Thursday, March 03, 2005
across the oceans, miles away, you are still my friend
i bumped into another old friend from my secondary school / far east times the other day while walkin home. this guy happens to be my neighbour (sort of. we live barely 2 blocks away from each other.) and we used to meet up pretty often in those days for a smoke and bumming sessions.
i havent seen him for years and years. i think its around 8 or 9 years, to be exact. we just sorta lost contact along the way.
we ended up talking for 3 hrs over cigarettes that night. reminding each other about old times, catching up on the years we lost, discussing random issues that sprang to mind.
at one point, he remarked to me that it was strange how we havent seen each other for almost a decade but yet we were carrying on a conversation as if we never lost contact at all. it really seemed as though all those years seperating us were a mere illusion.
and i suppose it is pretty amazing. but that comfortable feeling was just.. there. and i went home feeling happy and with a smile on my face.
and i started thinking.
over the years, i've occasionally passed by his block and wondered about him, in the way you would wonder about old friends that you were once pretty close to and spent quite abit of time with. i'd seen his mum around once or twice, but never him. so i figured that he had probably moved out or gone overseas. as so many of my friends have done.
seriously. i think about 3/4 of the people i used to know when i was younger have left this sunny isle for other pastures overseas. and half of that number are still across those oceans and will probably not come back if they can help it. the other half that left, came back, but sadly, contact was lost somewhere along the way.
you see? this is why i could never handle a long distance relationship. its bad enough trying to maintain friendships over the years and across millions of kilometers of land mass and at least one or two oceans. somemore want to maintain a serious relationship?!
no offense to all those that are currently handling long distance relationships or those who have done it before and survived (or not.) especially my best friend and s.i.l. of course i truly wish you guys all the best and sincerely pray that you will make it work.
but the truth is, more often than not, things arent so rosy and perfect in real life.
things happen. people change. environments are different. you get lonely. you meet new people. make new friends to replace the ones you left behind and start to have more in common with the new people than with the old. you start thinking too much or too little. blah blah blah.
and then everything falls apart. which really is an extremely sad and heartbreaking thing.
and some people can handle it. they make it through. they survive.
but i've heard one too many horror stories. and i've been through too many heartbreaks.
it hurts even when close friends leave you and are no longer in the same geographical location as you. it hurts because deep down, you know that things will never be same again, no matter how many promises are made and no matter how hard you try to maintain it.
in retrospect, i realise now that alot of the fault lies with me. being young, footloose, fancy-free, and fresh to the adult world, i was probably too busy and too caught up with exploring my own environment and meeting new people to bother too much about maintaining old friendships, even though all it would have taken was an email or a letter.
so, i let the people that were once so important to me fade away, seperated by oceans and continents.
and recently, i've started bumping into a lot of old pals. people that i used to share many good times with and who endured many a youthful trial and tribulation and joy and silliness together with me.
sometimes, we manage to pick up where we left off, and the comfortable feeling we once shared in each others company is still there, just buried under the years. and at times like these, i always walk away from the catching up sessions (no matter if they are 3 mins by the roadside or 3 hrs over coffee.) with a warm glow all over and happiness in my heart and a smile on my face.
but, sometimes, i realise that the distance and the years that have seperated us have changed us forever, and the comfortable feelings are too far gone to be salvaged. we become strangers again, or at the very most, aquaintances on the streets. on these occasions, i feel a pang in my heart and a lingering sadness for the friendship we once shared and have since lost.
i'm a person that needs, and thrives, in physical closeness and contact (eh, dont think dirty!)
i need to see my loved ones, to be with them when i can, to hear their voice and know they are just a taxi / bus / mrt ride away.
and its just so difficult when they are so far away. and its too painful to know that they cant be there by your side when you need them the most. and too depressing when you realise that you cant be there with them when they badly need you too.
but i will make a promise to myself and my dear friends. from now on, i will make the effort to maintain our friendships, even over the oceans and across the continents.
if we change, and we can no longer be as comfortable with each other as before, or for whatever other reason, at least i will know that i have tried. and thats all i can hope for.