To all the friends I’ve loved before

A nod to my past

Sreya Kumar

Change is a foreign entity out of grasp, but still swirling around me, trapping me in its gray fumes and smoke. However, it’s become a part of me and through the way I twist and turn, it’s also a familiar sight, something I’m prone to welcoming, adjusting to, knowing that there’s no way I can escape it.

It’s so present in my interactions with people that everyday I wonder if this conversation will be the last with someone, just because it’s so easy for them to simply turn around and walk out of my life. And I honestly wouldn’t even be surprised, simply dismissing it as something I have to deal with and get over.

In Singapore, friends who I had known for 6, 7 years no longer keep in contact with me, because oh my god, they are so busy with their daily lives, they simply don’t have the time to engage in a simple conversation. They’re busy with school, they somehow have tests and exams to study for everyday, they live in a completely different timezone, and people who are at the top of my priority list have just shoved me to the bottom, thinking I wouldn’t notice.

Oh, but I do.

It’s so easy to come up with another excuse because I’m always going to be on the other side of the screen, eagerly waiting for them to text me back like a fool. Daily conversations turned into weekly texts, to a simple annual “Happy Birthday!” to now a double tap on an Instagram post.

This has prompted me to become so wary of all the relationships I make with people, because clearly I’m the one at fault, the one who is constantly being stepped over, trying to start a conversation with a friend with a simple “wyd”. Everytime I get too close with someone I remember that the summer will come and three months of distance will only lead to the awkward smiles and waves in the hallways and the ever so random Instagram comment.

Even today, I have friends graduating in less than a month, and it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I might never see them again, that we will never be the same people we used to be, sitting beside each other in the library joking about the latest viral Twitter post. And it’s so scary.

It’s scary to think that many don’t think about this ominous feeling that shadows my entire life, that finds its way into every square inch of my body and dreams. People just go out there making friends, without getting too attached or worrying that in two months they may never talk to each other again.

But maybe I should learn something from those people. True friends will never leave me. They will never let conversations drift into dry texts and will actually check in with me once in a while. Right?

Maybe it’s important that I treasure my past and remember these relationships, as they are essentially a fundamental part of me and have shaped me to become the person I am today. Each person who I’ve had a memorable conversation with are people I truly cherish and thank for spending time talking to plain, old me. I’ve become a better person, stronger and more reliant, and maybe these broken friendships have taught me to be more comfortable with myself and my self-worth.

And maybe, just maybe, I can hope that I’ll bump into a friend from my past as they’re walking round the corner, and go back to the way we were in the past.