02/06/2017

The pains of losing a best friend

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Growing up, it seems like majority of our time was spent making friends and figuring out who would stick until the end of graduation. School isn’t just about learning; it’s also about survival and having a buddy or a support group will definitely increase your chances. Maybe that’s why there are cliques in Mean Girls or High School Musical.

I hated my best friend when I first met her. She and my first crush had the same bag design. In my head, she was stealing my man from me. (I know; that was too intense for a five-year-old.) I got over it eventually and we became the best of friends. We lived about three blocks away from each other, and our parents easily got along. Every afternoon, I’d go to their house — pan de coco and Polly Pocket in hand — to study for Quiz Bees (we were both champions), play pretend, listen to Backstreet Boys, and chew on Lego (admit it; you did this too). We were basically attached at the hip. Our teachers, classmates, and parents would find it weird if one is without the other.

She moved away for high school, and that worried me. I felt like I was losing her so I made more of an effort to keep her in my life. We’d schedule weekly hangouts and sleepovers at my house. Sneaking in drinks to my room was my job, while smuggling ice was hers. We were still partners in crime, but most of the time, I was covering for her.

I was getting worried with her ways. Somehow, the overachieving, Lego-chewing friend I once knew became this cool chick who’d go out to drinking places (like  Papu’s or Cantina) after school. She gained a new set of friends in high school, and so did I. I wasn’t confident with her choice, but as her best friend, I felt like it was my duty to accept them. I’ll love who she loves; that sort of thing.

“There’s this whole argument about not burning bridges even when things get wobbly. Mending the cracks and gaps is always the first suggestion. But sometimes, these bridges fall without any warning.”

In college, our weekly hangout sessions turned to a monthly meetup until eventually we would go  about two to three months without seeing each other. We didn’t have anything in common anymore. Our point of conversation was always about reminiscing our past — how we shared the same crush, slayed upperclassmen in competitions, etc. — but that doesn’t do the trick. There was no point in dwelling in the past if we were living different lives. Yes, we’d still get in touch, but it occurred to me: we were living our games. We were playing pretend.

There’s this whole argument about not burning bridges even when things get wobbly. Mending the cracks and gaps is always the first suggestion. But sometimes, these bridges fall without any warning. You can either rebuild your foundation or move on to another bridge. In our case, we chose to move on.

It sucks not having someone to confide in when things get exciting or troubling. But what’s worse is the realization that your best friend can become (almost) a complete stranger in a span of three years. It’s like breaking up with a boyfriend, but ten times worse. Losing a best friend feels like losing a horcrux: one part of you is gone.

Nobody likes rewriting history. In the same sense, just because you drifted apart doesn’t mean that you should forget what happened between you. Be grateful because the friendship happened. Your best friend shaped you as a person. While you may have lost her, you gained your own person. And that’s always a good thing.

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