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Like Strangers

I admit, I hadn’t handle it very well at the time. I had screamed insult after insult at my parents, my fury and fear overwhelming me as I threw the biggest tantrum I had in years. All of this was because of the news that I would be moving to another school in another city in the middle of the school year. At ten years old, it seemed like my entire world was betraying me. Now, a few years older and many levels more mature, I realize that I had exaggerated my problems and reacted quite unreasonably, as moving to a new school in a new town was a change that provided many opportunities. Cheesy, but true. However, there was one regret that I hadn’t taken care of, that to this day still remains a burden to bear that I wish I could turn back time to change.

My best friend, Eric, at the time had been that since we were born (and sometimes maybe even more than that), and I trusted him with every secret and every joke, no matter how lame it was. Not only that, we were also close family friends and neighbors as well. I recall spending our afternoons exploring the yard, scraping our knees climbing trees, and passing notes out of boredom in Chinese class. It seems like yesterday that we posed in our Halloween costumes with our buckets of candy, and taking vacations together in Galveston, where we tried to bury each other in the sand. The memories, although copious in numbers, are fading and becoming fainter with each coming day.

When I broke the news that we were moving, he sadly promised that he would call, write, and email. I returned the promise. Little did I know how difficult that promise would be to keep. We took our last pictures together, went on our last picnics, and enjoyed our last moments. Unfortunately, I took these moments for granted, not realizing that it would be difficult to resume our best friend status after being miles apart. I had naively assumed that moving wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

As the moving truck came by, Eric and his family came over to help us pack and move the furniture, and give a few parting gifts. We hugged, and repeated our promise to stay in contact, fully believing that nothing would be too different.

Upon arriving in my new house, we spent the first few days moving in and settling down. Soon afterwards, I was weighed down with piles of paperwork and homework that came with the new school. Of course, Eric and I both initially tried out hardest to reach each other, but we encountered many difficulties. I was under enormous pressure to try to catch up with the curriculum and to make new friends, and as a result I strived to succeed in my new environment, and cared less about my old friends and life. As both our schedules began filling up, we had less time for each other, and I soon found that I had trouble reaching Eric while he was not in soccer practice or trumpet lessons. Eventually, there came a time where we stopped talking altogether for a long period of time.


Four years later, we met again at a math competition for the entire region. We were unable to meet each other’s eyes, let alone strike a conversation. Sometimes I wonder, if I had kept up with the calling or tried harder to reach him, would be still pretend that our best friendship, of 10 years, were nonexistent? Would we still act like we were mere strangers?


I wish I knew.





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