Realizing that people change became much easier for me as I watched it happen right in front of my eyes. My closest friends are now no longer friends at all, just acquaintances I give a slight smile to in the hallway. The most surprising individual this has happened with is someone I considered my best friend for ten long years. We did everything together, but now we can barely hold a conversation. Her house was my house, but now I knock before entering. There is nothing to be said nor done to fix what is broken. We’ve exhausted ourselves for the past year trying to figure out where we went wrong and how to piece our friendship back together. It now becomes clear that it whittles down to nothing but change. She’s a different person since we first started calling each other friends, and so am I. These differences made us more strangers than companions, and over the past year it became obvious to me that even our closest friends can become so far away in a matter of months.
When we were younger, she was a much more enjoyable person to spend time with. In fact, we spent almost everyday together, including school days. Effort wasn’t needed to have fun, it just came naturally. We would do our homework together, watch movies, and gossip for hours on end. All I had was her, and that was all I needed. She was my best friend and the only real friend I had while going through elementary school. After school, we would always text each other and talk about what happened that day. Our messaging could go on forever if our phone batteries lasted that long. There were no secrets between us, and absolutely no lies. I trusted her more than I trusted my own family. We made a plan to go away to the same college, for the same degree, and live in the same dorm. The long term goal was that after college, we would move to the same city, work at the same place, and have children that grew to be just as close as we were. The naivety and ignorance that was so present in our friendship was what made it so much more crucial to my existence. She gave me something that helped me escape from the harsh realities of school, family life, and my future.
As time went on however, everything I used to love so much about her, slowly disappeared. She developed a flashier personality, while I stayed reserved. We both made new friends that did not get along with each other. As a result, we couldn’t hang out together unless it was just us, and we grew so distant that that proved to be awkward. Our friendship soon became more of a burden than a pleasure. Both sides attempted to make things work, to force feelings that were no longer there. It was too much of a struggle to keep a dying thing breathing, so we gave up. We stopped hanging out. We stopped texting. And we stopped being friendly. There were always rumors that we were talking about each other and spreading rumors about one another. When confrontation occurred, we couldn’t even look at each other in the eye because it was all true. Of course we were talking about each other. We hated each other. Deep down, we were both hurt that the other person had stopped trying, even if we had too. Neither one of us wanted to lose the closeness between us, but it had slipped through our fingers.
There were some parts of our once beautiful friendship that stayed the same. We both knew that we could always count on each other. Even if there is no communication between us for a year, we could still call each other for help. Our hatred only runs as deep as our wounds, and neither of us could leave one another for the dogs. There are also the memories that cannot ever be taken away from either of us. Whenever something resembles our past together, the old inside jokes and nights full of laughter are forced to the surface. Anything material made from our ten years of friendship is also still around. I’ve seen in her house that she keeps paintings and drawings we’ve made together under her bed in a box. In my own home, I still have numerous pictures of us hanging on my walls. Even though the connection between us is wearing thin, we will always love each other just the same.
As time goes on, everyone and everything will change, even those whom we once considered a best friend. While situations where you grow distant from a close friend seem atrocious in every aspect, they are actually rather bittersweet. There’s the obvious pain that comes with losing someone, even if they aren’t dying. In saying this, it was definitely disheartening losing a confidant, but there was a silver lining hidden in the dark. Growing up and making new friends meant that the both of us were developing as individuals. This development is how we both found ourselves, even though we intended to do that together. However, I learned along the years that to truly find yourself, you have to do it on your own. So, while losing a dear friend might have felt incredibly heartbreaking, the past will always be present in my mind and she will always have a place in my heart.