The best friendships are those that end too soon. When they seem to just get started it is time to say goodbyes and depart in opposite directions. The bond created is different from anything else because it is stronger. There is an enduring effort to keep in touch, and to never forget the time spent together.
When I first arrived in Israel I did not know what to expect from a group of people I had never met before. I am usually the type of person that traps themselves in a shell of shyness, suffocating under timidity. They came from four different states, and were going to be so different. But I was not scared. I did not have time to be. Even though we had five weeks together it was not enough time to become close friends with everyone.
Within the first week, I felt as if I had lived with these people my whole life. The coach buses had become a place of zen, and a chance to cross into each others boundaries. I could tell them my fears and not be embarrassed. I could go around with no make up, acne bulging out of the corners of my face, and not feel the slightest bit of regret for doing it. If anything, I waited for them to make fun of me, but they never did.
I spent weeks worth of sleep, backpacking across Europe, watching the sun rise over the Dead Sea, and watching hours of movies on airplanes with them. I cried to them when I missed home, as they cried to me. I not only felt like I could let lose and be free on this trip, but I felt like I had made my own family.
When the voyage came to an end, it felt very unreal. The weeks had passed like sand between my fingers. I had so many things that I wanted to express to each of them, but not enough time. Upon boarding separate planes there were swarms of cell phones going around for everyone to put their numbers in. It was a frantic last chance to keep in touch. As tears fell, and arms embraced others in hugs, maybe for the last time, I said goodbye to them all.
The things I experienced with each of them may be in the past, but I learned that one of the most powerful connections can be made in limiting time constraints. For the duration of that trip I had made it my obligation to become as close to all of them as much as I could. There is more aspiration for a building a friendship when it is tamed by time. I did not want to go home knowing I wasted five weeks with nothing to look forward to in the future.
Five months after the last encounter, I still talk to all of them. Every conversation I have with my friends ends in an “I love you.” I may not be with them, but our friendships are growing everyday. Five weeks was not the end, but the catalyst for a strong relationship. I believe that the best friendships are cliffhangers; a sudden goodbye, but a long relationship to come. For some of them, it may have been that last time that I see them, but I will always have someone to miss and think about.