Letter in a Bottle: Missing An Old Friend

Letter in a Bottle: Missing An Old Friend

Letter in a Bottle: Missing An Old Friend

When you make big decisions in your life, and when you start to grow, you sometimes lose people along the way. Friends, acquaintances, and anyone that can no longer relate to you, support your growth, or understand you. Sometimes people naturally drift apart… But it doesn’t mean they aren’t friends. When people drift apart, they can still call each other from time to time, when life allows, and check in. It’s just… Those people that choose to end a friendship when they don’t understand you anymore, or because you can’t be everything they need you to be.

I’d like to tell you very honestly about my best friend. Yes, I still call her that… I guess it’s part habit, and part hope. Regardless of our odds, I’ve continued to call her my best friend… I digress…

We were friends for about 10 years. In middle school, I noticed her first, but was always too afraid to introduce myself. One day, my old friend introduced me to his new “girlfriend”, my soon-to-be best friend. The two ended up at odds themselves, and I stuck to her from then on. She was my partner in crime. She was the highlight of every dreadful day, for me.
Middle school was a bad time for me. There were a lot of complicated family problems going on, and bullies were brutal with their judgment and cruel words. Before her, I had no reason to stand out, or speak out. The more time I spent with her, the more I opened her up. She was quiet and reserved, also having no reason to stand up or stand out. When we met each other, we formed a bond stronger than any other friendship I’ve ever had (to this day).
We stood up for each other, protected each other. We found ways to cope with our personal problems… Humor. We made fun of our circumstances, and in turn, we made the other laugh. She was my ultimate joy.
As friends do, we rejected the rest of the world when we were with each other. We never followed the crowd, but we always stayed close to each other. We even became aggressive when our parents tried to keep us separated to keep our attitudes in check.

During high school, I left my school, for very personal reasons, and we were separated for a long time. I missed her so much. She became unwell without me, as I recall her telling me. She missed me, and she was really hurting because of it. She had many other things going on in her life after that. She fought for independence from her family, she followed her heart until it was broken… And I had my own life to manage, as well. When we met up again, she was in a committed relationship with the man she would later marry. I always liked him, because I knew he would take good care of her.
We reconnected, and at a pivotal time in my life, our friendship blossomed into something more than a friendship. More than sisterhood. More than love. We both realized how much we were meant to be in each other’s lives, despite being busy with our own lives. I tried my best to see her as often as I could, but I was also balancing my own drama, and doing my best to stay above water. I wanted to spend all my time with her, but I had to work, I didn’t have much money for gas to go anywhere (when I had a car) and I was also busy following my own heart. We settled for seeing each other as often as we could, which may have been once or twice every month.

She did most of the work. I don’t want to give any excuses, but it’s because I didn’t have the means to give more and do more at that time in my life. She had a lot more privilege than me, though at that time, neither of us had any concept of “privilege”. Her parents gave her their old car, I had to buy my first car from my parents. Her dad landed her the first job she ever had, I had to find my own work. She had her future husband to help support their means of living, and I had trouble even paying my bills. Not to mention the drama weaving in and out of my life – both things within my control, and outside of my control. She had the means, and so, she always met me. She always picked me up, fed me, let me stay with her from time-to-time. She footed the bill when I was too broke to go out with her. She was there for me.

I wasn’t always fair to her. I got frustrated with life. Cold, and distant. Maybe I had been mean to her. I don’t like to think about it.
Did she ever get tired of supporting me? Did she ever get frustrated that I couldn’t meet her half way, most of the time? Let alone go above and beyond for her..?

We had ups and downs. Ins and outs.
There were times she was angry with me. Times I was frustrated with her. Times we couldn’t talk because I was so absorbed in my personal life, that I didn’t make time for her. She had gone off on me, stopped speaking to me a few times. We had a few fights…

When I started piecing my life back together, after losing my job and leaving my ugly peach house, she was there to support me. Her arms were wide open. A fallout with family left me with no place to stay, and she opened her doors to me. She gave me a place to stay while I went to school and worked for my family’s business. At that time, I was in a dark place. Despite having done everything she could to distract me and keep me happy, the happiness faded quickly, and I was soon lost in my own darkness.

One time, she must have heard me crying.
I was staying on a couch in her attic. I cried almost every night, because I was truly at a loss with life. Nothing made sense. I couldn’t see my path.
She must have heard me crying… because she came up the stairs. In a panic, I quickly wiped away my tears… But I knew she knew. She offered to go somewhere the next morning, and I was happy she did. I loved doing anything with her. She left, after asking me if I was okay. (I didn’t want to make her feel hopeless, as if she couldn’t make me happy. I told her I was okay.)

