I always wondered if it was my fault, or if it was just bound to happen. Perhaps it was both.
In my junior year, I met and became fairly close to several people from my school. It was all fine and dandy, but this surge of dedication to Veritas and the people at Veritas put a strain on my commitments everywhere else. Perhaps this new preoccupation was the final nail in the proverbial coffin of my five-year-long friendship with Noah and Alex.
But look at where we are now. It’s different- it’s alien. We’ve changed is a broad definition, but it can’t describe something both so abstract and familiar. We slowly forgot what brought us together, and if we didn’t, then we suffered through knowing what we were losing. All it took was chance to look back on what we poured out- what we typed and dreamed- to realize how good it really used to be; not that things aren’t good now. Progress consumed us and spat us out in all directions, without us really taking any notice. I question whether that’s really true; if we didn’t really see that we were drifting apart or if it was just shoved into the vault at the back of our mind because we didn’t want to accept it. After all, we were the best of friends.
–Alex in an unpublished blog post (May 2015)
We were the best of friends. It seems funny to me now that years ago at the peak of our friendship we swore to each other that we’d always stay friends. We promised to always talk, no matter what, and to never forget about each other.
But somehow as life progresses, little things keep changing so subtly that no one ever notices until it’s too late. When did we end up talking once a week instead of every day? When did we stop telling each other about the big events in our lives? When did we stop trying?
“I see you’ve replaced me with new white best friends,” Alex told me. She was joking, but I never realized how obvious it was that I had started to move on.
“I still refer to you as my best friend.”
I didn’t know how to respond to her.
It’s silly how much weight the word “best” carries. What constitutes a best friendship? How many best friends can you have? Wouldn’t it, by definition, only allow a single best friend? Why aren’t their written rules to all this? It’s such a hard word to choke out and a hard word to suppress. It’s awkward calling someone your best friend to their face for the first time and it’s even worse omitting that word for the first time.
We still call each other best friends. It’s not in the we’re-attached-at-the-hip kind of way that it used to be—it’s gravitated towards a I-really-don’t-want-to-let-go kind of thing. Calling Noah or Alex “my friend” seems so lacking, so unnatural. After half a decade it feels necessary to include the word “best” in the sentence, as if it is part of their names and their identities.
Regardless, our lives have continued to diverge.
The three of us go on, liking each other’s Instagram posts and wishing each other happy birthday, proceeding with a feigned interest of each other’s existences. Sometimes, one of us will stay up late and think too much about it and ride that emotional high, resulting in a what happened to us text or a 2am “I miss you a lot” call, just to wake up the next morning and feel indifferent about it all again.
Perhaps what bothers me the most is that this concept of saying goodbye to old friendships is not something that will go away soon; in fact it will be amplified as the road to college begins to come to an end. Goodbyes are inevitable, and ultimately we will all go off to college or what have you and distance ourselves literally and figuratively from everything we have built up for the past eighteen years. Noah and Alex are only the beginning.
I try not to think about it. I try not to think about the fact that in exactly one year I will be sitting in a college campus far away from home, in a new room, with new people, and new scenery. It bothers me that I don’t know where exactly I’m going to be next year, or where my VPSA friends will be next year, and whether we will be within driving distance of each other or just as far as we are now. It bothers me not knowing whether or not we’ll still be good friends.
But I suppose that’s a ways away. We seniors have seven months till graduation (237 days, if anyone’s counting) and ten months till college. That leaves us months and months to fill with more road trips, ice cream runs, and general antics until we have to say goodbye.