friends aren’t really worth it, no? Pathetic, I know. We are seasoned to move-on from all things non-family, non-romance or non-monetary. Strange, don’t you think?
Isn’t there love, bonds and strong attachment in friends? Don’t we invest ourselves in our friendships as well? Don’t we thanks God for good friends? Then why do we disregard it completely and claim to be ‘strong’ when a friend walks off our lives?
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It spreads a dull ache all over me when I realize that I’m over-thinking this now, but I didn’t really try to mend things back then. I just let it be. Pity. Because we have been such good buddies, dear ex-friend. Well, as good as two hyper-girls in a same situation at the same time can be – experiencing, sharing and learning together. Didn’t really see the ups and downs together, we two, but we did have hour long calls and secret giggles. We did not experience each other’s teenage crushes, but we did understand that month long loneliness we both went through. You had no idea how passionate I was about my profession, but then you did know about my total lack of passion for cooking which is a secret to many. I knew little about your childhood, but I experienced your passion as a confident woman you now are. Sometimes a few long months of constantly being together is almost as good as childhood bonds, I guess.
I smile when I think of our dressing disasters together, our synchronized fuck-ups in the new culture that became our collective memories, and our futile gym sessions where we ate cookies together and then jumped on the tread mill to burn those calories instantly. A couple of crazy girls we were, two misfits trying to be a part of this new, almost foreign society. (Yes I’m talking about the Army wife life)
And then, snap! We were no longer friends, just like that. I wonder what really happened. This enigmatic, foreign society taught us to be serious, maybe even less open, and we got lost somewhere in our own lives which were different now, geographically. I can’t be sure, but I think we started to trust less and blame easily. Maybe it was right too, who am I to say! Maybe one of us learned the lessons faster, leaving the other behind – or both of us learned different lessons and decided to follow them for our own good. Who can tell?
And now we are both happy in our lives, in our separate bubbles. Nothing has changed after we suddenly stopped talking, none of us tried to reach out and patch things up. “Just let it be, it’s for the good.” – I’m sure we have both been told, and we believed it. We carried on; this was just another hitch in the road of life. No tears were shed – no loss acknowledged. Two strong women going their own way, doing their own thing and not breaking the rhythm of life by dwelling on tiny little things.
That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?
I mean, I know that we are supposed to try hard for boyfriends, and even harder for BFFs. But for someone we became friends with just a year back? That’s considered needy. It doesn’t matter how easily you fell into that friendship, we seem to act according to categories – BFFs / Boyfriends / Old Friends.
What about just plain friends, in all true sense of the word?
Yeah, we pretend to just not care.But what do we do about the friendship that was? Bury it deep and never think about it? Leave it in that one moment in the past, and never go back? Or carry it around like a tiny pebble in our pocket that our palms feel but our fingers can’t quite hold?
I’m sure we will meet again dear ex-friend; it’s a small world after all. I think I’ll be cordial with you then, flash a warm smile and hope hard to be rescued by someone to avoid any conversation. And you? Probably the same as me, yes. But all this while we’ll know what that twitch of the mouth means and will try hard not to giggle on a certain hair-do we found silly, and oh, a million things! We will be pros at avoiding our natural behavior by then, I suppose.
Later on, we will think about each other before going to bed, only for a few seconds, before we realize it’s useless and will shrug the thought off. We’ll carry on with our lives, not thinking about a friend that was.
And so here I am, saying what none of us will ever think consciously about –that I might have not cried or even actually been sad at the addition of the word ‘Ex’ to your name in my life, but I still sometimes think of our good times together and smile.
I hope you smile too, when you think of those times.
[You might like my latest Phuket Solo Travel story where I made new friends and had a lot of fun, thanks to lessons learnt in the past.]