Several years ago, I had a very close friend. Let’s call her Amy.
Amy and I were brought together when we were both distraught under similar circumstances and grew to be fast friends. She found her refuge in me and I in her.
She was the voice in my head that told me that I deserved more, and I was the rationality in hers that told her she was playing with fire.
We saw each other through weeping, sleepless nights and empty, desperate days. When she moved to a new city, I promised her mother that I would watch out for her.
But then life happened to the both of us. I found a whole other set of people who I felt reflected my very soul. I slowly began to realize how some old friendships like hers and mine were more about timing than actually the connect between the people we were.
I tried telling her about how I felt in the most tactful and diplomatic way that I knew how to but the conversation didn’t go too well.
“So you are saying that I didn’t know the person you were all this while?” came her infuriated reply.
I let it go.
I felt that she couldn’t resonate with the people who I had lately handpicked as my own and so I kept silent about them. I kept silent about a lot of my experiences because in her responses, I saw more of a judgemental critique than a caring friend. What began as silence about how I felt about our friendship soon became a thumping silence from my end, about everything.
While she went on and on, relentlessly talking about her life. It took her a while to realize.
But the musty months soon transformed into a stale year. Somewhere between severely few hangouts and placid conversations, the message got delivered. I wasn’t too keen on speaking to her anymore.
I was a little younger and more foolish than I am now, so I went with the flow. I didn’t really think of the possibility that the silence may become irreversible. So even when Amy reached out to me once during the onset of our ‘break-up’ and asked me what had happened, I didn’t give her a proper reply.
She didn’t ask me again.
Life went on and we became mere spectators on each others social media platforms. While initially I was slightly responsive and ‘liked’ a few of her pictures and posts, she chose to withdraw from being involved on my profile entirely. And so eventually, I stopped as well. More out of malice than disinterest or lack of care, I must add.
We moved on in our lives without each other perfectly well, I never wished that I had picked her instead of any of the friends that I had and by the looks of it, she seemed extremely happy with her life too.
There was always a gnawing voice at the back of my mind that asked me to tie that loose end, but I didn’t have the courage to face speaking to Amy again. So I pushed it aside, for another day with a little more courage.
Yet every time I saw her parading away her happy life, I winced a little. But it was my decision to walk out. She deserved to be happy. I hated myself for hating on her happiness. But alas! One cannot always rise above their flawed, vain human.
So I ‘unfollowed’ her. I couldn’t block her cause that would mean that she had won. Wait.. when did this turn into a competition? I am not sure..
But I would still find myself keying in her name every other week, right on schedule for a shot of crumbling self worth. Was I that easy to forget?
After four years of this debacle, I finally gathered up the strength to speak to her this year. The conversation was way less than perfect. I had forgotten how she spoke, she seemed so foreign to me, who was this? Did she change or do I just not remember her?
I had built up an image in my mind from seeing her photographs and reading her status messages that I didn’t really remember her anymore. That conversation made me realize that I was simply holding on to a ghost, not her as she is now, not when I don’t even remember who she used to be back then!
I understood that certain friendships were truly seasonal, even though you may have lived a lifetime in that one season.
But the real reason I am here writing this isn’t for Amy. It’s for me.
I understood that although Amy and a couple of others who I let out of my life may not have been friendships that would last a lifetime, they left upon me an imprint that would. They left me with a haunting fear that I was easy to forget, that I was replaceable, that if I ever stepped back and didn’t give my two hundred percent, no one would come after me.
And why should they? You cut out Amy, if you cut out someone, don’t expect them to come back. And if you can’t deal with that loss, then keep everyone. Go back and pick them up and shove them all back into your chest. It doesn’t matter if there is no space left, love more, give more. No one will be there if you don’t. And then?
How will you live with that deafening silence?
Today, standing under a shower that was a little too warm, I had to go back and try to understand why I was this way. And when I kept tracing back, I reached Amy.
I ran over the blame games we could both have played if we ever got into the subject of our friendship and realized that no one was at fault. Not for us losing touch. But then, there was social media telling me that she never so much as looked back, that she never thought about me, that she found the right people for her and I was erased. But did I really know that? Just because I wasn’t spoken of, did I know that I was erased?
After all, I had to wonder, if she ever looked at my profile, wouldn’t she feel exactly the same way?
So maybe I didn’t have to love with an all consuming love. Maybe I didn’t have to worry about proving myself happier than my friends who were slowly becoming distant. Maybe I wouldn’t be forgotten, wouldn’t be erased. Or maybe I would. But here I am, picking up the pieces Amy took away from me, and I am glad I’ve begun.