I only had a best friend once, and that was way back in 3rd grade. My earliest recollections of us include an exchange of handwritten letters and stationery sets, conversations about home works and crushes, and Girl Scout camps. That went on until she had to transfer to another school. Even then, we still talked online and met every once in a while. Slowly, she started to drift away as new friends replaced old ones. I lost my best friend some time in high school.
Of course, I had other friends. But none replaced old ones – that isn’t really possible, is it? Subconsciously, I’ve set a boundary as to how far these relationships could only go.
Lately, I find myself in situations where I am tempted to let my guard down. The thought of having someone (and not merely a journal) to talk to about the ugly and interesting and all the in-between details of life, of not having to be alone in your pursuit of elsewhere, of being completely known and understood and loved still. I long for this kind of connection but each time I try to take a step forward, I stop; I think I will never be ready for this kind of intimacy.
And it is this fear of impermanence that denies me such desire. Impermanence is solace to the suffering but also an enemy to the easily, more so to the overly, -attached.
But if you are fortunate, there are hands that constantly reach out no matter how far you draw back. There are people who willingly listen to the stories in your head, who insist that you go on each time you pause. There are those who look at you and see you and choose not to walk away. There are those who, even with the surge of other friendships, remember your name not out of necessity but just because.
Such souls, rare as they may be, inspire me not to forget, but rather to accept the reality of impermanence. They speak to me of the beauty of relationship despite the inevitable future separation that comes with it in different forms.
There are faces that come in mind as I write this and I am reminded of moments – happy, sad, frustrating, painful, beautiful. I am no longer friends with my 3rd grade best friend but that did not, does not and will never change the fact that she was my 3rd grade best friend. The same goes for all the friends that came and went. And I was, am, will always be that friend to them.
I suppose there will never be an end to farewells. But perhaps this human connection is worth the pain of impermanence, after all.