“Friends come and go,” people say. As though friendship’s a conveyor belt, rolling off used items to make space for new ones.
I’m too sentimental for that kind of analogy. I can barely toss out a plushie toy from my primary school days without severe contemplation and several goodbyes. Some would say I’m teetering on the margins of insanity.
It’s not really that though. Whether it’s a beloved soft toy or a close friend, leaving is never an easy choice on my part. In the case of the latter, leaving rarely is my choice. It just happens. And as I make my way through my university degree, I find this fact growing alarmingly present, like a bruise or a mosquito bite: you never see it coming, but when it does come, you can’t help but feel irritated and frustrated that you didn’t notice the signs beforehand.
I’ve never been good at writing detached. A previous teacher of mines called my writing “melodramatic”, too overwhelmed by emotion, too theatrical to feel real. It was bitter criticism to swallow, but I’m glad I got a taste of that medicine. It reminded me that even in writing, I am too sentimental. Every word oozes, like mud. Every word feels like it’s having difficulty breathing, like it’s a pack horse carrying too much.
I wonder if the friends that I’ve grown distant from feel the same way. That I’m an extremely heavy load, and now, in their new school and their new life, I’ve become less of a rock that keeps them grounded and more of a burden.
Or maybe I’m overthinking all this. Maybe we never even notice the distance, and by the time we do, the space separating us is already too vast to patch up and we’re no longer sure where we once stood. Maybe distance’s like an asteroid, hurtling towards earth and our heads and we have nothing to do but to watch it collide.
It’s too easy to say “friends come and go”. The phrase misses too many steps. What use is a recipe that only shows you the ingredients and the finished product, with no instructions on what to do in between?
I wish there were some way to stop this fear of losing. But like Donald Trump winning the presidential elections, we must work with what we’ve got and go on living, sentimental or not.