This I Believe

Fred - Quogue, New York
Entered on January 26, 2007

I believe the true test to a relationship is the time spent apart from one another. After time apart, friends say “How are you? How have you been?” True friends smile and pick up exactly where they had left off.

“It’s not goodbye, it’s I’ll see you later.” I turn and walk away from my three, my confidants, my best friends in the world of six years for four long months. Leaving for college was a bittersweet time, you’re somewhere you chose to be with opportunities and new friends awaiting your arrival, but at the same time you wish and hope to go back to how everything used to be. In the beginning, I sat in my new room, my blank new room, and wondered how I could possibly survive here for a year. College is funny like that; you absolutely hate it but love everything at the same time.

My best friends at home are more to me than just my good friends. They complete me. For six years we grew up together, we discovered who we were and what we enjoyed and were able to view our individual changes through each other’s eyes. We all changed through high school, specializing in many different areas causing us to move into very different places in our lives now. Outsiders wondered how a group of such oddly different kids could get along so well and so I began thinking. I watch as Luke, Lucy and Ashley walk around 7-11, each with different styles, different mannerisms and with complete loss of all inhibitions interact. Lucy walks to the coffee station, blonde, strikingly beautiful and nearly six feet tall and thin. Her modern hippie style catches the eye of every person as she saunters over to make her third cup of coffee in the past hour. Luke, pacing behind her, awkwardly tugs on his small and stained clothing for his 6’6” body, moving his long hair away fro

m his eyes every two seconds. His eccentricity permeates throughout the room and again people stare at these two very tall, very good looking kids singing and laughing as they make their drinks. Finally Ashley struts over, commanding the attention of everyone within a mile radius, at the same time charming every man in the room. She flips her hair for no reason at all, with her arm outstretched and large LeSportsac bag hanging next to her perfectly matching ensemble. I think of the outsider, seeing the cartoonist qualities to my friends and I and realize; we play off one another and we understand each other. Our strength is our differences.

We all kept touch on the phone throughout the semester, checking in once or twice a week mainly to just hear their voice on the other end of the line. It was so hard to hear one of my best friends struggle and not be able to truly help in any way.

On my plane ride back home during Thanksgiving break, I wondered whether everything would really be the same between all of us. I had surely changed a good deal, would the aggregate change within everyone cause us to not understand each other anymore? At home we saw each other every day, keeping our relationship and differences grounded, but would the time apart be the wedge that could drive us apart for good? It was sad to think but possible and I knew for sure the other three were thinking the exact same thing.

We had made plans when we originally left for school that the first time we saw each other again we would meet at the beach. Seeing them for the first time felt like I had just eaten a 7 course meal and could still run a marathon. I felt fulfilled, normal once again. There was no hello, just a smile and a hug for there was no reason for anything more. We sat there in silence for a second, taking in the feelings warmth and happiness on the windy beach and then began to talk. We didn’t speak of our schools, not about what had happened in our time spent apart, we picked up as if we had been speaking to each other everyday. It was perfect, a normal conversation for the normality that was in place once again within my heart.

People grow and people change but time allows fondness in the heart to either grow or decay the love for another. I believe the true test of a relationship is its elasticity. Time stretches relationships, as does being physically apart from one another for a long period of time. True friends have no breaking point, no weak part in the rubber band that will cause it to snap. Friends will stay friends forever through a common bond such as the past I have with my best friends, but to let those relationships evolve as you do will create an even stronger bond.