|Courtesy of the event organizer for one of the volunteering events|
If I wasn’t sure what I was thinking or whether I was mentally stable back then, the same might be applicable to him. We were both deers lost in the woods, unable to find the exit route and drowning in our own pain and sufferings yet wearing the facade of happiness in front of others.
Now that I’m in a foreign land, I can finally understand from his perspective. We wanted to push people away because we felt that they won’t be able to understand our implications from our eyes. We work so hard to the point of mental exhaustion yet we don’t get what we want.
Maybe it’s my fault, possibly.
I should’ve stayed my distance from the beginning.
If I had played my cards right, we wouldn’t have arrived at such a terrible ending. We could have maintained the little contact that we had and enjoyed the occasional sarcasm and jokes that we threw at each other. Neither one of us would be suffering in silence - you would not be able to trace any form of hurt or pain on this cheery face of mine unless I let it show. Neither one of us would have been each other’s sacrificial lambs. It had to be done if we wanted to move on in search of a better life without remnants of each other floating in the familiar places. You know my favorite haunts; I know yours. If I had played my cards right, I wouldn’t have sacrificed my friendship with you and let myself be guilt-tripped into a web of lies.
It took an acquaintance’s simple question in sophomore year to shake my core inside out: It sounds like you still like him. Why did you deny the obvious? A simple question that left me speechless for that split second because I never imagined the possibility. I only remembered treating him slightly different from the rest of my friends and him pushing me to my wits’ end.
Yet I might’ve subconsciously pushed him to his limit.
That staircase incident marked the freefall in our friendship - nothing that I did would have been enough to mitigate the effects for him and for me.
In hindsight, it all made sense: the teasing, the weird way of showing he cared, the coffee (even though he never remembered the way I like my drink from San Francisco Coffee), and the awkward action of exercising possession on almost all of my belongings. Yet I made the mistake that would lead to the biggest regret of my college life.
They say that time heals all wounds, but I don’t think the emotional scars that we both have will ever be healed. Maybe it will fade into the background with the right person, but it would always be somewhere in the depths of our abyss. Time has given me the luxury of analyzing the situation from his point of view and understand the drastic actions that he took. He made himself scarce in the weeks leading up to our graduation. He kept a distance whenever we were in the same room - he wasn’t his usual self, it was obvious to me. He was the first person I thought of when I realized that I left behind my folder for one of the subjects, but I don’t know what stopped me from texting him for help. Six weeks before the graduation, he gave me the cold shoulder and refused to even bat an eyelid at me. It was as if I was invisible to him. Although we spoke, it was brief and terse. And official.
It’s not that he chose to do it; he wasn’t left with much of a choice. It was either he dragged me down with him or he pushed me away. I guess he chose the latter because it would have made it unbearable to maintain the friendship. He didn’t want to be confronted with the fact that we would never be together.
I chose to leave. I chose to pursue my undergraduate studies abroad (and am now tossing up between staying back for a postgraduate in another field or doing it in my hometown). The college memories threatened to burden my heart with an anchor. I knew if I didn’t leave, I’d be searching the streets for that one familiar face. I know he wants me to be happy and content with the decisions I’ve made and I want the same for him too. Inasmuch as it’d be lovely to connect again, it would serve a contrary purpose. At least for me. Instead of making me relieved, I know that it’ll bring back all of the memories - the good, the bad, and the ugly - the moment I lay my eyes on him as I enter the agreed cafe.
The only way we are able to move on is to forget. Forget us. Forget our friendship. Forget the teases, growls, and fights. Some things are best left as it is. Looking for answers would merely bleed my heart, deeper this time. It took me a full year after college to mentally stabilize myself. I can’t let it derail me again when I’m rather close to the finishing line in a fragile state.
|Coffee from a nearby cafe before an appointment with my lecturer|
You might think that something bad must’ve happened for me to feel more down than I’m used to, but the truth is that it’s the time of the year. Furthermore, my sister and I caught up with the crim friend for a quick round of drinks after our oral presentation (which pretty much explained our not-so-formal-yet-formal-wear). Part of our conversation somehow went into the heart of this matter and how I seem to be surrounded by drama.