The people who are meant to be in your life will always gravitate back towards you, no matter how far they wander.
There are some people in your life that no matter what happens, your lives will always be intertwined whether you want it to be or not. Growing up, I always believed in female power and us females sticking together no matter what. I had a good number of girlfriends – friends I’d stick my neck out for, friends who I’d rush over to their houses in a heartbeat with a slice of yummy goodness whenever they told me a guy just dumped them, friends I’d have all sorts of inside jokes with, and etc. But over the years, I’ve lost these friends – maybe it was just me being a possessive friend and not dealing with it better, or maybe we just stopped seeing things the same way and found it hard to agree to disagree, or maybe they became toxic to me and I was the one who walked away. With each friend I’ve lost, I suffered immense heartbreak – worse than the ones my ex-boyfriends gave me. Losing a friend was always a painful thing for me.
Over the years, I became more and more reserved – I didn’t want to open up to people as much, just enough such that it isn’t surfaced but deep enough for them to reach. Just image a pool or the sea – imagine walking deeper and deeper, and the point where you’re on tippy toes but you shift inward a little such that you are comfortably walking on the pool tiles or the sea bed. That’s what I allow my friendships to be these days. Deep enough for them to know me comfortably, and when they want, to lift their feet and wade around the pool. Of course, I do feel envious of girlfriends who have stuck by each other from childhood to adulthood and I wish I had that with any one of my past best friends but I know that can never be and at this point in my life, I’m too afraid to let anyone come that close. Infact the only best friends I ever had after all the friendship heartbreak were Marion and Suzie.
Over the weekend, I met the first girl I crowned my best friend. We were childhood friends because we grew up together – her family and mine are related through the marriage of our relatives so we are somewhat distant cousins.
A little bit of a context here – we were in the same primary school and secondary school. Our friendship fell apart at the end of Secondary school – I was the one who walked away because I felt that friendship was giving me more heartache than joy and very painfully I decided the only option was to detach. We didn’t exactly speak about the detachment or how I suddenly became “weird” because we still went to the same church and to the same ministry, just that she grew closer to another one of our friends and I grew closer to my sister’s friends. Slowly, that became our new normal and to be honest, I was happy to have detached myself. I didn’t hate her, but I guess I was angry, more than that, I was disappointed about a lot of things in our friendship that we didn’t address. Overtime, those feelings slowly dissolved and it wasn’t anger anymore nor was it bitterness, it was just… this. We’d see each other in church and we’d talk for bit. We’d see each other at some family gatherings or friends’ christmas parties and we’d talk as if nothing happened. Everything was strangely normal.
If I’m not mistaken, she reached out to me before I started my studies in Lasalle. We went for brunch together and that was the first real conversation we’ve had after many years and that’s when we finally addressed what had happened in our friendship. But the first reconciliation was not that big of an impact because life proceeded as per normal. We eventually met up again towards the end of 2015 for sushi (she taught me how to sat Sashimi amongst other things in the past – chilli/spicy food, to whistle etc). That conversation was what truly rekindled our friendship and even though we both knew that things would never go back to how they once were, we both appreciated this newfound friendship – one that has matured and gone through individual hardships; one that has overcome disappointments and anger. I guess that’s when I realised that the first girl I crowned my best friend will always be a part of my life no matter what.
There’s a certain kind of bittersweet sentiment to that. Imagine if we were one of those coming of age movies – two girls who were tight as spandex growing apart only to find comfort in the friendship again when a situation presents an opportunity to reach out to the other. In my head, the audience would be rooting for these girls to be best friends again but the audience would understand why that can never be because so much has happened. If they were to entertain that idea, it may lead to the friendship fully dissolving over time, but at the same time, we’ll never know. I guess it’s not something I want to know because I’d rather play it safe. I believe that it’s better to maintain some distance in all my friendships because that prevents it from falling apart. That is not to say you can’t disagree with your friends, it just means you don’t feel the need to have them see life the same way as you – you allow them to just be, just as they allow you to just be. Personally, it’s the healthier option for me. So that’s what we are now – good friends and that pleases me.
When we met up last weekend, to be honest, I was a little anxious because we haven’t really spoken in awhile since she wasn’t around in Singapore. I feared that it may be awkward again but to my surprise, it was quite the opposite. Our conversations took off naturally and soon, we found ourselves laughing about relatable issues. We were also recalling memories from our childhood and the random people in our past and we identified that person with a distinct story. We also recalled the guys we’ve been with and how we’ve witnessed those moments of heartbreak, and how dumb we were to not see back then that they only loved us for surfaced reasons – we thought they were the ones for us. We cooked up a silly little fantasy in our heads of how we might be in-laws because I dated the brother of the guy she was dating. We talked about regrets and how each moment was necessary to get to where we are now. It was conversation that perfectly combined honesty, humour and realness. Before we knew it, it was already close to 7pm and we hadn’t realised we were having these conversations for close to 6 hours.
We used to joke how when we become old ladies, we’d need to ask our grandchildren for permission to sleep over at each other’s house. Well, that particular day, I felt like we were two old ladies talking about everything. Mostly because we also felt like age was catching up. Maybe we weren’t two old ladies, but we were two grown women. We were no longer those kids that laughed boisterously along the school corridors, we were two grown women talking about the struggles of being an adult and the heartaches women feel. As a kid, having her around, I felt I wasn’t so alone in whatever I was feeling. That my problems were relatable to someone else – whether it was that kid who just bullied me, the ah beng who had a crush on me or the teacher that called me all sorts of negative things. This conversation reminded me that my problems were still relatable and I wasn’t alone. Although I’ve had conversations like that with my other girlfriends, there’s nothing quite like having that with an old friend who has actually witnessed the situations from all the way back.
I acknowledge that this friendship can never be like how it once was and maybe I don’t ever want it to be. I do miss the good times and the fun times, but I sure don’t miss the immaturity of that friendship and the way we dealt with things. If anything, this is the best deal we can get – still being involved in each other’s lives to a certain degree and picking it up again when those meet ups happen. This is one friendship that I was lucky to have salvaged. The rest of my friendship fallouts weren’t too lucky. Since we’re on the topic of friendship and this post is almost as if I’m writing an essay, I will continue the topic on the next post.
“Your heart and my heart are very very old friends.”