In 8th grade, I befriended a boy who I hadn’t bothered to meet before then. He was quiet, solitary, and to me, mysterious. I began talking to him. And he would talk to me. More and more. Each day, our hallway conversations would grow longer and longer until we would sit and talk for hours. We talked about things others wouldn’t bother to listen to, about things that we only trusted each other with. We would stare straight into each others eyes, monitoring the other’s reactions and feelings, sensing their emotions and knowing exactly how to help them. And each time we saw the other, our eyes would fill with compassion and understanding. And indescribable love.
Then something happened.
I’m still not sure exactly when it was. Maybe it was at the point where I became closer to another boy, or when freshman year finally started and we hardly ever saw each other. But nevertheless, our friendship deteriorated completely. I became occupied with other friendships and work, while he grew further away from me. I wondered why he ‘left’, for I still cared for him like I always had, but buried it beneath current happenings and worries.
I tried to redevelop our once-indestructible friendship. I greeted him in the halls, like always, and he would grunt as a reply, never meeting my eyes. I tried to engage him in the same conversations we would have while alone together, but he would conjure up excuses and leave me in solitude. My heart longed to talk to him like we would before, but as he said to me at the beginning of the year, “It will never be the same.”
I feel my heart crack each time I see him now. I can only see him at a distance, for he chooses to avoid me at every cost. In retrospect, I suppose he loved me at one point, and was hurt when I refused to notice this and created a relationship with another boy.
I wish I could have seen it. But what’s done is done.
The most obvious question that one could ask now is, “Why don’t you talk to him? Why don’t you chase him down and talk to him, begin a different relationship with the same person?” I wish I could. I wish he could be open to me. And trust me. Maybe he still does, but chooses to hide it. But he has closed off to me completely. We both act like we have had nothing to do with each other, and never will. I know this act is involuntary on my part; I can only hope it is involuntary on his as well.
This friend has taught me to believe in communication. Communication expands your knowledge of the people around you, and sustains relationships as long as you keep connecting. It helps to be closer to the people you would never consider being close to. It allows you to see people for who they are, if only you take the time to listen. And it leads to love.
The only wish I have now is that he and I were still friends, like before. That I had taken the time to listen to him. That we were close once again.
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