In my life, first there were friends. Then they became best friends. And finally, they all ended up being a lot of strangers. It’s weird how people change, how your mutual perceptions change, how a lot of things that were once taken for granted became commodities to be haggled over. How friendship became more of a deal or contract rather than a human bond between two souls.
Some people have truly said that most times it’s not the change in people that results in broken friendships, but rather simply the flow of the sand in the hourglass. Friendship is apparently yet another simple ‘parameter’ of the world that has come to be seen as a measure rather than an emotional asset.
When I first met you, you were or rather I thought that you were, an ideal best friend. I always had this utopian vision about best friends. That best friends wouldn’t have secrets between them, that they would always hang out together no matter what the occasion, that they would stick up for each other, they would have each other’s back in any situation even if that would put them in trouble finally. I wanted a friendship wherein you see past the made up expressions on my face and you find out that I am messed up real bad within and you would set me right without me having to ask you for help. I wanted a friendship where I know that wherever I am, I would always have an ear to listen to my worries, a voice to calm me down and hug just to reassure me that all was indeed right and that all wasn’t lost yet. I wanted a friend, barely a friend who would be there for me always. I wanted a friend who would support me, push me to do things I wasn’t sure I could do, encourage me to express myself, honestly point out my mistakes and feel free to make fun of me till I set myself right. I wanted a friend who would be with me through thick and thin, a friend who would say that no matter what he would be there at the end of day, still waiting for that message from me just to know that I was alright and if I didn’t message, call me up and scold me for not letting him know that I was fine. Or if I wasn’t really fine, having a good long chat till he was sure I am back to my normal self. I wanted a friend who would show me that there was no such thing as ‘I won’t be able to do it’. I wanted a friend who would show me what’s wrong and what was right. Sorry for thinking that, that friend was you.
Of course, if you were one to believe in the age old view that “best friends” actually means “the same soul in two different bodies” you would be thought of as a lunatic in today’s world. But me, I am one of those who believe in that old school thought about best friends. My friendships ought to thrive on face-to-face talks, on banters, on secret codes, with gestures that would take others years to figure out, with simple things that others wouldn’t notice, but things that you both would notice and inform the other through a innocent-seeming glance. Stuff like that. For me, WhatsApp merely was a continuation of the day’s talks, not the place to have the day’s talks. Facebook was merely to go back and see photos of your past memories, not for you to see photos of your best friend enjoying with others and thinking why you aren’t there. Twitter was to tweet one liners that only you two understood and would baffle others. Instagram was a place where you threatened your best friend to post his goofy poses rather than a place where you saw his latest pictures for the first time. 4Squared was an app where you would be tagged along with him in the same mall all the time, and not necessarily the app that notifies you where your friends are when you have been waiting for their replies on WhatsApp for the past 2 hours.
For me, friendship is not merely a relationship. It’s the ship I hoped to board on a trip to the fulfilment of a great many illusions I had about this world, about humanity, about friends, about great times out, about partners-in-crime, about the few moments you savour about the day when you think back about what you did just before drifting into sleep.
A true friendship need not have a best friend. And a best friend need not give you the fruits of a true friendship. As they say, an honest enemy is always better than a back stabbing friend. You would at least know what to expect from whom.
A deceptive friendship often breaks your trust in a lot of ways in a lot of things. Of course it breaks your trust first and foremost in true friendship. It messes with your mind and yo tend to view everyone from then onwards with a suspecting eye. You end up taking everything with a pinch of salt. Seemingly innocent stares are taken as hostile. Sentences which were part of bantering becomes much hated phrases.
In the end, I just want to thank you for the hundreds of times you seemed to stand up for me and ended up putting me in more trouble, for the hundreds of times you didn’t believe me, for the hundreds of times you ended up making me feel miserable, for the hundreds of times I told you I felt lost in life and needed company and you just laughed it off, for the hundreds of times I got backstabbed by you and for the millions of times you made me think that there was nothing better than sitting back and accepting invitations for celebrating others’ victories when there was a hell of a long way for us BOTH to travel.
Thank you. And adieu.
I do realize that maybe once I reach close to the final sunset of my life, I might regret all this. I might regret leaving you all behind to follow my dreams, to set a new path for myself, to go my own way. But again, thank you for being there with me while I was busy taking a rest at the roadside inn. It’s time for me to set off again. And if you ever feel that you need a good friend, or even someone to listen to your worries, a shoulder for you to cry on, a voice to tell you it’s fine, and arms to hug you tight and let you cry in peace, I’ll always be around here somewhere. Because you were the one to leave my life first, and I never forget those who leave.
Until we meet again.