Facebook showed me a picture I took two years ago. It was one of my best friend and me when I visited in Australia.
I am not sure the title of best friend holds for either of us. We have not spoken much since. For that matter, since she left Singapore after college a bit over twenty years ago, we have not kept in close contact.
Our interests couldn’t be more different. She was the extrovert and had many friends while I, not quite social, kept to my small circle of friends. She was strong, independent and brave, and adventures followed her everywhere. I liked books, was more of a nerd and stayed close to home. I was just wilder spiritually. Heh.
As life went along, we pursued different routes and established ourselves, families, habits. Communication was erratic at best. But at the back of my mind, even though she was miles away and we were caught up in our own lives, there was always her.
Some time in our thirties, she made the extra effort to connect. I was happy not to be forgotten in her busy schedule to meet people when she flew down here. We’d make it a point to meet and catch up whenever and conversations flowed easily. We recovered.
She got me an iPad for my birthday one year. I think that was the point when things got weird.
I was elated of course because that was a WOW type of gift. All was good until I sank back on ground and couldn’t help but feel a little obligated to do the same for her. Her birthday was two months away from mine. I think I got her something from Pandora and/or Coach that she might like – I cannot remember. I didn’t think much of it after. But I was glad that I did not get anything expensive the following years.
Then one day, we organized a family trip to Australia. I told her about it and set up a time to meet her family too for dinner. She kindly offered her SUV for me to use for our entire trip. I declined because I had already made the necessary travel arrangements. She insisted. I declined. And it went on. Then we had some words. She gave up.
Her family whipped up a storm for dinner and were so gracious. I was so grateful to be welcomed. It felt like a family gathering.
Though the visit came and went, the SUV conversation, I knew, stayed with us. I have a reputation for being frank – I still am not sure what happened but I think she was offended that I refused her help and that I said I did not want to trouble her. I recall her turning it around to ask if she was when she stays over at my place. That didn’t end too well.
Her business takes her to my part of the world often and I know she meets with a whole bunch of friends and then some. None with me though. She and the bunch organized a school gathering once and invited me – but I really don’t like parties, particularly with unfamiliar faces, so I didn’t go.
The charade went on for a bit with neither of us saying anything besides a few likes on each other’s Facebook posts. Hers focused on celebrity friends, exercises and luxuries while mine had travel, history and food. Different. The drift had resurfaced and perhaps when we become old fogeys, we’ll gather to reminisce again.
It was bright and sunny on the day of the School Sports Meet. I was on the girls’ relay team but I had to drop out because I just had incised and drained a boil on my back that hurt like hell. For some reason, the reserve was also medically unfit to run. The whole team then had to forfeit the race and I got the full blame. I walked off in a huff, hurt at the unfair accusations thrown my way.
The fingers of the new student tapped lightly on my shoulder and interrupted my quiet sobs. She spoke and I was reassured. She tried to make me laugh and then told me we’d be best friends.