Of late, I have been giving a lot of thought to friends-old and new-who come into our lives, make us wonder how we had ever lived without them, and then go away, leaving no trace behind.
Some people whom we had promised to stay in touch with forever, end up as just another person on your Facebook news feed, and the only windows you have into their lives are the few pictures and statuses they choose to share.
It’s funny how you spend time with someone, someone who makes you feel understood, understand all their quirks and mannerisms, and even adopt them to some extent. And then in the blink of an eye it’s all over, and you are left holding the box full of memories with their name written on it, and you have no choice but to stow it away in your mind’s room where all other memories of previous friends are kept, in the hope that you’ll have the chance to unearth them someday, blow the dust off the top and open up the box, just like old times’ sake.
But let’s be honest, how often does that happen?
Another way that friends go out of our lives, probably one of the most painful, is when you see them every day, yet talk to them less and less until the only form of conversation you have is through subtle head nods across the room, and at some point you hope not to find them in a room you walk into. Why these sort of things happen have innumerable reasons. Maybe because of a fight you had that escalated and then calmed down, and you realized things could never be the same again. When overthinking and assumptions come into play and you don’t talk it out, thinking ‘hey, we’re best friends. This minor issue will just wash over like always.’ Maybe because they get into a relationship and you can’t talk to them about deep, personal stuff anymore because their significant other is always around them, whom you like, but can’t really share close stuff with.
Such friendships die the slow death, and what’s worse, you are always reminded of the rosy days every time you see them.
Distance and higher education are one of the main causes of dying friendships. You hug, you cry, you exchange phone numbers, promise to stay in touch, promise to video call at least once a week; but then the inevitable happens. The pressures of a pressing routine and a new life mean that each detail is not shared like it used to before. The video calls turn into voice calls turn into texts turn into birthday messages and throwback posts. And soon it’s only the big things you communicate with each other over time: you’re seeing a new person, you got your driver’s license, you’re going home for the holidays in a month etc.
Every human thinks their friendship is going to stand the test of time, especially when you’ve been through so many life-changing experiences together, and while a precious few do, it’s heart-breaking to see the ones that don’t. Especially when you know exactly how that feels.
But despite all this, we still need to fill that room full of memories with as many boxes as we can-some may be big, some may be small, some may be sealed shut, some may be open with more stuff pouring in-because this room is one of the few in our lifetime that define us, and if left empty, can even break you down. And sometimes in the moments when you feel the most down, you can walk into that room, sit down, sift through the boxes, run your hands through each of its contents, and smile, knowing that it’s going to be all right.