This is not the first time. Ours has been a turbulent relationship, from the very beginning. We came together when our respective best friends ditched us. Over the years, our families kept the other at an arm’s distance, fearing ‘bad influence’. Truth be told, we were both evil enough in our own rights to fare just fine without any influence.
Over the years, almost a decade and half to be precise, we braved many a heartaches, achievements and disappointments, together. 3AM was as good a time to call as 3PM. So today, as I write this, I wonder what went wrong? How did a friendship just ceased to exist after 13 years?
From hereon, the reasoning belongs solely to me. My perspective. My side of the story. It’s all a blur, and my gold fish memory doesn’t help. But I need to understand, resolve, and possibly move on. Here are some disjointed explanations. Maybe you can make sense of it all?
Thoughts race from one corner of my brain to another, too fast for me to capture. In the blur, I can see something – trust, or actually lack of it. I could always share things with her, but I couldn’t open that last door. The earliest memory that I have of this barrier being erect goes back to 2008. It could be shame, or that we were geographically always unfortunate. Distance doesn’t make my heart grow fonder. That dark room increased in size over the years, and the list of things to not talk about grew longer. Until..small talk entered our conversation sphere. This is the last nail in the coffin – small talk.
If your parents are not onboard with a friendship, and you live in Pakistan, beware. I have been to her place only a handful of times. She came over to mine slightly more, but it wasn’t always pleasant. My parents thought she was a bad influence as in one of my diaries, I wrote that I wore a liner at school. It was her liner and I had borrowed. I think it was after that that I stopped writing diaries. Despite our many attempts, the icy bridge between her and my parents never quite settled. On the flip side, I had a nasty breakup with her elder sister, who used to be a really good friend while she was away at school to another city. I have zero recollection of what happened with the sister. Just that my then boyfriend kept on asking me to end it with her. He threatened that it would cost me our relationship if I didn’t stop hanging out with her. In addition, I never was her parents’ favorite. I don’t know why – maybe because she and I fought a lot, and they didn’t like the girl who made their daughter angry or tearful. Or that I could only make awkward conversations with her mom, at best. My people’s skills weren’t rave worthy back then.
I made the mistake of hooking her up with one of my almost-best friends. I loved both of them, and found them so similar that I just had to bring them together. It was something that I shouldn’t have done. I can still spare myself for bringing them together, but what I really really really should not have done was champion their relationship. I believed, with all my heart, that they belonged together, and every time they had a fall out, I would try to reason my way into patching them up. After a while, she stopped telling me when they broke up or got back together. Fair enough – my rose tinted views were not helping anyone. Many years and some awful episodes later, they parted ways. But something stayed. A blame on me, which was hardly ever pronounced but always felt. Somehow, I bagged the prize for causing heartache to people I deeply cared about.
And this led to distance creeping in between us. Looking at me reminded her of him. And looking at her, reminded me of someone I had unresolved issues with. Every time our issues with respective men resurfaced, we avoided the other. She became a scar that reminded me of an injury, which still hurt.
Social media. I love it. She bears with it. This isn’t the first time that one of us has blocked or unfriended the other. But sometimes, tech took it upon itself to create misunderstandings. For example, most recently, I was using a god-awful phone, which kept on redialing contacts that I had recently called. Before ‘the’ fight, she was my most called person. My phone would still dial her number, and it was too slow to react when I would try and cancel. To make it stop, I deleted her number from my phone. I had it memorized anyway. This meant that she could not see my picture on WhatsApp and assumed that I have blocked her. Many moons later, she confronted me and I told her that I did not block her. She didn’t believe me. I changed the visibility to public. Bless tech.
Life had been particularly difficult for us in recent years. There were months of professional stagnation, unemployment, and compromises. Personal relationships had been more demanding than comforting. We slipped into episodes of depression. She was there to pull me out and I tried to be there when things got tough for her. It became unbearable only when we both hit rock bottom, looking for the other to pull us out with unconditional understanding, love and support, and found the spot empty.
We didn’t have an elaborate farewell. A fight that closed that last door shut. And locked for added security against future pain.
Now she sits in a frame in my house, as a picture of happy times from our youth. I miss her, but I know that the bridges were burnt and neither has the emotional capacity to cross through the ambers of pain.
Not all stories are destined for a happy ending. Some just end.