BY BRENDA VIOLA
I will love you forever, or, best friends forever. If you really sit and think about the weight of the words then you’d understand how it’s all a hoax. Not intentionally uttered lies but lies all the same. And so, it became the norm. They’d always come and go after figuring out how the other was better than the present. I grew accustomed to that.
Growing up, I had this friend called Rita. I loved her, granted that I only interpreted love as any child would, which in essence is the purest form. Rita and I were like peas in a pod. She liked what I liked and I loved who she did. We went to the same school and were even height mates! Now that was the peak of our friendship.
My first awakening was when we moved. No, we didn’t move a gazillion kilometers way, only a few blocks down from where Rita and her family stayed. We vowed to keep in touch despite the distance between us. For the first few months, everything was dandy. But as time went by, Rita started coming to mine with another friend. Naturally, I was jealous, I had no intention with sharing my ‘best friend forever’ with another. With time I figured if it was meant to be, it would. There was plenty of love for everyone. Long story short, Rita and I drifted.
Fast forward a few years, I was used to it. Used to the fact that I would never be anyone’s option A, save for Christ’s unconditional love. He died for me after all and it doesn’t get better than that. In life, we don’t always get what we want. I was okay with that. My happiness came from seeing other friends happy together, doing only what I could dream of doing with mine. I laughed when I saw children skip rope together, when teenagers genuinely cared for each other and when adults spoke of how they had friends for years on end, through thick and thin. I was content by the polite hellos and the few acquaintances I made in my daily interactions with human beings. They say, ‘if you can’t be happy by yourself then you can’t be happy with someone.” At the bottom of my heart, I hoped that that was my case. I had to find my happiness first before I met you.
You walked into my life and I knew my prayers were finally answered. I had one to call mine. My ‘best friend forever’, my ‘till death do us part’. A dream personified. The moments we shared were dreamlike. I basked in the joy that you were there with me, physically and probably mentally. I savored the instants you’d laugh at something I say or do. I loved that you’d tell me how you saw a kid eating candy gleefully, or how the person next to you was too invasive for your liking. It was the little things that mattered to me. I treasured it all, documented it all. Call it an obsession but I wanted more than a memory of us. I knew I loved you more than it was considered orthodox. But how could I not, you were kind, fun to be around, cheerful and even when you irritated me to the maximum, I was still glad that you were there with me.
However, change is the only constant in life. Once again, I was naïve to think that you’d stay and hopeful enough to call you mine. Phone calls became fewer, texts shorter and soon enough, we were back to where we started, polite conversations. I am not one to force myself on people and so from afar, I relived the horror of being left once more. It was Rita all again. You’d tell me of how you met another girl who understood you and with whom you’d click, like two pieces of a puzzle. I forced the tears down and reminded myself your happiness was what mattered more. It made me wonder what we were. Or perhaps we aren’t all as desperate for lasting friendships as I was.
I knew it was bound to happen. Friendships fade, right? People fall out of love, yes? It is completely normal and expected. So why did I feel this way? Why did my heart shatter some more whenever I saw a picture of you two? You were happy, I could tell by the way your eyes crinkled at the corners as you smiled. The radiance in your eyes whenever her name was mentioned in your presence. Perhaps it was selfish of me to think that you could love me as you did her.
Maybe you did, at one point. I refused to believe I fell alone!
I wasn’t strong enough to see the only friend I had flourish with another. So I stopped texting and calling. Silently hoping that you’d notice that a void was within you, a space that only I could fill. Once again, my hopes were shattered. The only thing worse than death was having your hopes crashed. Hopes that the one who walked in would find more reason to stay than the reason to walk away. But then I couldn’t blame you, you were kind, funny, caring. Not as selfish as I was. I read the memories we had, wiping each tear that fell, wishing and hoping that you’d find the kind of friendship that I couldn’t give you.
Drowning the last gulp of vodka in my glass was an indicator I had had too much to drink. I closed my eyes in bliss, savoring the burning aftermath the vodka caused in my throat. Bitter laughter escaped my lips as tears welled in my eyes. Who was I kidding? Drowning the pain in my heart with several bottles of vodka was as fruitful as my efforts to make us last longer, as long as forever. I contemplated the idea of getting another bottle of vodka or maybe heading home. The bartender handed me a glass of what I had hoped to be vodka. He shook his head in disapproval of my protests. I did not need water, I wanted something to make me forget. Arguing with him seemed more of a hustle than what I was ready to give. So maybe I’d stop by the local supermarket and get myself another bottle and proceed to drown my sorrows in that. Forever is a lie.