1/23/2020
One of many false starts

For a while, I really thought we were going to be best friends. Good friends, at the very least, the sort of friend you'd spend a lot of time talking to, not just about the trivial stuff, but also the things that you consider important somehow. Your troubles, your worries, your dreams, that sort of thing.

We met, virtually, through a common friend. Said friend, for some reason, thought I was the best person to help her in this class assignment she had. I don't think I was helpful - or qualified, for that matter - but we talked about that, and then talked some more. We'd talk every night. I'd be in front of the computer late at night, doing homework, and chatting with her in between.

It wasn't a crush. I know you probably think it is, but it wasn't. We both liked other people and talked about our inability to move on from them. We also both, apparently, had the same interests, or perhaps it's me thinking "she's so cool" and "I want to be like her" and being a little too impressionable for a college freshman. Okay, at least were on the same frequency, more or less. We'd talk nonsense, and then about our crushes, and then about other things. We'd exchange phone numbers and we'd be texting about the same things. We'd get busy as the years pass - as we all do - but we'd still talk whenever we catch each other online.

It was like that for five, maybe six years. By then we were working, so, you know, things happen. But there were class reunions, and there was the common friend - her classmate in high school, mine in college. It was our class reunion, and she somehow tagged along. I was finally going to meet her in person, talk to her in person.

I don't think we've talked since then.

Okay, we probably have, considering how busy and anxious we've gotten about where our lives were heading. There were years in between, and only then the conversations were variations of "kumusta ka na?" and "'di nagbabago, ikaw?"

And yes, that happens more often than we realize, and that happens to every single one of us. We make friends and then it's like we never knew each other. I'll admit I have never grappled with that reality, perhaps because I still come in with the mindset of "we'll be friends forever", which in hindsight is really childish and pathetic. I know this happens more often than I acknowledge, and I am disappointed almost every single time.

In that class reunion - as with every class reunion I attend against my best judgment - I struggled to talk to my supposed friends. Like, I was just there to eat. Nobody would ask me how I was, what I was up to. I felt excluded, isolated. I felt awkward. There she is, a person I considered as a good friend, and yes, the moment dictated that we not talk, or even acknowledge each other, but I felt I was wrong about everything. We're just two people who happen to know each other. We had nothing in common.

I still have her number on my phone, although I'm a hundred percent certain it's no longer her number, like is the case with pretty much everybody else I've met in the past. I keep it so my calendar can remind me of her birthday. I don't think I've greeted her on her birthday for years - and, since I considered her a close friend, I used to remember that date. But perhaps I'm just being dramatic about a phenomenon that happens more often than we acknowledge. But then, for what it's worth, I find that only have temporary friends, people I talk to often for three to five years at a time, until we've moved on from each other, willingly or otherwise, and there's absolutely nothing. I feel stupid for investing more than I should have, and I feel stupid for forgetting that I always have to prove myself worthy of the people that I considered as friends, of the people that I thought considered me as a friend.

And your responses...

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