“I-I’m sorry..this just isn’t going to work anymore.”
The cellphone in my hand abruptly gave way to the monotone buzz that mimicked the same puzzlement in my thoughts before finally settling into a permanent silence.
It had been a close high school friend and a routine conversation that had taken place many times before. A funny story that would lead to a flurry of hurried text messages back and forth in an attempt to capture our sentiments in as real-time as feasibly possible and then, a phone call, allowing our fingers to rest while our voices carried the work of maintaining the high pitch volume of teenage laughter and conversation.
This call, however, was different. Begun not by the premise of an embarrassing photo, but by a question, posed unaccompanied, with a solitude I didn’t recognize.
“Hey, can I give you a call?”
I hesitated briefly, my mind sensing the shuttle shift and then dismissing it to her being embroiled in another tale of teenage drama that promised of satisfying enthrallment.
I responded. “Sure of course! What’s up?”
What went on in the next 10 minutes broke down a three-year friendship back into its original, and foundational counterparts- one single me and one single her- in a matter of seconds, while I, simply sat, the phone leaden by my ears.
“It’s not you.. It’s just that...”
[things out of my control] my heart whispered softly.
[yes,i wish i could control them too]
But I had stopped listening well before then.
“I-I’m sorry..this just isn’t going to work anymore.” *
It took days to wrench myself out of the old routine and embed myself into a new life that she was no longer a constant part of. At first I took the miss independent route, declaring to anyone and everyone willing to hear, that I could do bad all myself. Who needs her anyway? I’d mutter.
Well, that lasted about as long as my siblings tolerated my badly sung rendition of Beyonce’s Me, Myself, and I.
I occupied my time with the things I loved- drawing and painting, letting the sun’s touch gently warm my browned skin on afternoon walks, although its rays, somehow, couldn’t always reach my heart.
I allowed myself to feel grief. Each time my fingers stiffened above the phone screen, catching myself before sending an impulsive text, each moment wondered what she had been up to that day was hard. But with each passing day, her presence became more and more like an opaque memory.
I catch myself reflecting on this friendship sometimes. Not with anger or spite. But in simple thought. Relationships like life, are visceral- a constant ebb and flow that sheaths the gentle balance between give and take. The funny thing is that sometimes we forget to acknowledge its fluidity and fervently hold onto people that have served their purpose in our lives.
I’ve learned to recognize that, no matter how much it may hurt, relationships will not always be permanent-- but that does not imply that they were a failure. In each, you’ve learned something about yourself- how to love, to understand a new perspective, to give way, and to stand firmly within yourself.
The passing of two ships isn’t a symbol of loss. It’s the narrative of an approach, a love shared, a lesson learned and a gentle goodbye as we become part of the story of another.