This week is probably the most important week in your life and out of nowhere, I found myself thinking about you today, after all these days. I imagined your excitement, your tears and your immeasurable joy, and then quickly go on to ponder over the text message I will be sending you when I get the news. I have pretty much decided on - ‘Hey! Congratulations & God Bless. Love always – Aditi.’ Nice, crisp and apt, but not exactly a note you’d send a friend. Or should I call you an ex-friend, now that we don’t speak anymore? It’s funny how we always tend to use the word ‘ex’ for boyfriends alone. ‘My ex’ almost always means a past boyfriend, and never a friendship that was.
I wonder why.
Both are relationships that are important, than why does the ex-boyfriend gets so much more importance over a lost friendship? I wonder why we cry and mourn so much at the end of a relationship with a supposed ‘lover’ or an entirely phoney ‘The One’, and not feel a thing when a friendship dies. Okay, maybe we do feel a thing, a prick in the heart, or a faint disappointment – but we are experts in suppressing and ignoring it completely. Strange, don’t you think? Isn’t there some amount of love, some amount of attachment in friends too? Then why do we disregard it completely and claim to be ‘strong’ when a friend walks off our lives?
We have been good buddies, dear ex-friend. Well, as good as two hyper-girls in a same situation at the same time can be – experiencing, sharing and learning together. Didn’t really see the ups and downs together, we two, but we did have hour long calls and secret giggles. We did not experience each other’s teenage crushes, but we did understand that month long loneliness we both went through. You had no idea how passionate I was about my profession, but then you did know about my total lack of passion for cooking which is a secret to many.
I smile when I think of our dressing disasters together, our synchronized fuck-ups in the new culture that became our collective memories, and our futile gym sessions where we ate cookies together and then jumped on the tread mill to burn those calories instantly. A couple of crazy girls we were, two misfits trying to be a part of this new, almost foreign society.
I wonder what happened later. This enigmatic, foreign society taught us to be serious, maybe even less open, and we got lost somewhere in our own lives which were different now, geographically. I can’t be sure, but I think we started to trust less and blame easily. Maybe it was right too, who am I to say! Maybe one of us learned the lessons faster, leaving the other behind – or both of us learned different lessons and decided to follow them for our own good. Who can tell?
And now we are both happy in our lives, in our separate bubbles. Nothing has changed after we suddenly stopped talking, none of us tried to reach out and patch things up. “Just let it be, it’s for the good.” – I’m sure we have both been told, and we believed it. We carried on; this was just another hitch in the road of life. No tears were shed – no loss acknowledged. Two strong women going their own way, doing their own thing and not breaking the rhythm of life by dwelling on tiny little things.
That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?
But what do we do about the friendship that was? Bury it deep and never think about it? Leave it in that one moment in the past, and never go back? Or carry it around like a tiny pebble in our pocket that our palms feel but our fingers can’t quite hold?
I’m sure we will meet again dear ex-friend; it’s a small world after all. I think I’ll be cordial with you then, flash a warm smile and hope hard to be rescued by someone to avoid any conversation. And you? Probably the same as me, yes. But all this while we’ll know what that twitch of the mouth means and will try hard not to giggle on a certain hair-do and a million things. We will be pros at avoiding our natural behaviour by then, I suppose. Later on, we will think about each other before going to bed, only for a few seconds, before we realize it’s useless and will shrug the thought off. We’ll carry on with our lives, not thinking about a friend that was.
And so here I am, saying what none of us will ever think consciously about –that I might have not cried or even actually been sad at the addition of the word ‘Ex’ to your name in my life, but I still sometimes think of our good times together and smile.
I hope you smile too, when you think of those times.