Two weekends ago, I met up with one of the six girls from high school. Do you remember them? Their presence littered – and lingered – here since 2008. They gave me my most intense friendship heartbreak; my heart hasn’t been the same since. But everyone grows up and eventually, with enough light, forgiveness breaks through.
She’s back for good now, and it feels like as good a time as any for a casual catch-up session over brunch. Not to rekindle an old friendship – nothing of that sort – simply to find out how an old friend has been doing and what her near-future will likely look like. And that age-old question among overseas graduates: why decide to come home for good?
It was a pleasant morning, though I was initially tense; the past several weeks have been emotionally rough. Still, we chatted casually like the close friends that we once were, now old friends. Is it any surprise that she talks, thinks, and feels the same?
We spoke of mutual old friends, as if playing a game titled ‘Where are they now?’ For instance, we spoke about my former deskmate in high school. Remember her? She too, lingered in this space for many years. Between the three of us – they’ve always been close. They still are. “I love her,” I said, “I still do. I think I’ll always be especially grateful to her for being there for me during my most difficult moments during those years – but we’re not close anymore. It’s neither of our faults.” I shrugged. “Growth happened. We naturally grew apart. I haven’t spoken to her since last year.”
“Is it awkward then if we meet with her in future? If you two meet?”
“No, not at all. Like I said – we’re old friends. It’s always nice getting together with old friends. It’s just that between myself and her – we’re not like what we used to be. And that’s fine.”
Maybe I never try hard enough; maybe I’m at fault for always giving up on people.
I changed the subject.
“How are your friends doing?”
She let out a small laugh. “‘Your friends?’ They’re your friends too.”
“Yeah, your friends.” My tone was matter-of-fact. “You guys are still close, right? I heard two of them are married.”
We spoke about them, laughing and smiling through these updates. It feels nice.
It feels nice to know I can hear about how they’re doing without feeling anything – neither unkind thoughts nor love. It feels nice to know that they no longer matter. I’ve no interest to rekindle anything with them – this friendship, like many others, is now in the past. Not everyone we cross paths with need to remain in our lives. I also did mention our fractured past once or twice, what happened, and I was honest whenever I bring it up. “When our fallout happened-“ I’d find myself saying, then just as quickly move on to the topic-at-hand. More than courage, I simply have no intent or desire to revisit the past.
By the end of our meet, when we parted ways, we promised to meet up again, now that we’re back in the same time zone. She feels the same, still hilarious as ever; I had a good time. Two weeks have since passed and while I’ve yet to make good with that promise, it genuinely feels nice to know that I am able to write about her – I trust, any six of them – without feeling neither unkind thoughts nor love. They don’t linger here anymore.
It feels nice to be on the other side of growth.
They too, are now passing eras.