In loving memory of our dear friend, Palmira.
Life has brought us together at different times, for different reasons, depths and periods. Life has also moved us apart at different times, for different reasons, depths and periods. Some of us have woven our lives together, like roots of neighbouring trees. We intersect, lean, and hug one another all twisted and dependent for survival. Some of us have moved together briefly, like birds flocking on the same gusty paths one season, but eventually blown apart, moving on different gusts of wind leading us in differing directions. Some of us have yet to collide, but I can feel myself moving toward you like a magnet to metal and I can’t wait to connect.
To my sweet past friends:
Sometimes we’ve slowly and quietly drifted apart. Sometimes we have pushed and pulled ever so forcefully apart. We’ve fought apart. We’ve let go, gently, harshly, purposefully, or even, accidentally. We’ve shared laughter and tears as all friends do. We’ve stumbled home arm in arm singing “Stand by Me” at the top of our lungs. We’ve kissed on New Years. We’ve kissed on every other day of the year – for love, for lust or just…because we could. We’ve hugged and held each other through painful losses and fulfilling gains. We’ve bruised each other. We’ve walked hand-in-hand down corridors, hallways and streets. We’ve pushed each other’s bruises, just for fun, asking “does it hurt when I push here?” We’ve shared things and people – sometimes other friends, sometimes clothes, sometimes crushes and, even, lovers. We’ve made horrendous mistakes with each other. We’ve made horrendous mistakes to each other. We’ve slung hurtful words like mud on each other’s faces. We’ve spit in each others faces, then laughed, hurtfully and slowly, together and happily. We’ve hurt each other, then bandaged ourselves up. We’ve played dress-up together as children and adults. We’ve been amazingly silly together. We’ve laughed until we’ve peed. We’ve cried until we’ve laughed. We’ve taken out anguish on each other, because we thought it was a safe haven: our friendship was forever, you see. We’ve nourished each other. We’ve neglected each other. Maybe one of us turned our back for a moment, distracted by something shiny and new, and suddenly the other was gone. Maybe one of us purposely walked away, tired and weary for reasons unknown. Or then, there are those of us who cut the cord openly. We both knew it was goodbye. But our connections remain despite time and distance, because we’ve broken bonds to protect each other from heartbreak, we’ve laid ourselves on train tracks for each other. We’ve broken each other’s hearts. We’ve taken contacts out of each others drunken eyes, even when those eyes have strayed. We’ve ridden our bikes so fast we thought our lungs would burst. We’ve shared paper-bagged lunches. We’ve talked and talked and talked and talked. Who knew people could talk SO much. We’ve given each other our last Skittle, because that’s what friends do. We’ve wiped sweat, tears and vomit for each other, from each other. We’ve held pony-tailed heads out of toilets, we’ve rubbed backs and brows, kissed cheeks and lips. We’ve loved at our most vulnerable. We’ve had fun, damnit. We’ve become ourselves despite of each other, with each other…because of each other.
Perhaps we are now so very far away from each other, living on different continents…in different worlds. Perhaps you are just a quick jaunt away from me, but we move in and out of one another’s orbit now, without touching, laughing, talking. But know this, dear friend: I am me because of you. You have made my life so much sweeter. You have taught me lessons no one else could have. We’ve seen each other at our worst, but I only remember your best. You are lovely and loved. For you, I am grateful. If I never see your smiling face, or hug your wonderful body again, know that you have made me, me.
To my present:
You are like presents to me. Every day I get to see you brightens my life. Friendship is no longer convenient, as it once was. We have to work at it. Life moves us on and on and on and on never leaving time, it seems, for a cup of tea and a long talk. But we make time and is it ever worth it. We’ve come to know friendship from the discerning eye of a landscaper. We’re no longer wildflowers popping up in fields at will – we’ve been carefully chosen, pruned and fertilized. We have grown together through the worst life has been able to throw our way. We’ve weathered storms. We’ve twisted our way around obstacles and strong gales, like arbutus trees, to thrive together, in spite of life’s unending hurricanes of challenges. We spend less time playing dress-up and more time trudging through piles of laundry, but with broad smiles and open hearts, we’ve let life strip away the charades. We embrace. We laugh until we pee. We talk it out – no matter what the topic. You help me be a better version of myself. We are our true authentic selves without fear of being judged. We are stripped down and wide open. We’ve learned the hard way how precious authentic friendships are. We’ve chosen one another with care. We will not let go easily.
Dearest future friend:
I don’t know when we will meet. Perhaps it’ll be when one of us is at our worst. Or maybe we’ll be at our best. Regardless, I promise you this: I will be true. I will be warm. I will not always be easy. I will not always say or do the right thing. I may not agree with you all of the time. You may not like some parts of me. But I will love you honestly. I will try to make you laugh until you pee. I will do stupid things. Some will make you laugh, others will make you mad. We can talk and talk and talk and talk and wonder how anyone could talk for so long. I don’t know how long we’ll be friends for, but I know this: I will be me and you will be you. We will bring something, though there’s no telling what that something might be, into one another’s lives. We will learn from each other in some way. We will smile. We will probably drink tea or wine or both. We will become our future selves because of one another and it will be good.
So many words have been said of you these past weeks. Every single word is true. I will not repeat them. Although it’s been a very long time since we’ve hugged and laughed together, knowing I will not get this chance again leaves a broken place inside me. It breaks me to think we take for granted that “next chance” to catch up with an old friend. For us, that next time never came. But every moment I become aware of this broken place, it is immediately filled with everything so wonderful that you brought into this world – as though it is you gently reminding me to see the light in the world, to shrug off the negative like you so often did. You leave behind so many beautiful lessons for all who have known you. What you’ve taught me should not be diminished by my inadequate command of language, but at its core is this: do not care what others think of you. Love yourself. Love everyone around you. Smile. HUG like you mean it. Do things that make your heart sing. Makes choices that make the world around you – immediately, mildly, or immensely – a better place. Do not be afraid to have adventures. Do not be afraid to be you. Wear cardigans. And finally, when you think of someone you care for: connect. When you remember an old friend, send them a message so they know you think of them. When you think something positive about someone: tell them. Move forward, embrace the world in front of you, and always remember where you came from.