That’s my cue for when it’s over. Say to myself, “ the coffee’s gone cold.” Yes, it’s odd. And No, you may not borrow it.
Losing friends (fluid definition for anyone in your life you care about), is inevitable and unpredictable. You can lose them multiple times in one lifetime, for most though, once will suffice.
Most of it happens when the light turns yellow. The twilight zone, where you’re not sure if you should Go or Stop. You decide to Go, and well, decisions only ever made sense in retrospect.
There were times when they got lost in loud laughter, amidst clinking coffee mugs, central air conditioning and people who looked like clones of one another. Back then, when you frequented the Uni coffee shop for the Free Wi-fi and irresistible muffins. Somewhere, you left them behind. You think you had enough pictures together, but most of them were polaroids in your mind. God knows, Instagram is more permanent than memory.
And then there were the token ones you lost over chai. There amidst loud canteen chattering, oblivious to the significance of the losing, bit by bit there’s a tectonic shift. Days from now, your friend will not be the same. You just didn’t know it happened that Tuesday, post CTPB class, over badly made chai and extremely spicy Maggi.
There’s the school friend, the one you could never imagine your life without. The one who featured in the glamorous life you were destined to lead once school ended. The one you lose in between vehement declarations of keeping in touch, and good intentions. Lost friendships and apparently the road to hell, always paved with good intentions.
If you pay close attention and plot it on a graph, it always happens around the time the weather shifts. Nature could very well be in on this. You meet this wonderful person and always exclaim that you wished you’d met before. They seem to get you, like no one else, and you spend the next month almost drugged by the chemistry of your friendship. Then, they move, or start dating or you do, or maybe Tuesday comes around. And once again, in glorious subtlety you lose them. The good intentions kick right in, and there are promises of new ‘scenes’, but like the Starks wisely say, “Winter is coming.”
The most painful and dramatic losses are always those that occur surreptitiously. Everything seems like it always was, you meet them at your favourite place and indulge in the same banter on auto pilot. Till one day, one of you senses it, the difference. Awkwardness has set in, and frankly the magic is lost. You lose them over nothing, maybe for nothing and there’s little to do than shrug your shoulders (classic, First World response to real problems). You won’t let it fade away, of course. You will make the customary, revival ‘scenes’. However, the backdrop has really shifted, you’re on the wrong stage,you need to move and please take your props with you !
You say, you prefer if it was one clean sweep. A definitive act of right and wrong? So you could dust your hands and say, “Right then, I’m done here.” First, you’re not God creating Earth, so you probably won’t get a lot of chances to say that dialogue. Second, you’d already lost them much before the definitive act; you were just too caught up texting, to notice.
Yes, you must grow and prosper nevertheless, carry bits of them in who you are, and always, always wear sunscreen.
But, really, I’d like all of you along for the ride.
In a big yellow bus. You from school, you from college, you who I met through friends, you at the place I used to work- my own gang of wonderful misfits, singing Tiny Dancer together.