Letter: Seeking a Best Friend For the Start of This World

Lonely Bench

Dear _____,

Something happened today to transport me back to a time when I felt much simpler. It’s an odd thing that happens, the way life chips away at our innocence, replacing it with cynicism and boredom and ambition, then bandaging all of that up with supposed virtues like tact and maturity. It’s a lie, I think, because at the end of the day, these virtues don’t bring us happiness. Instead, we are left to ruminate in our own loneliness. That is, if we ruminate at all.

I miss you, but it isn’t the physical you that I miss. Rather, I think I miss who we were at the cusp of our late teens / early twenties. And just like I knew things would never be the same after I graduated, I know now too that as the years go by, life will probably take us away from each other. It feels like an exercise in futility sometimes, trying to stop the tides from turning with just a spoon in hand, knowing that I can never scoop fast or wide enough to prevent the inevitable drowning of old ties, old loves, and old selves.

I don’t want you to think that I’m not happy for you. I truly am. I’m so glad – you have no idea – and thankful that you have found someone who completes you. That’s nothing to sneer at, and if post-pubescence has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t take this chance in a lifetime lightly. You protect it for as long as you can, and longer than that if possible.

So the thing is, I’m realizing that this is how life goes. You have your good friends, and you have your best friend, and you have your family. But then someone comes along, and they become the center of your world. Rightfully. And you still love your friends, you still think about your best friend and your family. But they’re just not a focal point anymore. How could they be? Everyone’s spread out all over the map, and so the one person you build your life with is going to be the one who shares your bed, your home, your dreams. Three becomes a crowd, no matter who that third person is.

I think I’m trying reconcile with that. And, to no fault of yours, I’m having trouble with it. As I watched you and your significant other drive off into the midday glow, I realized that something else – nebulous and undefined – just came and went in our relationship. I don’t want to say that it died, but I can feel that it’s gone. Whatever it was, that part of our friendship trailed off into the horizon with your car.

Oh, I know we’ll visit each other. We’ll make new memories. All that beautiful jazz and all those promises. We’ll be different, and learn to live with that difference between past and present. We’ll make do, and survive. But it’s hard for me not to mourn the things that made me love our friendship the most – being fancy-free and footloose, being young and single, being simple and tied to nothing except our deep, platonic affection for each other. I’m going to try, of course. You know I will. But these, you see, are my growing pains. I’m trying to bid farewell to what we were, so that I can properly invite what we’ll be without all the baggage of expecting history to repeat itself.

And I’m not sure how to do it. It kind of hurts, you know? I guess it’s supposed to.

Love,
Irene

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