Today I realized a close friend of mine (whom I hadn’t spoken to in roughly a year) recently migrated to the UK. I found out through a random whatsapp message to ask how he had been doing and finally the age-old question, “Will you ever be coming back?” slid into the conversation again.
Year after year of asking, the answer had always been largely similar - from “Of course”, to “Maybe this Christmas”, to “I’ll prolly stay back here this time” and finally, to a straight “No”.
I probably should have realized this earlier: the tell-tale hints of someone leaving his life behind and building a new one somewhere else - the frequent video calls from five years back to a block of Cadbury’s whenever he could make it home, from long international phone calls to sporadic text replies further scattered by the time difference. I’ve always held firm to the belief that true friendships withstand the tests of time and distance, but maybe I wasn’t old enough or hadn’t lived long enough to test out that theory.
There’s never any finality in the loss of someone who used to fill up a space in your heart, even if it’s gradual, or even if you could see it coming the moment they put one foot out the door. I guess you could say the disappointment will eventually outweigh the sadness, and slowly the disappointment will turn fuzzy enough to make way for the bright lights of the times we shared back when we were young enough to laugh and think we were invincible.
Some people are sticklers and if I had my way I wish you’d stuck around longer…but I guess the world isn’t a wish granting factory (John Green) and we’ve stopped thinking we’re invincible.