To the Friend Who Faded Away.
I want this blog to be personal. I want it to explore parts of life that are hard, fun, easy, confusing, and everything in between. I am a closeted writer. I must have shelves of journals filled with anecdotes of different life experiences just waiting to be read. But the purpose of this blog is to share that writing, and to hopefully relate to my readers on some level. Maybe something I write, at some point, will truly speak to you.
Today I write a letter to a childhood friend who I thought was going to be around forever, but things quickly changed as we entered our teens. Now that we are in our twenties I often wonder where she is. This letter is for her. Perhaps you've lost a childhood friend too. In that case, it's also for you.
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To the friend who faded away.
How are you? I’m trying to remember what your smile looks like. Images of the years we spent together paint a picture of a goofy curve making its way all the way up your cheeks to meet a pair of sparkling green eyes. To be truthful, I’m not sure what it looks like anymore, and that leaves me with a sort of sick feeling inside. I really hope your life is everything you thought it would be.
Time passes and I wonder where you are. I wonder if you are still puttering through school or if you’re working. I picture you with someone who loves and cares about you though maybe you’re alone, braving the world on your own, and that’s okay. Even though we lost touch ages ago I always want to know you’re fine. Times may change and people change, but you… you made me who I am.
I’ve learned so much since we were friends. Sometimes, when I look back, I am amazed at how much I’ve changed. I wish you could see me now. I wonder if I’ve taken the path you thought I would have. I know I’ve certainly surprised myself. I want you to know that I’m okay. I’m different. I’m not who I was all those years ago when we spent every minute together. Life hasn’t been easy since then, but I’ve made it through.
I wonder if there will come a day when I don’t regret losing you.
I wonder if that day has already come for you. I wonder if it never will.
Part of me aches for the bond we had. I guess there’s something about being childhood friends. You know things about me nobody else does. You showed me how to laugh and tell secrets and feel like family. You knew every single vulnerable part of me. Yet, by some stupid trick of fate, you know nothing about the person I am now. Every part of me worries that if you ever saw me again you wouldn’t like me anymore. I fear your disapproval and your disappointment. I haven’t seen you for years, yet the darkest parts of me still seem visible and vulnerable to you, like the moment we see each other again they will suddenly be revealed.
I want to see you again, though I tell myself I don’t. I tell myself I’ve made amazing friends since you, and I have, but there will never be anyone like you. There will never be anything like we had. I think you know that too. In a hidden, secret part of my brain, I wish for some sort of miraculous reunion but the adult in me knows that’s probably never going to happen. Coming to that truth in my heart makes me feel truly broken, but I know that’s reality.
I might come across sad or cynical or naive, but I really hope you miss me. I hope you think about me sometimes. Things ended badly between us, I know, but I want you to know that I’m not mad. I could never be mad at you.
The truth is, I’ve never had a friend like you. I don’t think I ever will.
We were two in a million, you and me. Soulmates. Made for each other.
You were supposed to be by my side forever. Through college and marriage and kids and divorce and death, you were supposed to be there. I planned for it and dreamt about it every day. Just now, after nine years of trying to live my life in your absence, I am finally starting to realize that I don’t know what I’m going to do without you. I’m afraid I won’t ever be a complete version of myself. I’m afraid I will miss out on parts of life that could be enriching and powerful and full of love. I ache every day that I don’t speak to you. I fear that a day will come when I have no recollection of the last time we talked. In fact, that day has already come and gone.
I want to see who you become. I want to find out what path you take, who you fall in love with, where you take your career. I want to be there with you when you lose your parents. I want you to know in your heart that I am there with you. I will always be right beside you, in life and death, because I love you. I think subconsciously underneath all this pain and uncertainty there is loss and a lack of closure. I just want to be back beside you, sitting together on your couch hiding under the blankets from your sister, whispering my every hope and insecurity into your tiny freckled ears.
I don’t know when the day will come, but there will come a day when I resign myself to the fact that you’re never coming back. I think a part of my heart will always be sort of damaged in a way no one else could inflict. I didn’t just lose a friend who walked me through kindergarten and grade school, I lost my soulmate. I am aware that I am supposed to simply continue living and move on, but so much of me wants to rewind and change things.
That’s life, isn’t it? I guess that’s life.
What I really want to say is I’m sorry. I wish things were different, but they’re not. I just have to believe that’s the way things were supposed to go. I have to.
I wish you a long, prosperous, and beautiful life.
I’m still your best friend, and I will always be here waiting for you.