That night I had a dream of Lord Ganesha, and the next day, it was revealed to me that I would have the chance to go to India. I was so excited! But I was scared to tell her…

She never took shocking news well, and the idea of her best friend being that far away from her would be… crushing. Just days before, we had several conversations about our plans in life, and how we always wanted to stay close to each other. She told me she wanted to have kids, but she wasn’t sure if she was ready, and she was scared. She knew her husband would help her, but she wanted me to help her as well. This was our way of making plans to stay together, in her settled life.

Though we had always both dreamed of travelling… It meant more to me, than it did to her.

She was a successful woman. She had a good job, her husband had a good job. They married early in her life, they bought a house. They were frugal, and preferred nights in the home, watching their favorite shows together. They were settling down… Just as I learned my destiny was far away from home.

I had to tell her. I was scared, because I knew she would be hurt. But the last time I had kept something from her, it really hurt her. I took the  responsibility and told her I was leaving for India.

She was shocked. I could physically see the hurt and disappointment in her body language. At this time, the trip was supposed to last for six months, then I would return home. Even the thought of being apart for six months hurt her…
Our conversations became sparse, as we both suffered her agony. I was miserable not because I would be away from her. I mean, I was sad, but I knew everything would be okay… No… I was miserable because she was extremely hurt. I reacted to her pain with wallowing, and an argument took place.

I left her home, and stayed with my sister until it was time to leave for India.

Just before I left, I made peace with her. I reassured her. I thought… To this day, I guess I really don’t know if I ever made her feel better, or if she recovered from that.
I understand her pain. Our connection, our plans, and suddenly I shook her world up to follow my heart – a habit that has landed me in some pretty dark places in life.

I couldn’t help it.. I had to follow my heart. I knew it was my destiny.

When I was in India, we talked, but I was very busy exploring India and culture. Internet speed was incredibly slow. I talked to her when I could.
Then I entered into my relationship with DN. I was excited to tell her about it…
When I went to Delhi, me and DN spent our days working (night time in the US), and our nights we mostly spent together exploring a new place. A temple, a restaurant, or a historic site. I was dizzy trying to understand culture, and exhausted from my adventures and the heat. I also became incredibly sick in Delhi, due to a gallstone (I later learned). The next time I messaged her, she never replied. I spent the next few days, and maybe weeks writing to her. And while she saw my messages, but never replied.

It sank in, that maybe she was upset we didn’t talk much. She could clearly see I was online and replying to a few other people, but not her. At the time, I replied when I could, to my sister, my mom, and to her. I knew deep down that she was hurt at my lack of response, and maybe even scared of and hurt by my relationship with DN. Maybe she thought I was crazy to become involved with someone I just met not long ago? Maybe she didn’t trust my judgment anymore, or she didn’t understand me? Maybe my reality threatened hers? Maybe she realized that if DN and I stayed together, I’d be half way across the world, and our dreams of staying together would never come to fruition.

After a few weeks, I unfriended her on facebook. I was also hurt by her lack of response. Maybe it seems petty, but my life was swirling with positive change. I was busy, but I wasn’t trying to ignore her. Her lack of response seemed very intentional.  I was swimming in culture, embracing my fate, dealing with my own frustrations, falling more and more in love with DN, and trying to figure out my next step. I thought we would work it out, eventually, but after I unfriended her, she blocked me immediately.

I haven’t spoken to her since.
It’s been over a year.

I constantly think about finding a way to message her, but then I think… Maybe it’s not time yet. Maybe we both need to grow a little more. Or maybe it won’t be time for a long time. Or maybe she never wants to be friends again. I can’t ignore that possibility.
And if we enter each other’s lives again, will I be able to be there for her? Will I be a good enough friend to her? Will she understand my life, what I want, and my new dreams? Could I give to her the way she has given to me? And the answer is… No

The truth is, I can’t be a good friend to anyone right now. I’m still trying my best to work hard for my dreams, be a good wife, and maintain my own personal happiness in the process. I’m trying to manage the present and build the future at the same time.

I’ve changed and grown so much, it’s really incredible. But would she like me now? Relate to me now? Probably not… Could I give her the attention she wants, needs, and deserves from a friend? No… I have a hard time even getting back with my mom, when she messages.

And maybe it’s best that way. It seems selfish to want someone in your life when you know you can’t make time for them. Part of me doesn’t want to even try, until I’m more successful in accomplishing my dreams. I’m very focused on being a wife as well as working. It’s time consuming. Maybe one day, when the hard work pays off, the time will be right. When I can give as much as she has given. I don’t know…

But she is part of my soul family. There won’t be a day that passes, that I don’t think about her. There won’t be a day where I love her less – even if we never speak again. I mourn my loss… But I hope she’s happy, whatever she is doing. I’ll always think of her as my best friend, even if that title is currently inactive. She’s my Laotong… And it’s such a shame we had to go our separate ways.

But here’s to hoping for the best futures for us both, and hoping we’re in each other’s.

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