Hey you. Yes, you.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other and even talked to each other. Do you remember before, that moment I see you, my eyes would immediately light up and I’d dissolve into a pool of mush running with a hug, a tease, and a big smile running to greet you. Isn’t it strange that, now, if ever I do get to see you, I would not even know how to react! Seems to me that old warmth disappeared slowly, but was gone in an instant. Now that Iook back, I don’t even know how we got here.
One thing’s for sure, we used to be really close friends. Everything that’s painful and painfully embarrassing, I’d tell you without pause or filters. I would act like a damn child and expected you to treat and spoil me like one. We’d spend countless days literally just hanging out — no agendas, no budgets, no curfews.
It pains me to think I can’t even see you now without emotionally preparing for what my response would be, anticipating a truly awkward exchange. Used to be, you’d walk into my house, drop your bags, and feel at home as if you paid my rent. Now, I’m pretty sure you don’t even know where I live, or who I live with, or what I look like (P.S. I was blonde in 2016, and I now have chest tattoo! It’s pretty sick).
You’ve probably heard about family before. Maybe I’ve given you a repeated run down or blow-by-blow account on our shitty issues. But right now I’m sure you haven’t heard anything related to their health, their marriage, and their new jobs (my brother is now a lawyer!). I used to tell you all my hurts about them. You don’t even know what my issues are these days, especially those related to boyfriends, grad school, work, political views, religious convictions, and money. I have rapidly changed so much during the time we drifted apart that I think you’ll be eyebrows-raised, jaws-dropped surprised about my revelations.
Oh, and you probably don’t know much about my partner. Maybe you’ve heard his name or have met him once or twice. But I’m sure you have zero idea of how we are since we pretty much made new friends together. Maybe you won’t believe me — but we are doing very, very (admittedly, unexpectedly) well. We’re together for almost four years now, can you believe?! He’s immensely patient with me and we rarely even fight these days. Maybe when you see us together, you’ll be surprised at how I have visibly changed around him — starting with the fact that I can now be physically affectionate when before I could not even hug my girlfriends.
I’m sure you’ve known me as fiercely independent. You’ve once told me how you admired how I didn’t need fear being alone in the crowd and boasted of the fact that I won’t have a serious relationship ’til I’m 27. Lookie here, I’m 25 now and think marriage won’t be so bad (!!!). You’ve praised me once or twice for going on trips with strangers and inviting myself to events even if I knew nobody. Tell you what — I’m still the same person, but I have grown. Having a partner was a bliss, knowing I can enjoy another person’s company I liked as much as I liked (and am very content) with my own.
Sometimes, I think of you and wonder how you are. I just assume that you’re happy and that maybe you’re missing my companion once in a while, as much as I do, too. But I won’t blame you for not reaching out during those times when you missed me so much, you were pushed to stalking and almost this close to chat me up. I haven’t reached out, too, I know. But maybe if one of us did, the other wouldn’t know how to even respond. Maybe I won’t respond at all, because it just feels like a stranger suddenly blurts out, “I miss you!” to me on the streets. How the hell would you react to that?
I do miss the times we were at my place and we would literally do nothing but lounge around, maybe sleep at a certain point, play, just stare into space, and talk about one thing or another. Be it bright ideas, gossip, or emotional purges. I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown more exclusive these days. I don’t usually enjoy staying overnight anymore, and if I did, I’d leave early in the morning. I don’t like staying out too late anymore, and my energy is so limited and required the power of coffee or beer. Perhaps the fact that I drink once a week comes as a surprise, too.
You are one of the lucky ones to see that side of me. I don’t often show it these days, with a higher position at work, with graduate school fatigue, with new responsibilities undertaken, I don’t think I can let my guard down as much as I did during our time together.
Which is why I think no matter how much time pass or how far we drift apart, I will always miss you. Because I’ve been so vulnerable with you, and maybe I just miss being vulnerable with someone that much, in general. It’s much harder to be emotionally vulnerable now, with people so geographically and hierarchically distant. I can no longer duplicate the friendship we had when we were both young, free from responsibilities (and bills), and so in tune with each other.
I’m sure you’re also going through some very adult things yourself. Maybe you’ve also been dating that person long and you’re either married or getting married soon. Or maybe you’ve broken up with that guy you’ve been with for years and years and used to gush to me about. Maybe you’ve gone your own way, too, leaving to find greener pastures at work, in your communities, maybe even this country. I’m sure your struggles are different from what we’ve had before — when we merely bother about our crushes, family issues, our first jobs, our frustrations over a lack of direction. Things are more higher-level serious now, don’t you think?
Sometimes, I wish I was there with you to go through those hardships in life with. I’m more than happy learning about your new (perhaps your nth) job, relationship, hairstyle, weight (haha), and hobbies. Know that indifferent as I am on a daily basis, a part of me still cheers for you, applauds you, wipes your tears, and hugs you for every triumph you face in life even though I’m not there. I want you to succeed even without you knowing it — maybe even without me knowing it!
In days such as these, I hope that someday we would rekindle the friendship that we have. Although, I think we can no longer go back to being the same “friends” we used to be anymore. We’ve had a paradigm shift of values, perspectives, desires, and personas by now. It’s 2018.
When we do meet again, we will meet again as new strangers. I’m fancying re-introducing myself to you and, hoping against hope, still find a certain bond with each other despite the new humans we have become. Until then, I’ll remain in your Facebook friend list, a name in your Messenger chat box, or your silent Instagram follower — just a name that you haven’t heard spoken for a very long time, but somehow brings back a lot of memories. Yes, even Facebook ones.
We may not be on speaking terms these days, and maybe we would be awkward again the next time we see each other. But know that silently, somehow… I’m rooting for you.