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This afternoon, one of the girls working at Adora approached me to ask if I knew her best friend who was also a CT student. I said I did, and she asked me how she (the best friend) was doing. Turns out they hadn’t really seen each other or had the chance to check up on each other since high school. It’s just strange that no matter how old we are, we still refer to the people we were closest to in high school as our best friends. Who cares if you were only an nth of the person you are today, it’s in high school that you consider your relationships to have been solid and sincere the way you’ll need them to be regardless of how far past high school you already are.

In spite of the distance and me missing her wedding, I still consider Wendy my best friend simply because she’s known me the longest. Heck, if she were anywhere near me at the moment I’d drop everything to spend time with her (and Amaya!). But there’s a crucial fact missing from the whole best friend equation, and it is that I can’t say we really know each other now. I guess that’s what 4 Christmases and 4 birthdays away from each other does to you.

It’s not like you have a choice when people are an ocean away. It wouldn’t be fair of you to wish out loud that things never change and that you meet again as the same people with the same mannerisms, the same tastes, and the same ambitions. Things are changing all the time, we meet new people, we put on weight (except for the freaks who actually lose weight), we try new things and our ambitions change along with the currents of our separate lives.

One of the first things I ever talked about with Baki was how fragile friendships are because of how easy it is for people to betray each other. He brought up how it was necessary, expedient even, to just cut people off and always be thankful for your the company of your best friend–whoever it happened to be at the moment. This was at a point in my life when I needed a new word for betrayal after what had happened between me and another (former) close friend, so I readily accepted that belief in the solidity of friendship was for the naive and romantic.

I’m okay with being called naive and romantic as long as I can still refer to Wendy as my best friend. We have shitloads of stories to tell, most of them about our firsts, and I’ll be more than happy to add to those stories because catching up is more fun than disappearing completely. Other people can cut each other off, because it’s really not that hard. It’s like learning to ride a bike.

Catching up is work. You set time aside, sometimes there’s money involved, you get past the first few awkward silences, the “ummm…so, what’s new?” and you wait to get in the swing of things. But at some point your old mannerisms return, and next thing you know you’re back in the moment again. You know each other now. I’ll keep calling Wendy my best friend because she’s worth that kind of work.

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Author: alicesarmiento

San Juan, Metro Manila

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